Maybe we could . . . with time. But we are increasingly required to
teach writing as if, as many have said, performing triage in an
over-crowded emergency room. With time we could assist students with the
transition from high school discourse to college discourse, from writing
in response to an assignment, persuming that that is what's done in most
high schools, to writing as a mode of inquiry common to a university.
Instead, we can only, I feel, touch on the important aspects of college
writing over a semester (14-15 weeks) or two terms (20 weeks), hoping that
they sink in to bubble up later when our students have to write in
However, what I had forgotten until just this morning is that triage is
not only deciding who to treat and in what order, it is also deciding who
dies. We, of course, don't consciously pick out students to "die," but
the constraints on our time mean that some don't make it and that some
go on without having gained sufficient control over college discourse.