ERIC Number: ED199727
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1981-Mar
A Critique of Readers as Models for Composition.
The operative principle behind the use of essays as models for composition is that if students study and imitate the wide variety of rhetorical forms in an essay collection they will write well-organized and fluent papers. Unfortunately, when students are asked to copy forms the result is a clearly organized paper that says very little and has taught them less. Learning to write a paper is not a matter of learning mechanical rules, but of learning to think analytically. The student who can write an evocative description of a personal experience will go on to write a poorly organized academic paper, but personal experience writing can teach analytical thinking and the relationship between analyzing specific data and writing an organized paper. As students discover this process, they will soon recognize that notes, drafts, and revisions are a necessary part of the writing process and understand that thesis, topic sentence, and supportive evidence are not a prescriptive imposition, but the logical result of careful analytical thinking. At this point, students are ready to read the model essays, not as examples of how to write, but of how to read before they write in other courses, to progress from analysis of personal experience to analysis of readings. College composition should be a course in critical reading and writing, skills essential to every other academic discipline. (HTH)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (32nd, Dallas, TX, March 26-28, 1981).