ERIC Number: ED345300
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Undergraduate Writing Programs in the 90's: Facing the Realities.
In recent years there has been a growth in demand for undergraduate creative writing courses, but it is striking how unprepared students are for such courses. Many undergraduates are simply and naively "into self-expression" as if it required no prerequisites and nothing more than getting it onto the schedule at registration. Unfortunately the workshop method is almost always employed in the undergraduate classroom for these courses, in which students are required to submit for commentary texts which they have not been prepared to produce. The current cultural climate of America produces increasingly poverty-laden students in terms of writing teachers' imagined, necessary prerequisites, and students have been so exposed to the nation of creative expression as a "value" that they are surprised to find that it requires preparation and learning. Creative writing is, in fact, immeasurably harder than they think because the demands of form upon the shape of language and its "codes" of meaning is immersely intricate. toward intellectual passivity which society rewards, but which remains antithetical to the creative writer's true aim. A creative writing class which does not employ the workshop approach is described; it includes the following aspects: (1) a 2-hour formal lecture about short story form, which provides the basis of all that will follow; (2) weekly reading assignments of stories from an assigned text; (3) weekly writing assignments of formal essays concerning the stories read; (4) in-class discussions of the readings; (5) in-class exercises on various elements of stories, including group work for class presentations; and (6) at the end of the quarter, a reading by each student of one story from a collection of student-written stories, each student choosing the one she thinks is the best and stating the reasons for her choice. As a result of this highly directive and aggressive teaching approach student writing has greatly improved. The students also read well, speak with assurance about literacy form, and look forward eagerly to the next class in the writing sequence. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing Contexts; Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).