Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Topic: What's Wrong with the Personal Essay?

10-second review: Doesn’t prepare students for the types of writing they will meet in other disciplines and in the real world.

Title: Review of What Makes Writing Good: A Multiperspective by WE Coles, Jr. and J Vopat. Lexington, MA: DC Heath and Company, 1985 (360 pages). Reviewed by P Bizzell and B Herzberg. College Composition and Communication (May 1986), 244-247. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: “One could argue, then, that concentrating on the personal essay is pernicious because it does not prepare students to write in the variety of situations they will encounter elsewhere within and beyond school.”

Comment: Sounds like a good research paper for a class. Students interview teachers of all disciplines and learn what types of writing are required in each discipline. Expand that to people in professions in the real world. Then structure writing assignments on a variety of types of writing. Hmmmm! Why didn’t I think of that when I was teaching? RayS.

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