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09/08/2019

What does my teacher want from me !?!?

QUESTION
What does my teacher want from me !?!?
I received this summer assignment from my history teacher, but am having difficulty completing it because I don’t understand what he’s asking for. Please help me decipher this “teacher talk”! I’d really appreciate it!

Prompt: Discuss the social, economic, and political factors that led to the
de-population of Native groups in the Americas. Be sure to use general and
specific statements to support your point.

I’d like to know what kind of essay he’s expecting, or if he wants an essay at all, as well as any tips you have for writing to a prompt like this, as I expect we’ll be doing them all year. Thank you in advance!

ANSWER
It’s not “teacher talk,” it’s plain English. Yes, of course he wants an essay. He wants you to explain cause-and-effect relationships. The effect he wants you to explain is the “de-population of Native groups in the Americas,” that is, why are there so few indigenous people in the Americas now as compared to in the past (before 1492, I assume he means). What were the causes of this occurrence?

You would start with an introduction, giving some statistics about the declining number of indigenous people in the Americas. Then you would state your thesis: this decline was caused by ______ (in one or two sentences). Then you would go into more detail about the various causes, citing specific evidence.