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The Mueller Report as a teaching aid


Last updated 4/29/2019 at 9:10am

One of the greatest influences in my life is my high school English teacher who passed a decade ago.

She led us through the structure of language, the nuances of meanings, analysis and interpretation of literature from “Beowulf” to “Leatherstocking Tales” and beyond. I learned to diagram sentences – a skill I haven’t practiced since that time, learned to read scripts and participate in plays, was introduced to formal debate structure, did compositions and reported on literary assignments.

We learned proper speaking technique and through all of this absorbed more vocabulary and more spelling based on word origins. We learned the different types of words and how they’re used, tense of verbs, basic sentence structure and use of the paragraph. I know the difference between a predicate adjective and a predicate adverb – feel bad versus feel badly.

Now all this legal wrangling in Washington, with its many court filings, is a great way to practice your comprehension and retention. The precision of most of the wording in the Mueller report is spectacularly good. So here’s a suggestion.

Use the Mueller report as an exemplar of very careful and precise wording. Pick a section for detailed study and joint discussion. Next session, pick another section. Students will learn the power of the written word and respect for it. It will be one of the best tools in their toolbox and it will always be an asset.

John Watson


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