Learning Center Offers Tips

Liz Cameron

Everyone wants that “A” on an essay, but everyone also knows how difficult it can be to get all the details correct, especially when you have writer’s block.

Even for English majors writing can be a challenge, and practice can be the difference between a “C” and an “A.” With help from instructors in an informal environment for approximately 80 minutes, students can be confident with their work. Through the Learning Center workshops, they can strive to be better writers.

Faculty and staff are also welcome to attend any of the workshops available, where they can receive FLEX (a requirement for all faculty to participate in growth activities) or CPGU (campus professional growth units that can be used towards salary advancements) credit. There are various times and dates for the sessions so that anybody attending can have flexibility with their schedules.

Shant Shahoian, an English and humanities professor, and coordinator of the Learning Center, is holding a workshop on how to identify and avoid nine common logical fallacies in the back room of the English Lab, AD 238, this semester.

On Monday, from 2:30 to 3:40 p.m., students have the chance to learn about Hasty Generalization, Post Hoc (Ergo Propter Hoc), Strawperson, Ad Hominem, Two Wrongs, False Dilemma, Slippery Slope, Appeal to Tradition and Appeal to Popularity through PowerPoint presentations.

Shahoian started the workshop series in the fall 2009 semester, after he found that the students he taught needed extra help in improving their writing skills. He took over the workshop series from Denise Ezell, an English professor and former coordinator of the Learning Center. He got the idea from “The Brainchild,” as Shahoian calls her, after she started the series back in 2007. Ezell was modeling the idea from other colleges’ workshop experiences.

Shahoian said that only the students he taught asked for the extra help in writing, and those outside of the classroom never approached him with the same concerns.

With enough students interested in learning through the workshops, he discussed continuing what Ezell started with other colleagues. Receiving their approval to continue in his planning, he kept the workshops running at Glendale.

Faculty member Nancy Getty, an instruction and reference librarian, attended the “Logical Fallacies” and “Structure in Formal Essays: The Thesis, Topic Sentences, and Transitions” workshop in the past and said, “It was disappointing they weren’t better attended.”

Getty believes that people don’t usually go to the workshops unless it’s mandatory. She found that attending the “Logical Fallacies” workshop was new and interesting because she had never before put the information in the context as the instructor explained.

“The instructor uses and takes examples from the students, making the experience relevant. The back and forth participation is a good way to involve participants.
The teaching was excellent,” said Getty. She found that although the attendance was low, it was beneficial because it created an almost one-on-one environment, and with informal teaching, it was “an ideal way to get help with writing.”

Getty said their method of teaching is interactive and affective and thinks that more people should attend.

In addition to the “Logical Fallacies” workshop, there are others that focus on different aspects of writing. “Finding the Main Idea” will be held March 18 from 5:30 to 6:40 p.m., “Outlining” is March 22 from 2:30 to 3:40 p.m., On March 23 two workshops will be offered, “Pronoun Case” at 10:30 to 11:40 a.m. and “MLA Requirements” from 6 to 7:40 p.m.

For more information, call the Learning Center, at (818) 240-1000 ext. 5341.