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ERIC Number: ED192829
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980
Pages: 16
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
A Practical Guide to Freshman Composition Texts.
Wood, William H.
An examination of current textbooks for freshman English composition courses reveals that authors, editors, and publishers continue to perpetuate outmoded techniques which frustrate, rather than enhance, student writing ability. Most notable of these techniques is the unnecessary emphasis placed on complicated rules of grammar. Such an emphasis assumes a mastery of rhetorical terminology on the part of today's television-oriented student and promotes the fallacy that students will learn through the discussion of writing rather than through actual writing experience. Other questionable features of these texts include the utilization of meaningless study questions and fill-in-the-blank exercises; the overuse of jargon, such as the euphemism "prewriting" for "outlining"; the inclusion of filler, such as tips on how to buy paper; and the tendency of authors to indulge in philosophical ruminations on irrelevant topics. While some students will try to write and read in spite of these texts, others will be made to feel that writing is a massive undertaking for specialists. Such discouragement may lead some students to abandon English studies, writing, and perhaps even college. Texts should be developed which approach writing as though it existed outside the classroom by, for example, asking students to write about events in their lives, providing realistic writing models, and de-emphasizing grammar rules. (JP)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A