Friday, January 23, 2009

College Topic: Personal vs. Academic Writing

10-second review: In teaching writing an issue has developed between personal essay writing and academic [five-paragraph essay?] writing.

Title: “Writing from the Moon.” J Harris, Editor of College Composition and Communication (May 1994), 161-163. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary: An "either" (personal essay writing)/ "or" academic writing (the model of the five-paragraph essay?) issue in teaching college writing. “Indeed the whole argument over whether we should teach personal essays or academic discourse strikes me as misleading and debilitating—since the opposition between the two tends quickly to devolve into a standoff…and thus turns both into something that most students I have met have shown little interest in either reading or writing. I agree with them. I think we need to stop taking sides on this opposition and to try to move beyond it instead.” p. 162-163.

Comment: Most expository writing –introduction, thesis, middle paragraphs with and without topic sentences and final, summarizing paragraph—contains personal experience in support of the writer’s points. End of dichotomy. Why will educators continue to look for either/or issues? To provide publishable articles? RayS.

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