Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Assignment: Profile


You already have many profiles in life: parent, sibling, child, employee, cousin, aunt/uncle, recovering from something, athlete, artist, musician, gardener, person with a disability, etc. This assignment asks you to write a partner’s Student Profile.


  1. Readiness Assessment
  2. Meeting with your partner
  3. Interview prep: writing good questions & preparing answers
  4. Conduct interviews
  5. Draft
  6. Revision, Editing, Proofreading 
  7. Final


You will use the information from your partner’s Assessment and interview to write their Student Profile Essay. It must include:

  1. Good Title
  2. Setting Description
    1. You have to set the scene of the interview, and of your partner’s important places. Ask for descriptions of home, family, work, and other important people and places.
  3. Biographical Information
    1. You have to tell us about their basic life facts: name, age, occupation, family, school, challenges, successes, travels, hobbies, goals, career plans, etc.
  4. Assessment Information
    1. You get to see your partner’s assessment answers and score. Use this information to help you understand him/her as a student.
  5. At least 3 Quotations
    1. You have to write down the important things your partner says, then use the quotations in your essay.


  • 700 words;
  • Use correct MLA essay format (See the handout on the course website.);
  • Typed and neatly presented with high-quality printing;
  • Stapled.


An “A” Student Profile Essay:
  • Is on-time, complete, and neatly presented;
  • Is typed with high-quality printing;
  • Is cleanly proofread with no formatting errors or typos;
  • Introduces the subject’s life and history;
  • Provides many biographical facts;
  • Describes at least one important place and one important person;
  • Uses 3 or more descriptive and important quotations;
  • Is well organized with paragraphs;
  • Focuses on profiling your partner as a student.

SAMPLE PROFILE ESSAY: “The Face of Facebook” (Originally published in the New Yorker, September 2010.)

Teacher's Notes

This profile serves a few purposes in a developmental writing class:

First, it gets students talking by making them the subject of each others' papers. The effects can be profound: learning your classmates' names and stories can make you feel less isolated, encourage you to seek help, make you more comfortable in a new classroom.

Pedagogically, I believe students can bring their lives into the classroom and make them a writing subject. We are not here to (simply) fill them up with new knowledge; rather, we are here to develop what they already know, help them find new ways to gain skills, and acknowledge that they already come to class with important experiences. I want students to be able to write about themselves and new concepts.

Some of the difficulties I've encountered this semester:

Partners not giving each other a full effort. Some students are shy or hesitant, giving the briefest of answers and little follow up information. They don't mean to be withholding; they're often just unsure of what to say to a stranger.

Absences or lateness that affect the other partner's ability to complete work. Group work is hard to negotiate. I try to use this project to heavily influence students' first quarter participation grade so they can see that their efforts matter to their partner and their grade.

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