Tips Straight from Professors

What is the one thing students should never forget when writing in education classes?

  • Students have to remember they are writing for a professional reason, so informal, creative writing is not the way to go. —Professor Jen Prue
  • This is hard. One of my favorite EUs (Enduring Understandings) that I’ve been adding to my syllabus is “Context Matters.” Writers need to contextualize their ideas. For me, I want students to be able to back up their ideas with evidence, AND they must cite liberally, so there is no question of where their ideas are coming from. —Professor Lia Cravedi

What makes you go “Wow” when reading papers? —in a good way?

  • Wow in a good way comes when I see a student has synthesized and analyzed an experience and is writing about the “aha’s.” In a bad way: when grammar and spelling are so bad, or when there is no evidence of thought on the page. Also, not following simple directions (forgetting to put a name on a paper) really kills me. —Professor Jen Prue

What makes you go “Wow” when reading papers? —in a bad way?

  • TWhen students write with passion and reason. That seems contradictory, but I don’t mean it to be. Writing from the heart is a good thing; the “reason” I’m referring to is the idea of withholding judgment and writing with humility. Writing is most difficult for me to read when it is rife with errors in grammar and usage. So, that’s the pragmatic answer. Equally as concerning, though, is when generalizations are used instead of specific examples. —Professor Lia Cravedi

What can turn a good paper into a great paper?

  • New ideas and connections to other “learnings.” —Professor Jen Prue
  • Back to passion and humility. This is something you can “hear” in the tone of the writing. —Professor Lia Cravedi

What is your favorite database for education research?

  • ERIC —Professors Jen Prue and Lia Cravedi

Any advice for the LuLu project? For lesson plans?

  • Be professional in your writing— — that comes back to editing. —Professor Jen Prue
  • Lesson plans are a different kind of writing. For me, lesson plans need to be useable for the pre—service teacher (UVM student). At the same time, as I tell my students, a substitute teacher should be able to read the plan and carry it out. So, it needs to be specific— — particularly as it relates to the objectives, instructional sequence, etc. They need to be organized sequentially and include details such as times for various activities. There’s more… but that’s some of it. —Professor Lia Cravedi

Any last advice for students writing in education, at either the intro or upper levels?

  • Edit, read your work out loud, seek out writing assistance. —Professor Jen Prue
  • A lot of the writing in education classes, particularly as it relates to observations in classrooms and the writing of elements in the licensure portfolio, requires the elements noted above regarding context, evidence, humility. Professionalism matters also. —Professor Lia Cravedi