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Learning about word choice, style and tone

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By MARC ROGER DICKNER in the group :: MAIS Blog :: October 19, 2019 - 4:29pm

As indicated in Betts’ Lost in Translation: Importance of Effective Communication in Online Education, communication is not always received as the sender has intended. It is a complicated process in which many factors need to be present to having the highest success rate of transferring the message to the receiver with 100% accuracy. When it comes to writing, we lose the ability to convey our message with the support of our nonverbal communicative skills as one would bank on when speaking face to face with someone. Through Kruger et al. (2005) whom have investigated an email study and as a result only having up to “56% of the time the receiver correctly interpret[ing] the tone” (Bretts).  In my experience in the teaching world, this is clearly the case when it comes to sending text messages or emails to parents, students and colleagues since you cannot assure that your tone is received as intended to the receiver. Parents and especially students would often confuse the message as they would tend to read too quickly or depending on their mood or mindset, would receive the message differently than what was intended. Hence the importance for graduate level students to learn and potentially master the art of conveying wrote messages as they intend.  

The general premise for our graduate level writing course is to improve our written critical and literature review skills all the while maintaining the heightened standards of advanced academia. It is imperative that my peers and I carefully consider our word choice, style and tone while we write to demonstrate our findings and intellect in a respectful manner. Without the consideration for respectful debate, the level of language would mimic that of regular media for the lay person which could be offensive and have reputable consequences to one’s career in academia. Therefore, careful planning is crucial for one learning how to navigate the oceans of graduate studies.  

What I’ve learned thus far in our MAIS606 is to spend more time when it comes to writing. In fact, I am quite pleased with the quality of my writing when I would devote upwards to a week for a writing assignmentWhat works well is that I would spend several hours with implicit focuses each evening in which it would allow me to produce a higher level of quality as compared to my undergraduate years. The first few writing sessions would focus on planning and organization, then I would move into focuses of word choice, style and tone. Don’t get me wrong, I have much to learn as I am still learning how to improve the style and tone of my writing, however I feel much more prepared in my organization than say in my old self’s abilities.  

That being said, my next feat is to address areas of growth in my writing: sequencing and word order in my sentences. Being a francophone and in this class, I am realizing how frequently I do confuse the order of words in both my speech and writing which is a difficult habit to correct. Having my peers and work colleagues are a huge asset in my toolbox since they sometimes help review my work for frequent errors. Eventually, with more practice, I will have concurred this habit and prevent them myself.  

In addition to grammatical and word sequencing checking, I found very helpful the articles provided in this course regarding how to critically read articles and books because it allowed me to develop a point of attack to objectively consider or question various elements for a particular text. In my experience, I have had many opportunities to evaluate and analyze data but not too often was I able to flex these skills towards research articles. Analyzing provincial achievement tests for patterns and identifying areas that need attention is not quite the same as critiquing someone’s research. Although, the data analysis occurs in both practices, it is really only one part of the overall task when it comes to the critical review that we are currently doing  




Betts, Kristen. "Lost in Translation: Importance of Effective Communication in Online Education." Online  Journal of Distance Learning Administration 12.2. (2009). Web. 


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