Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Prof. Bernstein (RST): Upside Down

by Judith Stapleton '12

Although not a native English speaker, Professor Bernstein loves writing in English. “In Russia the paper was completely upside down,” she says. Learning to write in Eastern Europe, she was taught that the thesis went in the conclusion: after proving your point, you “came up with something beautiful for why you were writing.” She much prefers the directness of the American approach. “You have to start with a thesis, don’t hide anything, tell what you are doing!” she exclaims. Professor Bernstein notes that though her students have wonderful ideas, their papers are often “a porridge.” If a student brings in a poorly written paper, she returns it ungraded so that the student can revise. “One can learn to write” concludes Professor Bernstein: “It is a  skill: there is no secret to it; it is just work.”

  • Profile: Dr. Lina Bernstein
  • judith stapleton '12