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Teacher Tips and Answers

Revising Narrative Arguments

Now that you have combined the argument and narrative portions of your work into one essay, you can take a look at the whole document. Some ideas may be stretched thin, needing more elaboration. Others may be redundant, needing cuts and better pacing. The two activities that follow will help you revise your combined draft.

Revising to Elaborate Ideas

When ideas feel thin, you can elaborate by imagining what questions a reader would ask. Then you can answer the reader’s main questions using a variety of details at a variety of levels. The writer of “Equity Matters” imagined the following interview, answering the reader’s questions in a number of different ways.

Writer: Like female students, male students get tagged with gender stereotypes that affect everything from what classes they are expected to take to how comfortable they are expressing their feelings.

Reader: Aren’t gender stereotypes based on actual differences between males and females?

Writer: Standard IQ tests as well as tests of mathematical aptitude show no significant difference between female and male students.

Reader: But aren’t women more social than men, and aren't men more aggressive than women?

Writer: Studies have a difficult time determining whether differences in sociability and aggression have more to do with biology (X and Y chromosomes and hormonal differences) or with cultural expectations. But scientists can definitively say that gender stereotypes strongly impact the behavior of males and females. 

Reader: And what are the effects of these gender stereotypes?

Writer: The stereotype that men are more aggressive excuses some forms of harassment as "boys will be boys" and discourages women from taking dominant roles. Stereotypes also stigmatize social men and solitary women.

Reader: What can be done to challenge these stereotypes?

Writer: We can begin by recognizing that gender roles are culturally dependent, differing around the world and throughout time. Then we can examine the gender roles prevalent in our own culture and work to reduce stereotypes and improve openness.

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