Anything but blase 2

July 29, 2005

I sympathise with Lee Harvey's belief that first-years should not be taught by graduate students (Letters, July 15), especially when it comes to marking and feedback.

But I suspect that any graduate student asked to mark Terry Eagleton's piece on terror in the same issue would find it as easy to mark as anybody else: "58 per cent. This is a spirited essay, full of interesting ideas and you have obviously done a lot of reading (how much Hegel, precisely?). But you need to organise your thoughts more clearly. In particular, you need to introduce new terms and concepts properly rather than doing so halfway through a sentence. The passage 'To aspire to a global identity... mind-rottingly tedious' is an especially bad example.

"You also have a tendency to advocate a solution to a problem ('what we need...') before you have established that you understand what the problem is. This means that your essay lacks the rhetorical force it might otherwise possess. Finally, the word 'bourgeois' sounds a little old-fashioned today."

Charles Turner
Warwick University

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