Thursday, November 1, 2007

Professional Journals on Writing 04

What are some criticisms of writing in education? Laments a company official in a recent study on education in industry by the Conference Board in New York: “We’re doing what the educators ought to be doing. College graduates can’t write reports; high school graduates can’t read, spell or write…and they all have poor vocabularies. Twelve years is a long time to spend in school and not come away with the basics.” U.S. News and World Report (Jul. 16, 79), 70. Robt. Craig of the American Society for Training and Development: Engineers and managers need to be taught how to write and speak and how to hold meetings. U.S. News and World Report (Jul. 16, 79), 70.

How consistently and accurately do teachers correct students’ papers? Author inherited a collection of papers corrected by different teachers. These corrections showed arbitrary correction of punctuation, involved grammatical mistakes in the teachers’ corrections, unnecessary and stilted rewriting of the student’s expression and revelation of the teachers’ biases in response to student’s thoughts. G Sloan. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 77), 370-373.

What are the characteristics of good and poor writing? Judgments of quality in writing. Identifies sophistication in handling modifiers, particularly final, free modifiers [RayS: which I call “afterthoughts”] as a feature associated with judgments of quality; negatively, the frequent use of modal auxiliaries [“would,” “should,” “could,” “might”] and of “be” and “have” as auxiliaries and a limited range of verbs (possibly signifying a limited vocabulary) as features associated negatively with judgments of quality. EW Nold in RL Larson. College Composition and Communication (May 79), 208.

What are some interesting writing assignments? Students write and illustrate a “How To….” on some topic about which they have knowledge and then on a topic about which they have little knowledge. J Savory. College Composition and Communication (May 78), 197-198. Students engage in an oral history project. LS Ede. CCC (Dec. 77), 380-382. Have students research and try to resolve a community problem. JM Palmer. Teaching English in the Two-Year College (Sept. 04), 106-112. Students take photographs and then write about them. JK Ligerman. College Composition and Communication (May 77), 174-178. Try to engage students in real writing assignments for real audiences with real outcomes. K Lindblom. English Journal (Sept. 04), 104-108.

What are some suggestions for effective conferences with student writers? Try to get students to identify problems with their writing. Isolate the most serious problem. Teacher and student agree to work on the problem together. Articulate clearly what the students must do to resolve the problem. R Arbur. College Composition and Communication (Dec. 77), 338-342.

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