Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Artificiality of Freshman Composition

Note: The National Council of Teachers of English was founded in 1911. The organization is celebrating its centennial. As part of this celebration, College English is publishing excerpts from its predecessor, the college edition of The English Journal. The excerpts are timely, a bit wordy and take their time to get to the point. However, I believe my readers will find them of interest. RayS.

Earl L. Vance, “Integrating Freshman Composition,” Vol. 26 (April 1937), 318-323.

Quote: “A common criticism of the Freshman composition course is that, however admirable on the side of technique, it somehow does not tie up with the student’s total educational progress. Granted that it serves very well its special purposes in teaching the student to write acceptable ‘themes,’ with reasonably correct sentences and coherent paragraphs, still it often does not function effectively in improving his writing other than themes. He is taught what George Pierce Baker called ‘traveler’s English’—English to be used for his immediate needs in the course and then forgotten.” (318-319).

Comment: Not to mention the need to write in other disciplines. RayS.

Title: “College English’s Precursor: Excerpts from the College Edition of The English Journal.” College English (November 2011), 157-191.

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