(This posting includes a handout which you are welcome to use with your students.)
“I like summer because it’s hot.” Pretty simplistic, right? The assignment was to write six sentences using subordinators as part of a review of them in my advanced class. That sentence was the type that I got from some of my students.
My first impulse was to attribute this to a lack of motivation, or to staying up until 2 a.m. playing video games, or to immaturity. I found out that I was wrong (or at least partial wrong).
A few of my “better” students would write more sophisticated sentences like, “Because of the recent refugee crisis in Europe, some Europeans are starting to question their immigration policies.” When I shared some of these advanced sentences with the “simple-style” students, they seemed quite surprised that they should have been trying to write like that. They thought that just using a subordinator in sentence was enough to fulfill the assignment. I realized that I hadn’t presented the challenge clearly enough. Here is my remedy which completely turned these students around.