Persuasive texts for NAPLAN 6 – write like a professor

We write differently from the way we speak.  A formal written text like the NAPLAN persuasive text is not an informal, casual thing. It is quite formal and students may need to be reminded that they have to use their academic words, not the same words they would say in the playground.

For example, a student may wrote: I reckon TV is fully crap.

This is certainly persuasive, and they are clearly showing their point of view. However, this is not the sort of writing that is valued in formal writing assessments.  Words like “reckon”, “fully” and “crap” are too colloquial and they may not be highly valued by the NAPLAN markers.

So, here’s a suggestion for reminding students how to write.  Suggest that they “write like a professor”.  I have tried this with Year 10 students and they immediately understood that a professor would not say the words “crap” or “fully”.  A professor takes a step back and uses written-type language, not the language of the playground.  Naturally, writing like a professor is age-appropriate.  You will also need to explain that writing like a professor does not necessarily mean using long, confusing words.

Here is how to write like a professor:

  • Use written language not spoken language, not slang (kind of, heaps) or contractions (I’ve, don’t).
  • Use subject words not commonsense terms.
  • Use evidence to support your opinions and avoid strong emotions.
  • Write about ideas and people from a distance.
  • Do not overuse “I” or “you” or “we”.
  • Do not address your audience directly.



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