Coming to Terms


A New Jersey poet one said that nobody is willing to be shortchanged as well as nobody is against shorthand. Cole in his book Stories and Theories warns against the transformation of information from a more complex nature to simpler experiences. The basic question in this is how to paraphrase a text without shortchanging in other words putting it in some kind of shorthand form and not change the original meaning. In defining a project, one should try and analyses what the writer is trying to achieve in writing and whether he/she is able to do that successfully. In this case, Harris is trying to put across the basics in writing and a more in-depth analysis of the process away from the usual perception.

Most people believe that they are more than capable of writing a good essay. However, this cannot be achieved without the proper implementation of skill such as paraphrasing and qualitative analysis of information. Harris applies practical examples form subsequent writers in relating the importance of good writing to proper interpretation of information. One such writer Gillian stated that to make effective use of the work of other writers, you have to show the force of their thinking (Harris, pp. 19). From the text, it is evident that Harris uses practical examples from the words of other writers and their written works. Harris also explores the historical aspect of writing by analyzing the works of Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato who formed a background for modern writing approaches and theories for modern writers.

Harris emphasizes on the all important factor of paraphrasing in any written essay. Any written information should hold a free flow of thoughts and ideas which eventually result to a well structured and informative essay. Harris states that the main objective of the writer in the text can be termed as his/her project. The word project away from the shallow meaning refers to a set of well articulated ideas that the writer throws forward to the reader. Harris gives the example of Carol Gillian’s In a Different Voice a book that explores the mainstream ideas behind the reason why women respond to moral conflicts differently from how men do. Gillian criticizes some of the past works such as the seminal essay by Sigmund Freund by suggesting that previous psychological generations did not fully comprehend the psychological differences between men and women but focused mainly on the development part of men.

Harris’ ideas are very influential in the writing process particularly in academic writing. This is because; he provides an approach that lays the guidelines to guide academic writers in successful writing. One of the basics of any written work is that it should be qualitative but ton quantities. The work should be qualitative in terms of how the information is relayed which can be achieved through paraphrasing. How do we reduce quantitative writing? This can be achieved by shorthand writing by relying the authors’ ideas as if they were own ideas. However, Harris fails to guide academic writes on how to relate with an essay or a text so as to get a deeper meaning of the same. Without this internalization between the writer and the essay, a writer cannot be able to relate the information in his own words much less fail to change the original meaning of the text.

Attention on the other and has been an active challenge in modern societies with time. Researchers have over the years tried to relate the effects of the media on the cognitive function of an individual. Attention span is one of the inevitable processes in human development. Despite being numerous explanations of the term, modern psychologists have failed in determining the actual meaning of the word despite it being used in everyday situations. Younger children have been observed as having less attention spans than adults but the basic question is, why is attention span important and how is information regarding the same important to a parent. Over the years, characteristics in children such as retard, unintelligence and poverty has always been attributed to lack of attention span. This is why there has been an increase in the number of institutions specializing in improving the attention span of such children.

The author Newman tries to evaluate the social and cognitive changes that occur as a result of attention spans and any changes on the same. There has also existed a misconception regarding the relationship between attention spans and human behavior. The author relates different media and how the said media report issues to with respect to attention spans. An example of this is when the author states the 1958 Times article that reported an early effort by a teacher to improve the attention span of children in the institution. The use of visual media was found to significantly improve the attention span of and prevent the children from mind wandering.

Sesame street is sued as one of the examples in the essay that we an early attempt that showed that children have a shorter attention span that adults. The author s able to scientifically and practically relate the changes in the media circuit and their effects on the attention levels of children as well as adults. The author says that when Sesame Street was first aired in 1969, the show was greeted with a lot of excitement and hope. There was an extensive coverage of the objectives of the show as well as the methods to be used in achieving the said goals. The primary objective for the creation of Sesame Street was to strike an appeal among young audience and was created as a result of collaboration between psychologists and other scientific researchers. The show was initially appealing to children who had a habit of watching TV and was aimed at bringing poor children to school.

The author closely follows the implementation of the Sesame Street program and how the program was able to achieve its primary objective. However, the effectiveness of the program has been marred with controversies with skeptics arguing that the media has an effect on the cognitive ability of the children. The author clearly relates the Sesame Street initiative which had been initially a program created to improve the attention span of children but later led to the development of the debate surrounding the effects of media on attention. According to the writer, the initial objective of Sesame Street was to strike interest among the young generation who had relatively lower attention levels. However, the scant and unreliable data that was used to establish the success of this is the main reason behind some of the current effects of the media on attention spans.

Richtel in his article growing Up Digital, Wired for Distraction focuses on the effects of modern technology and social networking sites on focus and learning. According to the author, recent research has established that the effects of modern technology are highly felt on the younger generation as compared to the adults. The effects of these technologies have significant effect on the brain as young and developing brains become more habituated as compared to adult brains. What the author is trying to bring out is the controversies that exist through the use of modern technology both at homes and institutions. A practical example by the author is that some institutions are intensifying efforts on the use of technology as they see it as a better way to connect with the students. However, they do this without putting into consideration the effects of this on the young generation.

The author passes his message and connects with the reader through the use of practical examples such as the case of Woodside High School where the situation is such that almost everyone spends their classroom breaks playing video games or login in on Facebook. This practice has a particular effect on one student Vishal whose ability to be distracted by computers is rivaled by his proficiency with them. This is one example of an individual caught between two lives in the sense that one world is virtual while the other is the real world. This is a very informative essay that particularly targets the current trends in the world of technology in modern world. This is because; most of the people today are incorporating modern technology without a close analysis of the same on their lives both in the positive and the negative context.