Monday, March 12, 2012

Teaching Writing

Question: What is the weakness in our teaching of writing?

Answer/Quote: “On the professional level, especially after doing historical scholarship and seeing, shockingly reveals, a recursive, abysmal spiral of the same essay-based pedagogy from the field’s origin onward, one can’t but wonder why the field on the whole seems so stunted and contrary…..” p. 508.

Quote: “Official composition has persisted as a bland, sanitized pedagogy, teaching clear, correct, citation-based essay form to students, using a literarily thin corpus of nonfiction readings as prompts.” P. 511,

Comment: According to this author, the weakness in our teaching of writing is the short essay format. The research paper, as it is usually taught, is only an extension of that format. At the college level, there are some alternatives: having students write articles based on the journals in the students’ major fields. Extending the essay format into longer treatments of topics. Learning from other disciplines the types of writing required in those disciplines. Having the courage to deviate from the short-essay based curriculum will take some courage. However, wisdom says, use a combination of the short essay to demonstrate the structure of exposition and at least one alternative. RayS.

Title: “Review Essay: Resisting Entropy.” Geoffrey Sirc. College Composition and Communication (February 2012), 507-519.

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