Re: More snapshots stuff-reply

Kenneth Robert Wright (kright@OREGON.UOREGON.EDU)
Sat, 20 Jan 1996 09:20:17 -0800

On Sat, 20 Jan 1996, Claudine Keenan wrote:
> Perhaps the weirdest aspect of all of this is that we expect students going
> out of high school to have metamorphasized over the course of what is
> usually the last summer of leisure in their _lives_, into "serious students"
> who are ready to apply the skills they have learned to more rigorous tasks,
> without much of a transition. For those of us who teach composition, who
> daily emphasize the importance of transition in writing sentences and
> paragraphs, it is ironic that we cannot provide our students with practice
> in what we preach for transition within their own lives.

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
another class.

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.

Ken Wright