Archive for October 29, 2008

His Honorable Thesis Statement, King of the Rodeo

You will have to read Part I of my blog from yesterday about “Mr. Controlling Idea MEETS Ms. In-Text Citation” to understand the content of today’s blog.  I’m too tired to write anything about His Honorable Thesis Statement, thus, I will use some of my students’ examples which they used in their last mid-term writing exam.  They were expected to think quickly and formulate their thoughts after a week’s time of reading the assigned four journal articles regarding the Aral Sea.  The mid-term essay was to be done in 50 minutes.  Would American students be able to do such an assignment, I wonder?  It makes me think that the Kazakh culture of matching wits about who knows the most proverbs and to quickly say them plays into this writing exercise.  How would YOU create a thesis statement for a discursive essay in the first five minutes to the following question?:

“The reason of environmental disaster around the Aral Sea is not merely human activities.”

“Even though pollution was the reason for extinction, humanity should pay more attention to what surrounds us, because people have plenty of global environmental problems that we must solve.”

“Even though the Aral Sea is one of the largest lakes in the world, environment around the Aral Sea is critical because there are a lot of toxins near it and there is not enough water to fill it.”

“How much of the Aral Sea tragedy belongs to human activities?  Or maybe it was something else that caused a disaster? There are two main opinions about the reasons of such a tragedy.”

“Even though people intensively cultivate agriculture in Aral Sea, people should take into consideration that environmental disaster around that region is not merely human activities because it is a nature cyclical process.”

“Even though people think that environmental disaster is their fault, they should consider that they are not the only cause of Aral Sea deterioration because it is natural process and it comes cyclically over the millenniums.”

“Even though some scientists believe that the desiccation of the Aral Sea is a natural process, men’s negligence should be considered as the main factor of “nature’s revenge” because Soviet irrigation plans for the Aral Sea led to drying of its water making people suffer from consequences of this catastrophe.”

“Even though the water pollution and desiccation occurs because of men’s activities, people should take into account the intractable and inevitable cyclical processes occurring in the bowels of the earth.”

The above are some of my better students’ examples of how they approached the essay assignment with their thesis statement.  They had no way of knowing what the exact question was to be except that it would have something to do with the Aral Sea’s destruction.  I am proud of many of my students for accomplishing this assignment.  Now we will forge ahead with our Final problem and solution essay.  May the Force be with us as we have about five more weeks to solve the problems of such an assignment. I want my students to ENJOY this process!!!

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