A Window into Learning Style and Cognitive Preference

Paragon Learning Style Inventory

Writing Styles
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Writing Styles

Four Types and Writing Style

The descriptions of written essays presented below exemplify the four basic approaches to narrative writing: the scientific, the theoretical, the mythic, and the phenomenological. Most students' writing (in the absence of clear criteria for how to write about an event) falls into these four basic categories. The types come from combining the middle two cognitive dimensions: sensation-intuition and feeling-thinking.


Although myths may carry many symbolic meanings and may serve a number of cultural functions, they are, at their very core, stories about people. It is that sense of a myth that is the focus of this approach to writing history. As you read Robin's essay, pay attention to how she emphasizes the people of the park and how she fashions the random events that she observed into a story with a beginning, middle and end.


Phenomenology is a school of philosophy that holds, in brief, that we cannot know concrete reality with any certainty; what we can know, however, and what philosophers should investigate, is our reactions to concrete reality. As you read Susan's essay, pay attention to how she emphasizes her reactions to what happened in the park without describing, at least in detail, what actually happened.


Some writers, like Linda, are more concerned about accurately describing concrete reality; others, like Jeremy, are more interested in developing ideas or theories that will explain what reality is and what it means. As you read Jeremy's essay, pay attention to his efforts to understand and describe "history."


Although the term "science" covers a wide range of meanings, it is used here in its most common and restricted sense: science is the accurate observation of a concrete reality. As you read Linda's essay, pay attention to how she tries to accurately describe the "things" of the park, the buildings, sidewalks, 
benches, and so forth. 

Teacher Ideas:
1. Explore your own style preferences. Do you value one kind of writing over another?
2. Try assigning writing using each of the 4 styles periodically.
3. Use clear rubrics spelling out what kind of writing style is called for.


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Last Update: October 25, 2004