School Writing Vs. Authentic Writing

Teachers, Profs, Parents: Writers Who Care

by Ken Lindblom

Many students dislike writing in school, and it’s no wonder.  Five-paragraph essay formats, predictable essay questions on books they didn’t choose to read, all written for a teacher (or faceless exam scorer) who knows more about the subject than they do.  Who would find this “schoolish writing”–as Anne Elrod Whitney has called it–appealing? Certainly not Tim Dewar’s daughter, who has “better writing to do”! No where in the world outside school is writing expected to be formulaically written without a real purpose and without a real audience.  As noted educator, Grant Wiggins, has put it:

The point of writing is to have something to say and to make a difference in saying it. Rarely, however, is impact the focus in writing instruction in English class. (29)

While many students claim to dislike writing, according to a PEW Report, today’s young people actually write…

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“Students Today…”: On Writing, Plagiarism, and Teaching

radical eyes for equity

Posted at Maureen Downey’s Get Schooled, college instructor Rick Diguette offers a grim picture of first year college writing:

Once upon a time I taught college English at a local community college, but not any more.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still on faculty and scheduled to cover three sections of freshman composition this fall.  But it has become obvious to me that I am no longer teaching “college” English.

Every semester many students in my freshman English classes submit work that is inadequate in almost every respect. Their sentences are thickets of misplaced modifiers, vague pronoun references, conflicting tenses, and subjects and verbs that don’t agree―when they remember, that is, that sentences need subjects.  If that were not bad enough, the only mark of punctuation they seem capable of using with any consistency is the period.

I read this just after I had been mulling Jessica Lahey’s What…

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IHE: One Course Without Pay

One Course Without Pay

December 16, 2014

By Colleen Flaherty

When it comes to first-year writing courses, how many sections are too many for one instructor to teach? Full-time, non-tenure-track faculty members at Arizona State University say five per semester, and they’re protesting their department’s plan to increase their teaching load to that number (up from four) each term, starting next fall. They say they’re worried the service work they’ll give up in exchange for the extra course won’t be taken up by tenure-line faculty, and that they won’t be able to give needy students the same level of attention.

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