Wednesday, November 13, 2013

When Plain is Best

When one wants to just get an idea across to an audience, the plain style will most likely be used. Short, sweet and to the point. This style, when properly used, can be informative without the fluff of the official or creative styles. The key features for categorizing a piece as plain style are active voice in simple sentences (subject, verb, object), clear subjects and low levels of abstraction. This news article, found on the Fond du Lac Reporter, has used the plain style to clarify changes in the educational system of the district. There have been more and more of these changes in the educational system recently: most important being the shift to more of a teaching approach for problem solving learning style. The changes are to help improve Wisconsin’s scores on standardized tests. The article is for everyone to know and be able to understand how the changes will impact each own’s life. Because the article is for everyone in the community, it is written in a very clear, simple voice successfully.
The author of this article, Terry Kaldhusal of the Fond du Lac Reporter, wants to give the facts and remain unbiased in the activity system. With the use of the plain style, Kaldhusal can be successful in accomplishing this writing for parents, students, teachers and others involved in education. These new changes could be interpreted to be either worthwhile or a waste of time; one never knows how news will be taken by the masses. Because of this fact, the article is written without taking a side on the matter. The elements of plain style that are used to do all of this are: active voice, simple sentences, quick sentence opening and informal voice.   
Kaldhusal takes responsibility of the entire Reporter community and says, “this is neither a political issue nor a union issue. Our view is based on our students’ needs.” By stating this it is vital to note that the only thing care for the reporter in printing the article is to take our children’s best interest and future into consideration. These two sentences are very simple and get straight to the point that wants to be made. There is no slow opening or trying to soften the facts to be said.
The simple sentences and active voice of the text seem to produce easy reading and understanding within an article with such a wide audience. The sentences are all very basic and do not hold any unneeded or extra information. The article is purely used to get the details about the updated curriculum out to the public; so that, they know what questions to bring up and what to expect their children to be learning. Kaldhusal does this when explaining the changes about the learning style, “it demands that our students be able to read a complex text and understand it. It demands that our students learn to understand a problem and then use the skills necessary to solve it.”  There is never a way to please everyone when it comes to the creating a standard of teaching in a district; arguments will always come up. With this in mind, Kaldhusal is very meek in the explanation of the change.

This text is very effective, because there is little to no room for confusing about what is now happening with the changes being put in place. The writer wants the parents and others impacted in Wisconsin to understand what the children they are raising will be learning from this point on in their educational career, and this is achieved. Kaldhusal never slows down to say if the changes are good or bad; states the facts and leaves it at that. The plain style is a simplistic way of getting an idea across while being able to remain unbiased on a matter.
~E. West

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