Tag Archives: term of art

Term of Art: Cognitive Style

“cognitive style: The preferred way an individual processed information, usually described as a personality dimension that influences attitudes, values, and social interaction. Unlike individual differences in abilities that describe peak performance, styles describe a person’s typical mode of thinking, remembering, or problem solving. Having more of an ability is usually considered beneficial, while having a particular cognitive style simply denotes a tendency to behave in a certain manner.

Field Independence/Dependence A number of cognitive styles have been identified and studies over the years; field independence/field dependence is probably the most well known. Individuals view the world in different ways. Those who are called “field-dependent” perceive the world in terms of larger patterns and relationships, whereas those who are “field-independent” perceive the world in terms of discrete elements–they look at the pieces that make up the whole.

Most schools in Western culture favor a field-independent approach, rewarding students who tend to work and organize information on their own. These learneer are objective in that they make what is being studies into an object to be analyzed and understood.

Studies have identified a number of connections between this cognitive style and learning. For example, field-independent individuals are likely to learn more effectively by studying by themselves, and are influenced less by social reinforcement.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Achieve (vi/vt)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the verb achieve, which is used both intransitively and transitively.

More importantly, perhaps, it is very commonly used among educators and with our students;  we use it, albeit in adjectival form, in terms of art like “achievement gap.” If we’re going to use this word, which can be in some cases a value judgement, then we owe it to our kids to help them understand it in both its denotative and connotative senses. Moreover, I would argue, we need to help students understand that achieve and achievement are words that can be and often are used in highly subjective–and again, judgemental–ways.

So we might want to ask critical questions, and by extension help students gain an understanding of asking such questions, like: “What is achievement?” “Who defines achievement?” “How do people know when they achieve something?” “Why is achieving things important?” “According to whom?” “How does one know when one has achieved something?” You get the picture.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Fin de Siecle

“Fin de Siecle: (Fr., end of century) Art of the end of the nineteenth century, also known as decadent art, which was created under the influence of the Aesthetic Movement in the style of Art Nouveau. Particularly associated with the highly stylized, black-and-white illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley.”

Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.

Term of Art: Adjective

“adjective: Defined traditionally as a word added to a noun, which characteristically denotes a property of whoever or whatever is referred to. One function therefore is as a modifier: e.g. tall in tall men is an adjective modifying men. Another is in predicative position: e.g. that of tall in These men are tall.

Adjectives were included in antiquity in the same part of speech as nouns. Distinguished in the later Middle Ages, as ‘nouns adjective’ in contrast to ‘nouns substantive’; and so called, still, in the early decades of the 20th century.

An adjectival element is on either forming or having the role of adjectives: e.g. -less in clueless is an adjectival affix; English participial adjectives in -ed, such as interested in very interested, have been called ‘adjectival passives.”

Excerpted from: Matthews, P.H., ed. The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Linguistics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2014.

Term of Art: Excursus

“Excursus: (Latin ‘running out’) A detailed examination and analysis of a point often added as an appendix to a book. An incidental discussion or digression.”

Excerpted from: Cuddon, J.A. The Penguin Dictionary of Literary Terms and Literary Theory. New York: Penguin, 1992.

Term of Art: Antonym

“Antonym: One of two words or other expressions that have opposite meanings: fast and slow, hot and cold. Some words are antonymous in some contexts but not others: straight is the opposite of bent/curved, but is the antonym of gay in the context of homosexuality. Linguists identify three different types of antonymy: (1) Gradable antonyms, which operate on a continuum: (very) big, (very) small. Such pairs often occur in binomial phrases with and: (blow) hot and cold, (search) high and low. (2) Complementary antonyms, which express an either/or relationship: dead or alive, male or female. (3) Converse or relational antonyms, expressing reciprocity: borrow or lend, buy or sell, wife or husband.”

Excerpted from: McArthur, Tom. The Oxford Concise Companion to the English Language. New York: Oxford University Press, 2005

Cultural Literacy: The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

If you teach it, or perhaps even better if you don’t, but still want to add if to your students’ fund of prior knowledge, here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on Samuel Coleridge’s poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner.” It serves as a short, general introduction to the work.

And if you want to take this a step further and familiarize your students with the literary term rime, you’ll find a squib on it under that hyperlink.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Book of Answers: Willing Suspension of Disbelief

“Who coined the term ‘willing suspension of disbelief’? Samuel Taylor Coleridge in his critical treatise Biographia Literaria (1817). Coleridge used the term to refer to the ‘poetic faith’ of a reader in accepting imaginary elements in a literary work.”

Excerpted from: Corey, Melinda, and George Ochoa. Literature: The New York Public Library Book of Answers. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.

Common Errors in English Usage: Sick (adj), Sic (vt)

Here is an English usage on the adjective sick and the transitive verb sic. Sick needs little elaboration; sic, on the other hand, does, which the reading passage clarifies by pointing up its common use as a transitive verb, generally used in the imperative form when saying to one’s dog, “Sic ’em Rollo!”

However, comprehensively and helpfully, the reading passage in this document explains the use of the Latinism sic, which means thus. If you read, you’ve encountered this (usually in italic type and often with an exclamation point for added ridicule) after a quote that contains errors of fact or lapses in style. Merriam-Webster’s defines the adverb sic as “intentionally so written — used after a printed word or passage to indicate that it is intended exactly as printed or to indicate that it exactly reproduces an original <said he seed [~] it all>.” I think if I were teaching this document to more advanced learners, I would take the time to make sure they understood sic as an editorial annotation so that they might use it in their own writing.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Term of Art: Expository Writing

“expository writing: A term that refers to informational writing typically given during the first year of college to prepare first-year students for academic writing. Generally, entering first-year students will take at least one semester of expository writing. Some colleges require a two-semester sequence of expository writing courses.

In some cases, students with writing problems may be required to complete developmental or basic writing courses before they can enter the expository writing course.

Expository writing includes description, comparison/contrast, definition, classification, argument, process analysis, and cause-and-effect. These types of writing or rhetorical strategies may be taught using models and examples, and as ends in themselves, or as strategies to use within informational essays that include a number of different patterns.

In general, the goal of teaching these types of writing patterns is to provide a foundation for the kinds of text-based writing required in specific academic disciplines.

Expository writing may be contrasted with expressive writing or the personal essay, in which students are allowed to focus on their own experience, perceptions, and memories. Much more than expressive writing, expository writing may pose problems for individuals with learning disability who may find it difficult to organize ideas, support main ideas with details, or apply paragraph and essay structures.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.