A RhetNet SnapShot Reply:


Fred Kemp

My 'rant' was directed against what I see is a great and continuing divide between what writing 'is' and what writing is taught "as." When I complained that writing teachers don't write, I didn't mean for publication so much as simply write for writing: that is, write to be read by somebody other than some poor student reading red ink in the margins.

People who write to be read for real purposes have a much different idea of writing than those functionaries who have passed down stone tablets inscribed with what writing "is" according to generations of incestuously written text books.

I still stand by my casually tossed off "90%" figure; what we who read Rhetnet see going on around us in our colleagues' composition classrooms is progressively lightyears ahead of what is passing for writing instruction in the vast majority of high school, community college, and college composition classes. For every Mike Benedict or Claudine Keenan there are legions of stern defenders of writing formulas who read student texts as if sniffing out rot in the hamburger.

They not only can't recognize effective writing when they encounter it, they rate verbal dexterity as a taint in the bloodless, seamless perfection of abstractions they live and teach by. Writing can only be taught effectively by people who WRITE to be read and enjoyed, and thank heavens the Internet is making a mass writership and readership possible.


[ Next reply | RhetNet Home | RhetNet SnapShots | Kemp: The Main Problem | Net/Text: The Main Problem ]