ERIC Number: ED345286
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
The Case against Using Literature in Freshman Composition.
To determine whether imaginative literature should be used in freshman composition courses, teachers must first determine what the purpose of a first-year writing course is. Historically, reading and writing about literature entered the curriculum when faculty became concerned with establishing English departments. Prior to this, instruction in composition equipped students to be successful in the academy and in public life by engaging political questions and moral issues. Today, as the only remaining required course at most colleges, freshmen composition should offer guided practice in reading and writing the discourses of the academy and the professions. Such courses have as their subject matter the processes whereby writers and readers enter the conversation of the academy and contribute to the making of knowledge. In addition, there are five reasons why using literature in freshmen English is inappropriate: (1) literature-based courses focus on consuming texts, not producing them; (2) the curriculum already has humanistic content; (3) studying literature does not teach style; (4) students do not need to study literature to apply the new insights of critical theorists; and (5) teaching literature does not enrich the training programs of graduate students. There is, in fact, a certain schizophrenia in the profession currently about what writing courses should be. Writing instructors must become comfortable with constructing student-centered classrooms in which students are encouraged to join the conversations that a good education enables. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Theory; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).