Re: BAD classroom exercises

Subject: Re: BAD classroom exercises
From: Bonni Graham <bonnig -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 1995 19:54:35 -0700

Matt Ion wrote:

>I think the whole idea is to convey, in a very graphic manner, just how much
>we take some things for granted when writing for ANY audience. We're
>assuming, in the shoelaces exercise, that for all his/her great grasp on the
>language, the person receiving the instructions has never had to tie shoelaces

Matt hit the nail on the head. What these exercises have in common is that
they're short (allowing you to demonstrate a point -- the very point Matt is
making, even -- in one classroom lesson) and everyone in the class can write

I used these two (and a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich exercise) when teaching
high school auto shop students to write a shop manual (the students could choose
which exercise to use). They wrote the instructions one day in class, then the
next day we exchanged them and tried to follow the instructions. It was
amusing when some of the students who wrote shoe-tying instructions discovered
that some of their users wore velcro-strap shoes...I got a good chance to
audience and assumptions that way.

BTW, as a coda to the list's earlier discussion about what we call ourselves (a
couple of months back): While I was on my honeymoon, several people on the train
asked me what I did for a living. I responded that I wrote computer manuals. Not
one, not two, but THREE of them said, "Oh! A technical writer!"

Bonni "Yes, I'm keeping my last name" Graham
Manual Labour
bonnig -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com

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