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Sample Student Essay on Paid Maternity Leave

hello students I wanted to record myself giving feedback to a student on a sample persuasive essay paper to give you a sense of what I’m looking for what when I’m grading and also just so you could see a strong example of student writing so this first page here you can see I’ve already inserted comments on this page here on the right and in this first page what we have is the rhetorical context page and that’s not part of MLA that’s just something that I like to include I got in this habit when I used to teach at UCF and they used it over there and I do think it’s very helpful for you to identify especially your audience purpose and thesis because part of the objective for this class is that you can demonstrate audience awareness and your writing so that you know if you’re writing to a more informal audience I can tell that with your word choice being purposefully informal or if you’re writing to more formal audiences is in the case with this persuasive essay in many academic essays I can see that in your word choice and your approach to them so the audience helps me say are they appealing to that particular audience and we talked about this in the audience PowerPoint which i think is coming up next week perhaps I can’t remember but if you’re you know for example you’re going to argue that you know marijuana should be legalized or something like that and your audience is people who are concerned about how that will affect you know health and societal motivation or something like that they think that it’s bad for people’s health well then you really know that you need to work on those concerns you need to demonstrate that it is not going to be harmful to people if this is lethal eyes that it’s not going to show a decrease in you know crime or motivation or anything like that so what we see here is this student has chosen her subject matter is paid maternity leave as a mandated employee benefit and I remember her research question was you know should there be paid maternity leave in the United States her audience is the majority of voters in America who believe that paid maternity leave should be mandated but do not consider this an issue worth debate or action because remember when you’re choosing your audience that usually you know you’re probably gonna choose someone who disagrees with you or as uninformed or unmotivated so she’s kind of chosen more of an unmotivated group to target sometimes they’re a little bit easier you know in that they’re on board with you but then the case becomes you have to be kind of a rabble-rouser you have to say like go team let’s get up and do this and so you really have to have a lot of passion in your argument you know to to motivate them the purpose is to convince the audience that this is an issue this issue is important and worth their attention so that mirrors you know what she’s saying with her audience and hopefully if I get to her thesis I will see the purpose mirrored in the thesis statement again that tells me as your instructor you know this isn’t something you would do if you were writing a persuasive essay you know in real life quote unquote but this tells me that you know that a thesis works together with the purpose that your thesis should be a statement of your purpose so it says paid maternity leave would benefit American families and businesses alike and should be a mandatory benefit for employees so yes it seems to reflect this idea that this issue is important and it gives specific reasons why so it it takes a stance it’s not factual it’s opinionated which is important with the thesis and it gives some kind of support why because it would benefit American families and businesses alike so there are two reasons there and it avoids that FCAT listing structure that has become so mechanical commonplace and a lot of academic writing so that’s nice and you see here the MLA format is correct they’ve got all the required information here they’ve got a title you don’t need the colon but that’s kind of a staple of academic writing to have you know your subject matter a colon and then something that elaborates on your subject matter there so I’m gonna go ahead and read through this and just comment as I’m going along it says the United States Swaziland and Papua New Guinea are in a class by themselves it is hard to imagine what these three countries could have in common to the exclusion of all other developed nations in the world the answer is simple paid maternity leave for new mothers every other developed country in the world protects the ability of working mothers to have a period of time off from their jobs at least some portion of their income after the birth of a child with America’s position as a leader in human rights protection around the world the United States failure to ensure the right of women to be protected from financial distress during the months surrounding childbirth is shocking paid maternity leave would benefit American families and businesses alike and should be a mandatory benefit for employees so there are a few things that I like about this you know intro here I do think it has a kind of attention-grabbing first sentence where it says the United States Swaziland and Papua New Guinea you know cuz usually the United States is such a powerful nation we think about it in terms of being on par with nations like you know the UK or China or things like that but we don’t think Swaziland and Papua New Guinea and then you know what they have in common is that they don’t offer paid maternity leave for new mothers and you can see in my commentary there that I did have a little bit of issue with the way it’s worded here but I knew what she meant also here we see the use of a source she’s got a fact every other developed country in the world protects the ability of working mothers to have a period of time off from their jobs with at least some portion of their income after the birth of a child this sentence along with these facts about Swaziland Papua New Guinea in the United States so all of this material is factual that is not something you would think the student would just know off the top of her head and so she cites it here parenthetically and what this tells me is this title record with quotations around it is that there’s probably not an author because quotations are reserved for titles so if I go down to her works cited list which is what I do when I’m grading I say okay record hold my place and I look to the arse because work cited page should be alphabetically arranged correct there’s