Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Topic: The State of Writing

10-second review: Students are not writing enough and they are not writing at any length.

Title: “What Is Happening in the Teaching of Writing?” AN Applebee and JA Langer. English Journal (May 2009), 18-28. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “What is clear is that even with some increases over time, many students are not writing a great deal for any of their academic subjects, including English, and most are not writing at any length. Some 40% of twelfth-grade students, for example, report never or hardly ever being asked to write a paper of three pages or more. Although short, focused writing is also important, extended writing is necessary to explore ideas or develop arguments in depth. It also represents the demands that they will face in post-secondary education.” p. 26.

Comment: Not writing enough affects development of the writing habit. Writing is more difficult without that habit.

If 40% of 12th graders are not writing papers of 3 pages or more, then 60% are—and I bet it’s once a year, with a research paper.

Of course, the time needed to mark the papers is probably a factor in not assigning lengthy papers. Still, the authors have a point. Students are going to need—I assume—to write lengthy papers in college and reports in the business and professional worlds.

I think three lengthy papers, including the research paper, should be assigned throughout each year in the high school. Marking will be made easier by the students’ using tables of contents, bold-face headings and diagrams and pictures to illustrate ideas. Failure to make use of all of the features of the computer was another concern by these authors. They used the results of the questionnaire that accompanied the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to draw their conclusions. RayS.

No comments:

Post a Comment