[SOLVED] several things in conjunction with learning to write an opinionated editorial
This week, you will be applying what you learned about op-eds by drafting your own opinionated editorial about the issue you studied in the annotated bibliography. In fact, the goal for all upcoming projects is to take that same information/topic/issue and write about it for different audiences and purposes.
We’ve been studying several things in conjunction with learning to write an opinionated editorial, and you’ve undoubtedly come to understand that an op-ed is a form of argument. That is, you’re entering a conversation about a substantive topic, making a claim on your stance toward the topic, and using evidence from your reading and research to support your claim through logical reasoning.
In order to prepare to write your op-ed, you worked through reading models/examples that demonstrated key techniques and you examined essentials and possibles as well as four structures (moves) for the op-ed to help you organize and plan your own draft. Now, the work of fleshing-out your draft will begin.
As you begin to draft over the next few days, you may want to consider all that you’ve learned, but also think about why you’re writing the op-ed and why op-eds exist. NY Times editor, Trish Hall, wrote a piece called “The Op-ed and You”. In her piece, she describes what her editorial board would look for in submissions from the public: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/14/opinion/op-ed-and-you.html (Links to an external site.)
“They write for the influence, for the chance to reach an audience, to say something that’s been bothering them, driving them crazy, something that no one else seems to be saying.”
“We need a diversity of voices and opinions about a range of topics. Anything can be an Op-Ed. We’re not only interested in policy, politics or government. We’re interested in everything if it’s opinionated and we believe our readers will find it worth reading.”
“So what makes the cut? That’s what people always ask me, so I’ll try to explain the process. Most pieces we publish are between 400 and 1200 words. They can be longer when they arrive, but not so long that they’re traumatizing. Submissions that are reacting to news of the world are of great value to us, especially if they arrive very quickly. Write in your own voice. If you’re funny, be funny. Don’t write the way you think important people write or the way you think important pieces should sound.”
“We are normal humans (relatively speaking). We like to read conversational English that pulls us along. That means that if an article is written with lots of jargon, we probably won’t like it.”
Your op-ed piece is your opportunity to “influence” and to present a “diversity of voices” that appeals to “normal humans” and “pulls us along”. I have a video this week that will further explain the potential you have with writing op-eds as prospective educators or as professionals in your chosen field. I hope you’ll take on this challenge and create something that pulls in your prospective readers.
Task: The prompt and drafting
As you’re working on your draft, remember that your audience is both professional and public and that you have a specific task in mind:
Prompt for your Op-Ed:
Issue: Many people have been studying the issue of (your topic). Other educators and experts are talking about the problems with (your topic) within the education community and other related fields. Some educators and experts are calling for policy change while others want to keep current policies in place.
Task: As a future educator, the editorial board of an education journal has put out a call for op-ed essays, and you want to weigh in on their issue theme of Policy Reform which will be published in the spring of 2023.
For this issue, the board has requested that college students interested in education policy reform write an op-ed for the publication about an issue/policy that should be revised or added. You will draft your op-ed as a prospective submission to the journal, addressing what others say and what you say. You will use the evidence from your research and reading of other op-eds to support your argument.
For example, if your annotated bibliography project was on ways to teach reading in the social studies classroom, your op-ed argument could be about the following:
Why school boards should require more nonfiction/informational reading to be required in the social studies classroom
Why MS should or should not eliminate the US History test in 11th grade based on what you have learned about reading in the social studies classroom.
Remember, you must focus on how your issue is related to policy reform.
Another example: if your annotated bibliography was about how occupational therapists can support students’ handwriting with therapies for dysgraphia, your op-ed argument could be about the following:
Why the state legislature should mandate handwriting screening in pre-K or K to identify students who may need occupational therapy in school
Why the state should or should not test handwriting (MS is now going to test handwriting in the 5th grade) because students with OT needs are at a disadvantage because some students may need OT but do not have an accommodation on their IEP or may not have an IEP and its unfair at their age to start testing
That is, you’re imagining writing this op-ed essay for a professional journal and the potential audience can catch a wide net of readers: teachers, administrators, scholars, policymakers—your “tone” is very appropriate. Consider word choice and connotations carefully—be precise. You’ll want to use the models you’ve studied to write your op-ed in a way that can capture and hold the attention of many readers.
What to do next:
Begin planning your op-ed and drafting your paper. Remember to keep your task and audience in mind when you’re making your claim, choosing evidence from your sources, and drafting your paper. This sheet does not need to be submitted, but it should be used to help you organize and plan.
I have provided a sample student op-ed to demonstrate the type of layout and design as well as the type of writing you are doing.
Draft your op-ed. Get the words on the page. Use the handout with the op-ed structures to help you organize your essay.
View the supplemental attachments to help you craft specific parts like the introduction and conclusion.
Format your op-ed. Because this type of writing in education would appear in professional journals, use MS Word tools to create columns, headings, titles, and insert images so that the piece you create has the visual aesthetic of a publication. The student example will show you some possible ways to format your work.
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