English Majors Garruzzo and Rink Present at the Citadel
Those who teach writing often find themselves invoking analogies to try and describe a certain skill. Create a “quote sandwich” we say to students in first-year academic writing. Or perhaps the stakes of a messy quote integration are clarified when we tell them to avoid the classic “hit-and-run.” Why do we do this? And does it work? Is a quote sandwich in fact the proper response to a hit-and-run?
English Majors Anthony Garruzzo and Alaina Rink addressed this topic in their recent presentation at the annual Palmetto State Writing Center Association conference at the Citadel. Their talk–“Analogies: Building a Bridge”–described how using analogies helps clients conceptualize an idea. These “hidden commonalities,” as Garruzzo and Rink called them, guide students as they develop a transition as a crucial bridge between ideas, for example, or revise a thesis by conceiving of it as a tour guide. As the presenters emphasized, using analogies helps make concrete and imaginable what might otherwise seem too abstract. Its also encourages students to retain the information they have learned from consultants.
Writing Center Directors from Furman, Claflin, and the Citadel all had high praise for CofC’s student presenters. Dr. Bonnie Devet, who directs the Writing Lab here at the College of Charleston, offered high praise as well: “Anthony and Alaina were addressing a large audience of thirty-two directors and peer consultants from across the state,” she noted. “In spite of the pressure, they were poised and polished in their delivery.”
Anthony and Alaina wanted the audience to take home with them “workable” analogies they could use right away in their consultations. During the group activity when the audience generated their own analogies, the directors and peer consultants derived some fine analogies: Ibid is like saying “ditto”; a subordinate clause is like a clingy boyfriend; paraphrasing quotations is like condensing a phone conversation that you relate to others. Analogies like this stay with us, they stay with our students, and they make us all, one hopes, better writers and better teachers.