no author here and there’s the title record 51% of moms get maternity leave an MLA it says that if you’re citing in text especially parenthetically you can abbreviate so she’s demonstrated already kind of a sophisticated awareness of research and citation she did not drop you know a quotation in there for all this but she summarized it in her own words so right there right off the bat we’re seeing a lot of good things in this essay we also start to see an appeal to the audience here we see with America’s position as a leader in human rights protection around the world this idea that you know patriotism is part of this and pride in the United States that we are a leader in so many areas but then here is where we fail and fail to ensure the right of women to be protected from financial distress I do like that word choice their distress not just you know financial hardship or or having poor finances or something like that but it sounds like it appeals to you a little bit more in your emotions even though again it’s a logo sorry cumin it’s more factual and reasonable and you know she says it’s shocking so trying to again we see a little bit of that motivational argument trying to say you you know people the audience may be aware of this like she stated in her rhetorical but they don’t really feel motivated to do anything about it so she’s trying to get them inspired to say this is shocking people you know like it’s not just like oh yeah that’s sad it’s shocking so it’s hard sometimes to write a motivational argument because you know you can end up I feel like sometimes the narrator and those movie trailers you know where it’s like or or the lead into you know Eyewitness News at 11:00 it’s like killer bees are coming to your part of town act fast what you need to know at 11:00 you know that sometimes if you’re writing a motivational argument you can run the danger of sounding too dramatic or using multiple exclamation points and just you know an academic writing doesn’t tend towards that kind of emotion usually the academic community tends to be more Placid and conservative and some would say boring but you know they tend to use logos above all else so writing a motivational argument in an academic paper can be challenging and then finally we get hurt theses paid maternity leave would benefit American families and businesses alike and should be a mandatory benefit for employees so we know where she’s going right from the start all right and I probably won’t read the whole paper just mostly I’ll skim a little bit as we go here and see what I think is worth commenting on so here we have this paragraph and it says in the United States employers are required to offer up to 12 weeks of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 this can be used in the case of sickness or other personal medical needs or to care for the needs of a family member employers are not required to compensate employees during this time but are required to protect the employee’s job until his or her return only full-time employees who have been employed for one year at a company which employees at least 25 employees are eligible for benefits under the law FML la is the closest thing American women have to protected maternity leave so I really like this paragraph I think it does a great job of giving the reader a sense of what the current situation is and kind of the history of it and it does it really concisely which can be a hard thing because this is not you know you look at legislation when it comes to protecting women or maternity leave or you know women’s rights in the workplace there have been other inroads but she basically focuses on the major ones and this is what women today use you know if they need to leave their job after they take time off they use the Family and Medical Leave Act that protects them and means they’re not gonna lose their job and so I think she does a great thing there one of the little things to note is this also which I mentioned later I think an addiction power point is that if you’re using these you know terms that are longer and can be abbreviated the first time you want to spell it out and you then you can include the abbreviation and thereafter you can just refer to the abbreviation so you’ll see also students sometimes go WOW you know I’m finding especially if they’re writing about a topic with which they’re not very familiar you know before they start research that they go my whole essay is research there are very few words where it’s just my ideas because all of this is summarized research this is really the part where she chimes in but that is the nature of a research argument or of any real research paper is that your job becomes the synthesizer right that you are pulling the sources together your job becomes walking the reader through the sources making connections between the sources for your reader and leaving them back to your thesis for it so there are going to be large chunks that are just researched but again these this research should not be like data dumps where you just copy and paste and drop big chunks in there you’ve got to like chew it up and oh my gosh I just got the worst image in my head of like baby birds like I think they call it mastication where the parent bird you know chews up the food for the baby and then gives it to the baby in a form the baby can handle so hey you’ll remember that won’t you you know this is what you’re doing for your reader is like you’re chewing up your sources and you’re giving them to your reader in a way that supports your argument and is in a way they can handle okay so let’s see what’s going on here at this paragraph while FMLA is a start paid maternity leave would make maternity leave possible for many families that are unable to survive the financial stress of a loss of an income for an extended period of time so I like hear that she’s granting like FMLA is not all bad you know we she’s not be like even though she’s trying to motivate her audience to act she’s not saying like FMLA needs to go like we are horrible we need to really do something about this issue she’s like no this is this is good but we need to go further paid leave would also allow many women to take longer leaves which have been shown to benefit both mother and child in the u.s. a majority of new mothers go back to work before the twelve weeks a lot it allowed by FMLA within two months 25 percent are back at work and 10 percent are working within four weeks of delivery it is hard to imagine that most women would choose to return to work so soon if they were able to afford to do otherwise according to an editorial