Teaching Notes: Introduction to Patterns of Development

September 5, 2016 stephhwilliams 0 Comments

For Freshman English A (first semester first-year writing)

Corresponds to Chapters 4-12 of The Student Writer


  • Patterns of Development = how to develop paragraphs, correlates closely to genres
  • Book addresses, by chapter, the following patterns or genres:
    • Description
    • Narration
    • Exemplification (“showing by example”)
    • Process Analysis (either to provide step-by-step instructions or simply to explain without instructing how-to)
    • Comparison-Contrast
    • Cause-Effect Analysis
    • Definition (goes beyond basic dictionary, clarifies complex or abstract topic, or delineates a specific meaning for a particular purpose)
    • Classification and Division (group according to common characteristics OR break down into parts)
    • Argumentation
  • Practically, though, most texts combine patterns or genres …

Combining Patterns of Development

  • Combine patterns to entertain, inform, persuade, share feelings/experiences
  • Will most likely have a primary pattern and one or more secondary pattern – primary pattern will govern academic conventions of text overall
  • Class discussion/group work/in-class assignment: Read “I’m Plunging to My Death …” pp.382-385 and answer the “Considering Technique” questions on p385.

To Start, Let’s Focus on Narration

  • Narrations/narratives must do 4 things:
    • Tell a story
    • Introduce and develop characters (describe what they look like, “show by example” who they are)
    • Give details
    • Make a point (lesson)
  • The writer of a narration can accomplish these things by:
    • Using 1st person
    • Using figures of speech/figurative language (metaphors, similes and other descriptive language; describing people, places, scenes)
    • Using active voice (rather than passive voice)
    • Using simple language
    • Using dialogue (how-to beginning on p158)
  • *So should see already that good narratives require other patterns: description and exemplification
  • *But narration can be used in other patterns as well: e.g. arguments with narrative components
  • Stories are often structured:
    • Chronologically (simple sequence) – outline example p165
    • To build toward a climax
    • … And sometimes use:
      • Flashbacks
      • Reverse order
    • “Being a Responsible Writer” section p161

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