Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Topic: Composition Assignments and Social Issues

10-second review: Why not make social issues the source of composition assignments?

Title: “Researching the Minimum Wage: A Moral Economy for the classroom.” V Neverow-Turk. College Composition and Communication (December 1991), 477-483. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Quote: “…thanking me for having encouraged him to think about social problems he had previously dismissed without investigating their origins and their implications. If the ability to analyze a problem, to plan and execute a project, to think critically about complex issues, and to gather evidence to support an argument or demonstrate a point is part of what we want to teach in composition classes, then this type of assignment offers a model for engaging students in a process of inquiry….”

Comment: Just so long as instructors remain objective and do not try to proselytize or to penalize when students disagree with their point of view. I read an article by one college writing instructor who made it very clear that if students disagreed with her point of view about women’s issues, she would read the compositions more closely than those written by students who agreed with her point of view. That approach to grading, in my opinion, is harassment. RayS.

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