Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Note: Now that classes have resumed for the new term, I've decided to go to FEATURED QUESTION instead of QUESTION OF THE WEEK. Featured Questions will appear at intervals of my own choosing, no more than once a week and probably more infrequently.

(Each "Featured Question," an idea which I gleaned from A Republic If You Can Keep It, will remain toward the top of the blog until the next question appears. The previous Questions are HERE and HERE. Please scroll down for recent postings)

Regular readers of this blog know that I teach composition classes. One of the emphases of the high-school course is writing a timed essay as preparation for taking the SAT. Students have twenty-five minutes to write their drafts.
One of the recent prompts from College Board reads as follows:

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

Heroes may seem old-fashioned today. Many people are cynical and seem to enjoy discrediting role models more than creating new ones or cherishing those they already have. Some people, moreover, object to the very idea of heroes, arguing that we should not exalt individuals who, afer all, are only flesh and blood, just like the rest of us. But we desperately need heroes – to teach us, to captivate us through their words and deeds, to inspire us to greatness.

Adapted from Psychology Today, “How To Be Great! What Does It Take To Be A Hero?”

Is there a value in celebrating certain individuals as heroes? Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from your reading, studies, experience, or observations.
When I was in high school, my hero was Annie Sullivan, the teacher who saved Helen Keller from a miserable fate. If you read this and this, you'll understand just why I admired and still admire this dedicated and determined teacher. Therefore, if I had to write an essay based on the above prompt, I'd tell the story of Annie Sullivan.

FEATURED QUESTION, in two parts: (1) How would you respond to the above SAT prompt? You don't have to write an entire essay! (2) What does the choice of heroes reveal about the individuals and societies that choose certain kinds of people as their heroes?

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posted by Always On Watch @ 10/10/2007 06:45:00 AM