Another way to work on my students’ English skills… (maybe)

I recently completed a style manual for the students at the Tata-Dhan Academy. It was a pretty big project, and overall, I think it turned out pretty well, but I found that there was still some stuff left unaddressed. Part of it was that there wasn’t enough time—I felt that if I kept adding more and more, the manual would never be completed. Part of it was that there was some stuff that I couldn’t quite figure out where to put. Part of it was that the issues were more “personal” and less “institutional” (or they were things where I wasn’t sure I would get institutional endorsement).

So, I decided to start something new: The Grumpy Writer’s Grumps.

The plan is to have a weekly one-page writeup (literally—I sort of like the idea of it being hand-done) that can both serve as a source of entertainment for myself, and as a source of information for my students. I also hope that the students will take up my offer to “argue” with me by leaving comments on the site, since that would be another opportunity to build their writing skills.

I guess that only time will tell. But until then, here’s the first issue of The Grumpy Writer’s Grumps:

The Grumpy Writer’s Grumps #001

Fieldwork Diary Writing: A “Development Diary” for Self-Reflection

Goodbye “Dear Diary” and hello “Development Diary”

Many people can be a bit intimidated by the thought of diary writing. A large part of this is the recollection of childhood diary writing experiences filled with mundane details which look something like:

Dear Diary,
Today I got up at 6:30 and had five idli for breakfast. Then I went to the tea shop and had two cups of tea and …

You get the point. No one—not even you—is likely to want to read or re-read those words a month later.

So, why are we asking you to keep a “Development Diary” then1?
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  1. This document was prepared for Tata-Dhan Academy students who are completing the fieldwork or development practice segments of their curriculum. As such, some of the content specifically highlights the types of topics they would be recording about their experiences. [back]

Process Documentation and Journal Writing: Guidelines for Making the Most out of Your Field Experiences

Download a nicely formatted PDF version for offline viewing.

Introduction

Process documentation and journal writing should become a natural extension of the work that you do while you are in the field. Both of these types of writing are meant to describe what happened in the field, and both of them will include different kinds of information to help you later on when writing your reports. But while these writing tasks are related, they are different in their purposes. Broadly speaking, process documentation is purely objective, while journal writing is more flexible and allows for more subjective commentary. The following document was written to help you get started with process documentation and journal writing1. I urge you to take the included information as “guidelines” and not as a prescriptive set of rules or requirements.
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  1. This document was prepared for Tata-Dhan Academy students who are completing the fieldwork or development practice segments of their curriculum. As such, some of the content specifically highlights the types of topics they would be recording about their experiences. Nevertheless, whatever your course of study—or indeed even if you are writing for pleasure!—many of the concepts here should still be easily applicable. [back]