Monday, September 14, 2009

Topic: What Is Missing from the Writing Curriculum?

10-second review: Close reading of and writing about text and mastery of and writing about complex data.

Title: “SAT Essay Has Schools Buffing Rusted Writing Skills.” (May 26, 2005). Internet.

Comment: The statement in my 10-second review was by John Briggs, an English professor at the University of California at Riverside and a consultant to the College Board which is responsible for the 25-minute essay in the SAT. To interpret and write about difficult text or to master and write about complex data can not be completed in 25 minutes. Instead, to “pass” the 25-minute essay, teachers are teaching the formula for the 5-paragraph essay reduced to its simplest form. The 25-minute essay is a contradiction to the kind of difficult writing that Dr. Briggs says should be part of the high school and college writing curriculum.

And something else is missing from the writing curriculum. Reports in all disciplines and professions, modified to meet the requirements of each discipline. Let’s scrap description, narration, personal experience, cause and effect, classification , definition, comparison and contrast and analogy papers. They are fragmented skills that do not teach students how to construct reports in the real world. I’m not saying those skills are unimportant, but they can be learned as needed. RayS.

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