Re: grading ourselves to death

Darlene Sybert (engds@SHOWME.MISSOURI.EDU)
Thu, 5 Sep 1996 00:48:08 -0500

Jeffrey Galin wrote:
> > bet that students will need to be effective information processors,
> > manage large volumes of inforamation and find what they need quickly.
> > I'll bet they will still need strong communications skills, collaborative
> > work experience, and the ability to consciously transfer effective writing
> > practices from one context to another.

Eric Crump wrote:>
> ...but I don't think most writing curricula (er, my *impression* of most
> writing curricula) contribute too damn much to any of those skills.
> College, in general, doesn't. Those are characteristics you'll find in
Perhaps I don't understand what Jeffrey is saying here because I
believe that the students in my composition classes learn
most of these things and, also, learn ways to keep improving in these
areas after the class is over. Do they keep practicing? I don't know,
but it's just like being a parent or a cowboy (you can lead a horse to
water, but you can't make it drink).

1) Manage large volumes of information? they do a review of literature
for their research papers that includes 10 sources (which means they have
to work with many more sources than that); an interview and an
internet source have to be added later. It amounts to "volumes of
information" compared to what they have been working with, but what's more
important, they are required to work with it as if it were a larger
volume. Although they write a five page research page, they are required
to observe all the "niceties" that would be necessary if it were 20 pages,
like outlines, abstracts, note taking, etc.

2) Much of the work that is done in my class is collaborative. Besides
dividing into small groups to discuss the reading, students divide up the
reading for two papers they write; work together to devise thesis
statements; to gather information, to rewrite at least one draft; final
product; etc.

3) Transferring writing practices from one context to another? Yes, from
journals to abstracts to rough drafts to general interest papers to
letters to the editor to writing within their disciplines: at every
step, the same practices are required...

Did I misunderstand?

Ms. Darlene Sybert 882-3461 884-6902
English Dept - University of Missouri, Columbia
Office - Tate Hall 6/16 TuTh 12-1:30 or by appt.
Truth often suffers more by the heat of its defenders than the arguments
of its opposers. -William Penn