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ERIC Number: ED374469
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Jul-15
Pages: 10
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Different Exemplum: Those Whom Good Teaching Fails.
Seitz, James E.
There is something unfortunate occurring in the discourse of writing instruction--something that requires scholars to present themselves as teachers who have found the answer and have students to prove it. Typically, the paper written by the composition scholar stakes a claim about the teaching of writing; compares that claim with others of related concern; and then substantiates the claim with examples of student work. The problem is that "student work" refers to a few examples from the best students in the class; the significant minority for whom the promoted method did not work are ignored. A more productive approach might use examples from student writing to interrogate the scholar's claims rather than to shore them up defensively. Instead of congratulating themselves by appropriating the prose of their best students, scholars need to look much more carefully at the work of those students their methods have failed--or, at the very least, those whose success is less certain. Take one example: out of 22 students taking a course in basic writing, about half earned a B- or better; about 27% of the class, however, seemed to pass through the semester in limbo. Though they seemed to have positive attitudes, they never illustrated anything resembling discernible improvement. The approach to writing instruction employed in this class--one that acclimates students to academic expectations by requiring them to write a range of discourses--did little to help this group of students. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A