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Chemistry LibreTexts

Participating in Discussions for English

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    Standard One for English focuses on oral expression and listening. Therefore, discussions are huge focus for my class. I can't grade you on Standard One if you aren't participating in them! Normally, you will find at least one discussion a week in my class. Sometimes, you might find more than that. As such, I want to go over some tips to help you succeed with them. Check out the tips below, then move onto your first discussion in the assignment that follows!

    BIG tips for GREAT Discussions

    When posting a reply on a discussion, follow a few basic guidelines to make sure your post is productive and helpful to others.

    Read the post you're commenting on, then scan it again.
    Take the time to really know what you’re commenting about. No one wants to read a comment from someone who clearly didn’t pay attention to the original post.

    Scan the other comments first.
    You don’t need to read every comment if there are tons of them, but do scan through them. The first person to make a certain comment is clever, the 10th person who says the same thing is annoying.

    Many students will post their initial response but forget to reply to other people. Only posting your initial response does not show that your are able to express yourself and it does not show that you are listening to what others have to say. Essentially, that means proficiency on Standard One is not being shown. So, for the love of English, reply to others at least twice!

    Give the others the benefit of the doubt.
    If someone says something that seems clearly wrong or is phrased in a way that seems rude, give them the benefit of the doubt. Don’t assume worst intentions; maybe they didn’t mean for something to sound that way, or got their facts from a source they thought was good, but wasn’t.


    Don’t write a rude comment back; rise above and phrase things nicely.


    Provide context.
    You might know what you’re responding to, but other readers may not. Write in complete sentences, and include information about what you’re responding to in your response; just like you would when answering essay question in class. For example, “I love that you spent your summer vacation in Italy. I’ve never left Colorado, but would love to see Europe.” Instead of, “Cool, I’d like to see that too!”


    Agree to disagree politely. 
    If you have a different point of view, go ahead and share it, but don’t attack the person you’re responding to. Think about how you’re wording things. Try to make “I” statements, like, “I think students should have less homework, not more, because….” instead of, “You’re wrong! Students should NOT have more homework!” Be sure to give reasons why you disagree as well. If you want people to see your point of view, you have to explain it!


    Be specific.
    Everyone loves compliments, and people will like reading, “That’s awesome!” or “You’re a great writer!”, but your comments will be more meaningful and help the writer more if you’re specific. Tell them why something was awesome, or what they wrote that you really liked. That way they’ll know how to be awesome again!


    Keep it simple.
    Most people don’t want to read an essay in response to their post. Keep things short and sweet by trying to limit your response to just a few sentences. Try opening with a compliment, add a suggestion or write about something you disagree with, then end with a question to keep the conversation going.


    Be sure to read over what you’ve written before submitting your comment. Texting language should be saved for your cell phone. Your teachers’ job is to help you become a better writer, no matter what subject he or she teaches. So use real words and then proofread them. If your writing is full of spelling and grammar errors, not only will you be difficult to understand, but you won’t look very smart and can lose credibility as a result. Remember, comments can be read by everyone!