ERIC Number: ED197377
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Nov
Freshman Composition: An Apology for Service Courses.
There are three standard complaints given by teachers of freshman composition: (1) college freshman students are inferior to English majors and graduate students, or inferior to freshmen from when the teachers were in college; (2) the subject matter of a writing course is inferior to that of literature courses; and (3) those who teach composition do so because they do not excel in literary research. There has been little evidence, however, to prove that students are writing more poorly than comparable students wrote 20 or 40 years ago. Teachers can hardly assert this decline until the question of a definition of ability to write at the college level is resolved. As to the second complaint, the subject matter of composition is language--students' effective use of language, not grammar or literature. Finally, the rhetorical tradition is 2,500 years old. Works by both historical and contemporary scholars have contributed much understanding of how people learn to write and why they do not. As long as faculty members believe that teaching composition is demeaning, they will continue to lose sight of their objectives and suffer a loss of professional prestige. The respect the profession deserves can be restored by changing these attitudes and by remembering that the use of language is the foundation of all learning. (HTH)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (50th, Atlanta, GA, November 6-8, 1980).