in birth issues in perinatal care a critical part of any leave policy is wage replacement many American families live from paycheck to paycheck and would not be able to afford to take maternity leave without supplemental income so a few things I think are wonderful here you know we’ve got a topic sentence and a topic sentence is like a thesis for your paragraph it states the main point of the paragraph and all the other details are about supporting that so again you know here is where your voice comes in is your like here’s my point and then you summarize the research to support all that and synthesize you know how it connects to that point so she’s saying you know this is a financial strain and many people it’s not possible for them to take off this long so she talks about she gives statistics about 25 percent her back at work and 10 percent working than four weeks of delivery and we’ve got again sophisticated MLA use I’m assuming there are two sources by learner and that’s why she’s including the author and the title here so if I go down to do did you did you work cited page learner yep learner is forty weeks the ideal maternity leave link and look these dash dash dash means it’s the same name that’s an MLA little tidbit so I didn’t even expect her to do that that’s pretty sophisticated attention to detail as far as citation goes so learner has two different topics here let’s see okay and then she’s got another so she’s got a sentence after it’s hard to imagine that most woman would choose to return to work so soon if they were able to afford otherwise so she’s not again even just summarizing research like you wouldn’t your annotated bibliography and dropping it there sometimes students I feel like they just regurgitate their you know TD bibliography to me and maybe move the sources around but they don’t have those connecting sentences that synthesize how one source works to support their thesis so try to follow each bit of research maybe with some commentary that connects it back to the point of your paragraph and she’s got another source here you know about wage replacement so this synthesis of having multiple sources clearly connected in a paragraph is very sophisticated research and synthesis and writing skills um we’ll do one more paragraph I think here the benefits of maternity leave for women are numerous okay again clear topic sentence so I expect to see in this paragraph what these benefits of maternity leave for women are maternal health is positively affected by the ability to take time to heal physically from the effects of pregnancy and childbirth so then that’s her idea and then we’ve got the facts to support that according to a study published by the National Bureau of Economic Research maternal depression is reduced by longer maternity leave and the overall health of mothers who take longer leaves is improved maternity leave also gives mothers time to establish successful nursing relationships with their infants which protects mothers from breast and ovarian cancer later in life maternity leave also allows women and their families a period of time to adjust the addition of a new baby these benefits pale in comparison to the joy that a mother gets from spending time with her newborn child that time is fleeting and all mothers should be able to take the time to savor it without undue financial stress so in there we see you know the word choice really reflecting a formal relationship with her audience and an educated tone so we’ve got a few good things going on there and I won’t read this paragraph but children reap benefits from maternity leave as well so we’ve got you know the benefits for women the benefits for children the benefits for babies that are not just health related but developmental and then here it looks like we get kind of an opposing view cuz it says the most common stumbling block to the adoption of more generously policies is money business leaders often oppose such measures assuming the cost would be prohibitive so this is what the opposing side says and then but he or she gives us an example of how California offers paid family leave and yet you know it’s workable for them and then we get another opposing view others argue against paid leave because of the effect on proto divot II or cause under staffing issues however the above-mentioned survey found that paid family leave either had no impact or positive impact on productivity performance turnover and morale so you’re getting definitely she’s breaking down all the opposing viewpoints and rebutting them here and usually you know when students have a hard time meeting the page cow it’s because they don’t go into enough detail about their support so they’ll give on me they’ll give me supporting reasons but they don’t go into you know the nitty-gritty and that’s really what she does well here and that you want to do and then because here you can see there’s like an example of someone in Yahoo CEO of Yahoo and what you know she did for paid maternity leave and it that’s one example it could have been a sentence but she explains it throughout a paragraph and then we get kind of the call to action here at the end where it says businesses such as Yahoo can go a long way in creating a more open conversation about maternity leave benefits in America by offering generous leave packages to employees they encourage other companies to do the same competition for quality employees will require them to offer more and more family-friendly benefits given time the free market could even negate the need for government regulation Daren is the beauty of our system of government when this average citizen feels that something in our society needs to be changed they can do something about it our government has failed today at take actions we must put pressure on our representatives in Washington the survey by the Rockefeller Foundation in time found that 62% of Republicans and even more Democrats felt that the businesses should be required to provide paid maternity leave a majority of those on either side of the political spectrum agree on this issue it is time for action on this issue it is time to beyond together and catch up with the rest of the world so I like that to catch up with the rest of the world harkens back to her first sentence there so hopefully this gives you an idea of what equality essay looks like and I didn’t go into every little detail but there’s a lot in here I’ll post this essay separate from the video if you want to look it over on your own and please reach out to me if you have any questions thank you

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