2 Taster materials

Example of a student's assignment

Task 1

Young babies can do more than we often give them credit for.

Student's comments Tutor's comments
Part 1  
1. Babies can communicate before they can speak  
2. Babies are aware of physical sensations  
3. Babies can interact with others very early in life  
4. Ideas have changes since the 1950s  
5. All babies don't develop in the same ways This sentence for point 5 is a little clumsy. You could say; ‘Not all babies develop in the same way or at the same rate.’
6. We as adults can affect how babies communicate.  
Part 2  
1. ‘I could tell her different cries, she kind of squarked when she hungry: ‘Wah, wah, wah’. When she was uncomfortable the squarks were longer: ‘Waahh, waahh, waahh’. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.22) This is good evidence to support the point. However, it would be useful to note here it is Mia's older sister Daisy, who is saying this about Mia.
2. ‘Babies become aware of physical sensations such as having an empty stomach, and respond by crying; they also become aware of when they feel full and come to associate that concept with whoever and however they are fed’. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.20) . Put the full stop after the brackets giving the reference for your quote so that it's attached to the right sentence. So ‘….however they are fed’ (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.20).
3. Newborn babies respond to things that they see, hear and feel. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.30). As this is a direct quote, you do need to use speech marks. The same goes for your evidence on point 5.
4. Beliefs in babies' limited capacity were common among many child development experts in the 1950s.  
5. Some babies may not communicate their various needs quite so clearly as Mia, and carers have to work hard to interpret them. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.33).  
6. Mia is delicate. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.24). This is a good point but perhaps you need to say a little more here about why it is relevant that Mia is considered delicate.
Overall you have found some very useful evidence to support your six points. It is good to see you drawing on both Rai and Flynn's own discussion and the case-study evidence in support of their discussion. This will help you to present a nicely-balanced essay.
Part 3  
The things we think babies are able to do have changed in the last fifty years. We used to believe that very young babies • can't feel pain • can't see or hear much • just sleep all day • can't think • can't tell what's going on. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.16) It is best to avoid bullet points in assignments. The points you make are valid but you could turn them into narrative. ‘For example it used to be believed that very young babies are unable to feel pain or see or hear much. It was also thought that they do not have the ability to think or understand what was going on around them and that they simply sleep all day’ (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.16)’.
Babies can communicate before they can speak. Baby Mia is only a few months old when Daisy says that she could communicate with her. ‘I could tell her different cries, she kind of squarked when she hungry: ‘Wah, wah, wah’. When she was uncomfortable the squarks were longer: ‘Waahh, waahh, waahh’. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.22) (See my comment at Point 3). You could turn this into direct argument of the point you have just made by saying something like ‘However it is now understood that babies can communicate before they can speak’.
Babies can interact with others very early in life. Newborn babies respond to things that they see, hear and feel. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.30). Mia's mum, Jodie, says ‘I swear she could smell what was coming’ (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.22). This shows that babies are aware of physical sensations. ‘Babies become aware of physical sensations such as having an empty stomach, and respond by crying; they also become aware of when they feel full and come to associate that concept with whoever and however they are fed’. (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.20)  
It is true that all babies won't develop in the same ways. Mia responds to bright patterns and to different sounds. She will copy someone by sticking her tongue out and gripping Rosalind's finger tightly. These are all common responses. In other countries, babies may be kept very close to their mums and because they can drink when they want, they probably won't cry very much. It's also best to write words in full rather than ‘won't’ or ‘didn't’ and say ‘will not’ or ‘did not’. It's just the academic norm. You have made good use of the course materials to make this point. However, as you have used words that are very close to the ones in the course book you do need to give your reference (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.21).
Babies can see and hear lots of things going on. Mia's mum said that she looked at everything like toys hanging on her basket, at the faces of adults near her. She even saw leaves moving with the wind. As above you need to give the reference (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.22).
People used to think babies couldn't feel pain. This meant that babies were operated on without anaesthetic. This is now considered inhumane and abusive.  
We as adults affect how babies develop. We dress girls and boys in different colours. And this means that people seeing them treat them very differently, buying them different sorts of toys and speaking to them in different voices. I have two children, one of each, and I noticed that they were treated really differently by other people. Again you need to give the reference (Rai and Flynn, 2004, pp.24). It's best not to start a sentence with ‘And’. This is quite reasonable use of your own personal experience to discuss a point made in the course materials. However, it would have been interesting if you could have given just a couple of brief examples to show just what the different ways people approached children were.
Mia's dad, Eamon, says that he was afraid to hold Mia. ‘At first I was afraid to hold her in case I was too rough. She seemed too delicate. But it felt so natural once I did.’ (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.22). He thinks that Mia is going to be musical. ‘She really listens when Daisy is singing – she keeps really still and turns her head to the music. She seems to respond even when Ryan plays his fiddle! It would be lovely if all three of them turn out to be musical.’ (Rai and Flynn, 2004, p.22) It might help here to try not to quote the whole sentence; this can be cumbersome. Try to weave into your narrative key words or phrases from the course materials. You would still give the reference but it will make you're discussion flow more smoothly.
This means that the family might put pressure on Mia to play a musical instrument. They will probably treat her more cautiously than if she was a big and chubby baby. This will affect the way that she grows up. Rai and Flynn (2004, p.24) say that if Mia is thought of as ‘small and delicate’ by everybody she may grow up used to being protected and may take fewer risks. You introduce some useful evidence about how adults can affect the way that a baby develops by having certain expectations about the baby based on physical attributes.
  Don't forget to include your bibliography: it will be brief at present but is important. Have a look at the Assignment Book for guidance or speak to me at the next tutorial and I'll go over it with you. You also need to give a word count.

Task 2

Part 1

Demonstrating understanding Ok so far
Writing for study Ok so far
Reading for study Ok so far
Collecting evidence A bit confused
Using evidence A bit confused
Evaluation of ideas A bit confused

Part 2

I found it really easy and interesting to think of the different points that I wanted to make about the essay title. After I had read all the material, it seemed that there were lots of different things that I think I knew already but hadn't really thought about properly before.

When it came to collecting evidence though, I wasn't sure that I was collecting the right evidence from what I had read, and whether I was using it in the right way. I didn't really know if I should quote everything or whether I could use my own thoughts about babies. I am not really sure that I understand what is meant by evaluation of ideas.

Tutor comment: Thank you for this really useful information. We can discuss the use of evidence and evaluation at our next tutorial. However, even though you felt unsure you have done a reasonable job of selecting appropriate evidence in this first assignment.