Sunday, September 30, 2007

The end of composition as we know it!

The “End of Composition” has implications that composition class in general is no longer necessary. Instead, students would learn the writing skills they need directly from the specific context they will need it in. A chemistry major or a biology major would never need to know how to write a literary analysis paper; therefore, they would take chemistry writing classes instead of English writing classes. In this way, they’re learning to write with the skills they need. The problem with this is: how do students develop writing skills in all their classes, cross-majors, in order to graduate (regardless of the degree emphasis they choose)? Isn’t this what composition teaches them? They learn how to write for different genres.

The “End of Composition” can also have to do with being able to teach students how to transfer their writing skills from writing in an English class to writing in other disciplines. Based on the “Transfer” article we read, we, as teachers, need to teach students how to transfer skills they learn in a composition class to other more practical areas. It’s strange to think about, but basically it would mean that we no longer teach them how to write for the “composition” genres. Instead, it would be teaching them skills for other contexts and how to use those skills when they’re writing for that context (i.e. a chemistry lab report, or a history analysis paper, or a business memo, etc). Sadly, even if students are able to grasp an ability to write correctly for the style in an English class, they are often not able to apply those skills in other contexts or genres.

The skill we need to teach students for this “transfer” is somehow helping them see the similarities between what they’ve already been taught and what they will need to do in future writings. In theory, this sounds nice, but I’m not exactly sure what this looks like in practical terms. Isn’t this what 1302 is supposed to do here at Tech?

1 comment:

Becky/Rebecca said...

That's the ticket, isn't it? What does transfer "look" like? I think 1301/2 is supposed to do that, but HOW? Can you think of some specific instances? If not, how might YOU design a syllabus/assignment that would include the idea of "transfer"?