The purpose of this blog is to summarize articles on teaching English/language arts, from kindergarten through college, published in English education journals from the past.
Topic: Speech and Writing
Title: “An Ongian Perspective on the History of Literacy; Psychological Context and Today’s College Student Writer.” Joseph Comprone. Rhetoric Review 4 (1986): 138-148. Reviewed in College Composition and Communication (October 1987), 327. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English.
Summary: Believes that today’s college students are caught between the influence of an oral culture and the required conciseness of writing, “…between the pressure to expand writing…and pressure to be original and to be plain and readable.”
Comment: Students today are influenced by the oral culture. Look at a student’s unedited writing and you will find redundancy and verbosity.
I discovered a method for helping students develop the concise expression needed for acceptable informal and even formal writing: ten minutes a day.
For ten minutes at the beginning of class, students write on a topic of their choice as well as they can.
That night I correct—literally—their redundancies and verbosity and grammatical mistakes and punctuation mistakes and usage mistakes and awkward and confusing expression by rewriting the problem expression in formal English.
Takes time? Yes, but the sample of writing is short, completed in only ten minutes in class—students stop writing at the end of ten minutes, in mid-sentence if they choose. Students compare what they wrote with my changes.
The results? Sometimes in a matter of days, students’ writing tightens and in almost every case, students eventually produce mistake-free writing. The students praise the approach by saying that it gives them confidence in their writing.
If you want more information on the technique, send questions to me. RayS.