ERIC Number: EJ788580
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Tyranny of the Thesis Statement
Duxbury, Alec R.
English Journal, v97 n4 p16-18 Mar 2008
Time and opportunity to discover truths are essential in education. Discovery takes repetition and trial and error. Discovery crosses intellectual and disciplinary boundaries as well. What is learned through the diverse experiences of one's academic and individual lives will pollinate each other if there is room left for discovery. The tyranny of the thesis statement in schools is so complete that many students are afraid to write what they know and to explore the ways in which they might examine cause and effect from a starting point in the knowledge they already have. The fear felt by students in reference to writing for school has its source in the punitive and coercive nature of the instruction they receive. Writing is graded and students quickly learn that taking risks does not translate into a high cumulative grade point average. In this article, the author contends that until writing is separated from punishment in schools, until writing is allowed to become a tool that students use to explore a rhetorical context, and until teachers understand that only one writing standard really matters--"everybody writes and everybody publishes"--their students will continue to produce the meaningless, valueless writing that fills their inboxes today. Students will continue to see writing not as opportunity, but as danger.
Descriptors: Writing Instruction, Student Attitudes, Academic Discourse, Writing Processes, Educational Principles, Teaching Methods, Educational Objectives, Writing Apprehension, Grading, Discovery Processes, High School Students, Writing Teachers, Classroom Environment, Rhetoric, Essays, Writing Attitudes
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site: http://www.ncte.org/journals
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; High Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A