an interview with a retired college composition teacher from North Carolina
with some good insights as to why students can't write very well any more.
calls a lot of what goes on in English classes "moonshine" because too many
professors are more in to making a name for themselves and building prestige
than actually teaching students how to write. They skimp on the basics such as
writing instruction, even though that's what the students need and it's what
their parents are paying for.
says the "fad of the week" mentality pervades English instruction, and that's
why tried-and-true writing skills - spelling tests, punctuation, sentence
diagramming, copyediting, parts of speech exercises - all fall by the wayside.
teachers accept substandard English as a political statement, ignoring the fact
that a lack of writing skill makes a young person unemployable in many
so many teachers are in to "child-centered learning," they let students grade
each others' papers and work in groups to produce one piece of writing, which
by definition means that a lot of mistakes are getting passed by and students
aren't getting anywhere near enough practice and correction.
attempting to seem "with it," many teachers allow shallow, barely
understandable pieces of writing from students who are a lot more familiar with
Google, iPod, text messenging, Facebook and Instant Messenger than they are
with a paper and pencil.
professor, Nan Miller, wrote an article called "English 101: Prologue to
Literacy or Postmodern Moonshine?" published in the Carolina Journal.
By Susan Darst Williams • www.GoBigEd.com • Grammar Granny
036 • © 2006