As these politically savvy allusions show, writers who use topical references impress upon their readers that they are both informed and concerned. Here, the color of one’s political stripes is irrelevant—what matters is that they are painted clearly. Whether employing a political reference or citing a current event, when you create topical context you represent yourself as a keen observer of the world.
In a personal statement, writers typically create topical context by narrating a recent event of some consequence, citing a respected source, or simply establishing an arena for discussion. “Martial arts and medicine,” opens one personal essay from Richard Stelzer’s , using an intentional sentence fragment to grab our attention and to crisply define two intertwined themes in the writer’s life. Other essays—the first from the Asher book and the second from the Stelzer book cited above—lend a sense of importance to their subject matter through topical references:
5. That's childish. In our effort to appearalways mature andsophisticated, we often ridicule the creative, playful attitudes thatmarkedour younger years. But if you solve a problem that saves your marriageor gets you promoted or keeps your friend from suicide, do you carewhetherother people describe your route to the solution as "childish?"Besides,isn't play a lot of fun? Remember that sometimes people laugh whensomethingis actually funny, but often they laugh when they lack the imaginationto understand the situation.
Quotation Introduction: Many writers are tempted to start their essay with a quote. You should try to resist this temptation, as most quotes will look forced. Admissions officers will be turned off if it is apparent that you searched through a book of famous quotes and came up with a quote from some famous philosopher about whom you know nothing. The quotation introduction is most effective when the quote you choose is unusual, funny, or obscure, not too long, and from those to whom you are closest. Choose a quote with a meaning you plan to reveal to the reader as the essay progresses. The admissions committee is interested in how you respond to the quote and what that response says about you.
With all this in mind, Carole Frederick Steele (2009) would add that teachers need to be adept at improvising, interpreting events in progress, testing hypotheses, demonstrating respect, showing passion for teaching and learning, and helping students understand complexity. Fortunately, she reminded us that "No teacher is likely to excel at every aspect of teaching....What experts attend to and ignore is markedly different from what beginners notice. The growth continuum ranges from initial ignorance (unaware) to comprehension (aware) to competent application (capable) to great expertise (inspired)," paralleling Bloom's taxonomy. "Lack of awareness occurs before Bloom's categories. The awareness stage is a fair match for Bloom's stage of knowledge and understanding. Teachers at the capable stage use application and analysis well. Educators who reach the inspired stage have become skilled at synthesis and evaluation in regard to their thinking about teaching and learning" (Introduction section).
Diversity plays a significant role in classroom management. Disabilities and cultural differences impact behavioral differences. It important to know the nature of a disability. For example, an autistic child might require consistency in his/her schedule as disruptions in routine might trigger inappropriate behaviors. In responding to students with disabilities, some learners might need individualized plans for behavior management. Ideas might be to develop a behavior progress monitoring form with categories such as "Brought supplies, Worked productively, Was respectful of others" for various time frames (e.g., periods in a school day) or to develop a behavioral contract. In terms of cultural differences, teachers and all learners in a class should be aware of each others' interaction styles. What is acceptable in one culture might not be in another. For example, there are cultural differences in what is acceptable in speaking to others (e.g., one at a time, and loud voice), levels of physical activity and verbal discourse needed with thinking and learning, attitudes about sharing and respecting physical space, authority figures, what constitutes an authority figure and the manner in which deference is shown to authority figures (Voltz, Sims, & Nelson, 2010, pp. 52-55).
Per Kratochwill (n.d., Introduction section), "Although there is no agreed-upon definition of classroom management, the framework offered by Evertson and Weinstein (2006) represents a current and widely accepted view. According to Evertson and Weinstein, classroom management has two distinct purposes: “It not only seeks to establish and sustain an orderly environment so students can engage in meaningful academic learning, it also aims to enhance student social and moral growth” (p. 4). It's more than organizing the physical space for student safety and easy access to materials. It's more than deciding how you will manage classroom procedures, instructional groups and student behavior. It means creating a classroom environment of respect and rapport, and a culture for learning (Danielson, 2007, ch. 1).
has a video series on developing a growth mindset, which was created in collaboration with Carol Dweck. It is meant for young learners. Explore this big idea with animated characters, Mojo and Katie.
Art Costa, Robert Garmston, and Diane Zimmerman (2012) defined five states of mind that "create a growth mindset that is a potent force for fostering collective excellence and influencing, motivating, and inspiring our intellectual capacities." They include the drive for efficacy, the drive for consciousness (reflection on one's actions and those of others), the drive for flexibility, the drive for craftsmanship, and the drive for interdependence. Effective teachers demonstrate those dispositions.
We easily fall into either/or thinking and believe that a badsolutionis bad through and through, in every aspect, when in fact, it may havesome good parts we can borrow and use on a good solution, or it may doinappropriately something that's worth doing appropriately. And often,the bad solution has just one really glaring bad part, that whenremedied,leaves quite a good solution. In the above example, changing thephysicalspanking to a verbal spanking changes the entire aspect of the solutionwhile keeping all the good points we identified.
So, what will people think? Well, they're already talkingabout you,saying that your nose is too big or your shoes are funny or you dateweirdpeople. So, since others are going to talk about you in unflatteringwaysanyway, you might as well relax and let your creativity andindividualismflow.
Now itâs your turn. Select one of the above styles (or make up your own) and try to write an introduction to your essay. Spend some time picking the right style and choosing the best words possible.