ERIC Number: ED177564
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1979-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Paradoxes of Freedom: A Thematic Approach to Teaching a Compulsory Composition Course to a Multi-Ethnic Student Population.
Lynch, Daniel J.
A composition teacher at a New York City community college where cooperative education is stressed found that focusing the writing of his multiethnic students on the theme of freedom helped them look at their lives differently, revealing the contradictions involved in their beliefs, ideals, and prejudices. The course began with a discussion of freedom in classroom situations, noting the restrictions that the students readily accepted in exchange for education. This discussion led to an argument essay on the compatibility of freedom and disciplined studies. The next essay was on cause and effect, following a reading of B.F. Skinner's "Walden Two" and class discussion of the events that led to the students enrolling in college. After reading W.E.B. DeBois' comments on work as satisfaction, the students wrote essays in which they defined a job they considered desirable and explained why they would find it satisfying. Then the teacher assigned readings from "The Essentials of Zen Buddhism" by D.T. Suzuki, leading to a comparison essay in which the students contrasted their visions of the future with Buddhist views. The end results were students responding to new concepts and perspectives with written works that had substance, immediacy, and vigor. (RL)
Publication Type: Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the College English Association (Savannah, Georgia, March 22-24, 1979)