Tips on Teaching

Common Rhetorical Patterns of Writing

by Gina Merys, Associate Director, Reinert Center

This past week, the Reinert Center facilitated the 2017 Culturally Responsive Teaching Institute. As part of that institute, participants began to grapple with what it means to live and learn through another culture and language.

Because even the ways we think are structured through the filter of culture, our language patterns, both written and spoken, often reflect those very different patterns. A simple way to illustrate this idea is to think about a common idiom in your own native language and then try to translate it directly into another language. Not only do the words of the idiom frequently cease to make sense in a direct translation, but also the structure of the idiom often becomes disorganized as well.

As a way to show how this challenge in translating our thoughts reveals itself in students’ written work, we have updated a germinal image of cultural thought patterns. This updated image is part of a larger project examining the ways in which students’ writing reflects rhetorical thought patterns, especially in specific educational settings.


To explore challenges in grading students’ written work, contact the Reinert Center to request a consultation.