We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
was prompted by a survey of freshman composition courses a few years back. Fish read lesson plans for 104 sections at his university and found that "only four emphasized training in the craft of writing. Although the other 100 sections fulfilled the composition requirement, instruction in composition was not their focus. Instead, the students spent much of their time discussing novels, movies, TV shows and essays on a variety of hot-button issues --- racism, sexism, immigration, globalization. These artifacts and topics are surely worthy of serious study, but they should have received it in courses that bore their name, if only as a matter of truth-in-advertising." Writing courses taught by writing instructors should focus on writing, period. People should teach subjects in which they have some expertise (what do English graduate students know about globalization?), and materials brought into the course should not obscure stated aims (how does teaching about racism help students write better sentences?). This is to insist upon boundaries between disciplines---another no-no in current thinking---and to divide people into experts and dilettantes. It is also to endorse the goals of general education and examine how well a college curriculum delivers them. Hence the discussion of a new report by ACTA.
Letting students decide what easy stuff they should learn and what hard stuff they should just ignore is an abdication of responsibility on the part of the instructors and the school. How can the students evaluate "hot button" issues if they have no knowledge and background against which to compare and evaluate them?
No wonder there are so many graduates who have no real education, and, sadly, don't even know how much they don't know.
"Reading maketh a full man; conference maketh a ready man; writing maketh an exact man" Sir Francis Bacon "Of Studies"
Assistant Village Idiot
We should go the British way. College takes three years and you only study your major. Get rid of all the distribution requirements. These waste student's time, cost students money, and provide employment for vast numbers of liberal professors who should get a reall job anyway.
Liberal successfully took over the education system, and they both pay themselves a lot of money (which the poor students have to borrow), they also progagandize students. The heart of this scam, at the university level, is the distribution requirement.
Fish is hypocritical. His work on deconstructing texts, led to not finding any substantive meaning within a text; tha tthe reader constructed his/her own meaning. That is, Fish made writing essentially meaningless other than a Rorshach of the reader.
Now, he wants schools to teach writing as a meaningful activity.
Hah. He reaps what he sowed.
This is one of the things that really bugs me. I occasionally teach Intro Am Govt, which is mostly freshmen but open to all undergrads. It is a requirement for some education majors.
I would say about 1/8 of each of these classes has writing skills that are more than adequate. Probably 1/3 are [generously] adequate. The rest go from not so good to terrible.
Essentially only that 1/8 have been taught the basics of writing in K-12. The rest have pretty much no clue about spelling, grammar, usage, paragraphs, organization, or anything else.
It should not be the job of universities to teach those skills. But if that's what you get coming in, what are the chances that the composition classes will do anything useful at all?
Much of the blame can be laid on colleges of education within too many universities. It is all but impossible to fail out of those colleges, their students typically have significantly [in the stats sense as well as merely numerical] lower ACT/SAT scores compared to the other students, and their college GPAs are generally higher than in other majors.
I have had ed majors with GPAs of around 3.5 [B+/A-] who can barely write a coherent sentence. It's pathetic.
The education bubble will probably burst soon. Probably a good thing in the long run.