Monday, March 19, 2012

Alex Grasping The Concept Of Outlining A Paper


Song:  Dreamway

Group:  Immediate Music



I have been working with Alex on writing structure... 
and with techniques to improve writing flow.

I had taught him the basics of outlining his project or paper first.

As I had explained to him...
an outline is the outlay of mental notes to oneself...
 providing the prioritization or chronicalization of the salient points...
all of which provide the structure of the project or paper.

I had shown him how to research material...
how to extract that information from articles...
and how to incorporate it into the outline.

All that is left is to expand from the outlined words...
into sentences and paragraphs.

I had to, at first, explain what the important points were.

While looking at an article...
it may be obvious...at first.

What you get is, often times, the author's prioritization of importance...
which may not match your area of importance.

It becomes easy once the writer knows that which he wishes to impress.

The very first thing to be done is to know what the topic sentence shall say
(the first thing in an outline).

This dictates the parameters of the article
(expressed inclusions and implied exclusions).

It then becomes a relatively simple matter of categorizing the outline...
and researching the information for each category...
just a word or so for each point.

Then comes the fleshing out of the article in the rough draft.

Earlier yesterday...
 Alex had worked on a paper on an adornment commonly worn by Roman youths.


As I had explained the process 
and had walked him through a couple of papers previously...
I wanted to let him spread his wings on this one.

I simply told him to outline his paper...
to research the information...
and to complete his rough draft.

A few hours later...
I had checked up on him.

He had finished his paper...
his rough draft wasn't even rough  :)

The paper was well written and had contained all the pertinent information.

He said he just worked off of his outline
(which he had done by himself).

This is what I had been working towards!

He had grasped the concept of the outline.

As I had explained to him...
an outline is far more than what is used in writing papers...
it is an efficient way of thinking.

It is the difference between someone having to read a speech at a podium...
and one who orates...one who performs magic with words without a script.

It is because many people attempt to remember the whole of the script...
word for word...that they need to read a speech.

An Orator needs only to remember the outline of his speech...
a word as a guide to the concept to illustrate for each point.

By thinking in category / subcategory...everything is in order.  
You need only remember the name of the category.
The underlying knowledge may then flow forth unhindered.

It was after I had explained it to him in this manner that he had understood.

In previous weeks...
as I was working with him writing essays...
I had seen that his main problem was in the organization of the paper itself...
not in the actual writing once he knew the direction.

As he had no parameters initially...
he hadn't known where to start.

I could see he was attempting to write the whole essay in his head first.

Without direction...
he hadn't known which points were the pertinent ones.
His research had stumbled as a result.

The concept of the outline had made all the difference.
He had really taken off on this one.

He had not merely soloed...
he had soared.

It wasn't the quality of the paper that had made me so happy...
it was in his understanding of the concept of an outline as a way of thinking...
that had made me the happiest.

With this one concept...
he will improve in all his papers...
his speeches...
his whole way of categorizing his thoughts.

Addendum:  While I realize that most people naturally think in this manner...
a child on the spectrum often times has trouble in the area of organization.
He has had to learn how to extract the main idea from what he has read...
and how to best organize his thoughts and writing.

By explaining the concept...
demonstrating it...
having him do it under supervision...
and then letting him do it on his own..
a simple, tried and true method, once again...
regins supreme.  :)

2 comments:

  1. You have taught Alex a very valuable skill. As you explained, it is not just a useful tool for writing, but a way of thinking. You give a great example with the orator versus someone who reads a speech. When I was taught outlines way back when I was in school, I don't think I ever really grasped the concept. So you have done well to instill it with Alex.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Yuji. I was so proud of Alex for really listening and applying his lessons. He was proud of his work also.

    ReplyDelete

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