Tuesday, July 10, 2007

College Composition and Communication. June 2007.

The following ideas have been selected from the NCTE journal College Composition and Communication, June 2007.

What is the future of "English Zero" or noncredit freshman English for students whose writing skills are substandard for college level work? DH Holdstein. CCC (Jun. 07), p. 550. [The editor is asking the question in preparation for an article in the journal.]

Can skills in freshman writing courses in English be applied to other subject areas? It is assumed that first-year college writing courses can teach students writing skills that will cross disciplines in spite of our own research that writing skills in different disciplines are substantively different and that students will not transfer them anyway. D Downs & E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 552-553.

Can teaching writing in English be transferred to other college courses like engineering? "What constitutes clarity or forcefulness for a scholar in English is simply different--in kind, not just degree--from what constitutes these qualities in engineering." D Downs & E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 579.

What should be taught in first-year college writing courses? We need to change the focus in teaching writing in college from teaching writing for college to studying the nature of writing, period. D Downs and E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 553.

In subjects other than English, what is the role of content in writing? We need to challenge the assumption that academic writing is "universal" and that writing can be taught independent of content. D Downs & E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 554.

What should be taught in first-year college writing courses? Suggests that the first-year writing course study writing, the nature of writing, in different situations. In other words, "writing about writing." D Downs & E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 558.

In the first-year writing course, students read about research in writing, especially problems that the students experience first hand. D Downs & E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 560.

Students conduct research on writing as part of the first-year writing course. Examples of questions: Do college freshmen and seniors use rhetorical strategies at all or in similar ways? How useful is Microsoft Word's grammar checker? What makes a classic literary work a "classic"? What makes an effective business plan? What kinds of writing will a social work major encounter in his career? Is writing taught in medical school? Should it be, and if so, how? D Downs and E Wardle. CCC (Jun. 07), 562.

What are some writing projects? Author developed an oral history project--and used other artifacts--to study the history of a local school in Brooklyn, NY. D Mutnick. CCC (Jun. 07), 626-647.

To what extent should college teachers comment on politics in courses unrelated to those issues? "As students to students," the SAF advises, "If you are not taking a course whose subject is the war in Iraq, your professor should not be making statements about the war in class. Or about George Bush, if the class is not on contemporary American Presidents, presidential administrations or some similar subject." M K Powers & C Chaput. CCC (Jun. 07), 663.

When should the subject of politics come up in college writing courses? Topics that would appear to be political in nature must be allowed to be dealt with in a writing course as students struggle with thinking through controversial issues in learning to write. MK Powers & C Chaput. CCC (Jun. 07), 677.

Should teachers read the books they assign to students? "I always assign at least one book that I haven't already read. It helps to keep me interested in what I'm doing." V Villanueva. CCC (Jun. 07), 721.

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