I try to point out to the student the parallels that exist between what they are assigned to write and the subject that writing concerns. For instance, an expository essay on the meaning of a short story, say, "My Kinsman, Major Molineaux" by Nathanael Hawthorne, is fundamentally a straightforward retelling of the tale, accompanies by explanatory passages that explain the meaning and working of the story.
Anyone who has sat through a sermon or a lecture has, without knowing it, experienced exposition and argument, usually without knowing it; but understanding the literary nature of prose forms that the student has already experienced in everyday life can simplify, and familiarize, literary forms that, at first glance, baffle the student with their formal structure.
I found this approach particularly useful in tutoring athletes and other students not normally given over to extensive study of written forms.
As a university-sponsored English tutor, I worked with athletes to maintain a 2.0 and continue to play their sport on scholarship. One of these young men told me later that I changed his "whole attitude toward college." I received a scholarship for the fine arts/writing, and served on the university literary magazine each year I was in school, becoming the editor in my final year. I have also worked as a periodicals journalist and editor, a technical writer, and have published two novels. I tell my students, "Writing is the easiest hard thing you can do. All you have to master is talking on paper."
I've known William Edgar Boggan ("Ed") since 1979. We worked together at two separate publishers and I've been reading his fiction and nonfiction through many years. He is patient and clear in his work with students, helping them to clarify their thoughts and focus, in particular, on narrative. He's been tutoring students since his college years, working with students with a wide range of skills and aptitude. He genuinely cares about his students and is generous with his time and attention.
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