1. mangetous
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    mangetous New Member

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    Writing for a student audience - Help!

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by mangetous, Aug 17, 2009.

    Hello!

    I am currently doing an assignment which requires me to write an article for a student magazine about education. I am doing OK with most of the technical side of the article and its content, but I am unsure as to whether it reads like it is aimed at students. Therefore, can anyone provide me with any key phrases or tips on how to aim my article towards students? My main problem is introducing and concluding the article in a way that would be more suitable for students/younger people (i.e. to catch their attention, before the informative content). Any help would be most grateful.

    Thankyou,

    Stu
     
  2. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    It really depends on what you're aiming for....there is no typical student, just like there is no typical (any other type of person). Pick up a student magazine and see how its written....you can probably find them discarded all over your local uni campus....
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Place yourself in the place of one of the students. You aren't that many years out of school that you should be unable to remember, or that things have changed greatly.

    Don't talk down to your readers. Ever. Instead of trying to speak at what you perceive their level of understanding is, talk to them as equals, at your level. I don't mean you should shovel a thesaurusload of big words at them. Just write clearly.

    You didn't say what their age group is. It should matter to you, but it doesn't really matter to what I recommend.

    Is there anything about the topic that you wondered about or thought about when you were around their age (or preferably a couple years older than they are - they are probably intellectually more mature than you remember)? Starting with such a question may grab their attention.

    In any event, start te article by letting them know exactly what you are discussing. Promise them what you will cover, and keep that promise. Nothing kills interest faster than an article that has no clear direction.
     
  4. jonathan hernandez13
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    jonathan hernandez13 Contributing Member Contributor

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    It always helps to break up the serious stuff with a bit of humor.

    A little joke or two goes a long way.:)
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    ^ Humour's a big risk though - if you're not as funny as you think you are, the entire piece will be discarded because of one bad line...
     
  6. Rumpole40k
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    Rumpole40k Banned

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    Start with the stuff that no educator ever wants to admit. For example, when I taught global warming, I actually began by saying "Who the hell cares?" Students offered all of the "canned" responses they had been programmed to give for years now. I shot then down with an extension of my "who cares" statement. Only after we got through all the preprogrammed crap, did I really have their attention. You want them to readit? Start with what they are already thinking.
     
  7. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not just the stuff they don't want to admit, but the stuff educators are less likely to think matters. Often stuff that doesn't seem important to educators means a lot to the students. And remember the language of the culture. High school and college are their own sub-culture, no matter what the age of the students.
     
  8. Star_Rush
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    Star_Rush New Member

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    I'm 19 so currently a uni student and have had to sit through so many talks and read so many articles written by middle aged people trying to sound like a teenager. It makes me cringe whenever a teacher advises you to 'google it' and then looks so proud of knowing what google is. Trying too hard can be worse than not trying at all. In the same way when you read someone using teen language it never sounds right. Imagine if an american went to england and tried to use english slang. It doesn't sound natural so it sounds dumb. Personally I think you should just make sure your article is relatable. Instead of using words like students use "you". It's hard to give advice not knowing what exactly your writing but I hope this helps a little.
     
  9. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    That depends, Star. And I did say "remember the language of the culture." There is a slight difference between that and what you're talking about. Besides, some adults can sucessfully do it. I've seen lots of police officers that reach at-risk kids by tapping into the language of the culture. It depends on the attitude you have toward that laguage, and your level of understanding. I've known lots of older people who can say "google it" without seeming like that teacher. And I (a Canadian) can get away with using American and British terms without annoying people. I've known non-Jews who get away with using Yiddish words no problem.
     
  10. DragonGrim
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    DragonGrim Contributing Member

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    Just use exaggeration for humor. You don’t need to say “Home-dog” to interest them.

    Hyperbole! It always gets a laugh. It’s a safe humor. Here’s an example: in class the professor asked (this is a media writing class) what kind of news stories we heard recently. I said “that the swine flu is going to wipe everyone out.” It triggered some chuckles. Easy.
     
  11. Star_Rush
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    Star_Rush New Member

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    Rei- Fair enough. It's a bit of a pet peeve of mine I'll admit. And whilst I agree that some people can pull it off there are some who can't and it can be pretty cringeworthy when that happens.
     

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