Ricki’s selection of essays from Bad Ideas About Writing focused on writing teachers and, well, the bad ideas that people have about them and about the field of writing studies in general. The first essay, “You’re Going to Need This for College,” as well as the last essay, “Anyone Can Teach Writing” mesh well together and call to mind some of our previous discussions. These essays speak about the problems with the English curriculum in both high school and college. “You’re Going to Need This for College” discusses issues with the high school English curriculum and how it often places a great emphasis on continued college education instead of focusing on the here and now, helping students to learn how to write well whether or not they intend to continue on to college. This essay also tied in with “Secondary School English Teachers Should Only be Taught Literature” which expands on another problem in high school English courses: the teachers are taught how to teach literature to students, but not to teach students how to write. This is not a problem with the teachers themselves but with the education system. “Anyone Can Teach Writing” helps to talk about the reflection of these problems in colleges: adjuncts, who often have little training in teaching writing, are paid and treated poorly and made to teach introductory college writing courses. If students are not being taught how to write by people who are trained to teach them such things, in both high school and college, then it’s no wonder that college professors complain about students writing capabilities.
“Dual-Enrollment Writing Courses Should Always be Pursued” was interesting to me for its emphasis on the differences between a high school English class versus a college-level one. This should be required reading for any (college professor!) theorist who is going to posit solutions for high-school-level English classes without actually teaching any. The things that work well in college-level courses often cannot even be implemented in high-school-level courses because of the curriculum and the constraints of the modern education system.
The two articles that I found most interesting (given our current global situation) also go hand-in-hand with each other: “Face-to-Face Courses are Superior to Online Courses” and “Anyone Can Teach an Online Writing Course.” In the wake of the pandemic, most if not all of us in the class experienced either taking or teaching (or both!) online classes. The problem with these courses is that we were unprepared and that we didn’t make the decision ourselves. I agree with the idea in “Face-to-Face…” that online writing courses can be just as effective as in-person ones. I still learned a great deal in my online courses during the pandemic. The problem comes, though, with difficulties paying attention and with professors being unsure how to teach an online course because they weren’t given training for it. I didn’t choose to take online courses, so I had problems paying full attention during them. My professors didn’t choose to teach online courses, so many of them didn’t have the skills talked about in “Face-to-Face….” And, as “Anyone Can Teach…” tells us, teaching online (writing courses in this essay, but honestly any course at all) requires special training and education. Being forced to take and teach online courses out of necessity was surely a burden to us all, even though I agree that online courses can be enriching, fulfilling, and the best option for some students.
Thoughts on Our Group Project Final
I’m excited to begin working with everyone on our final! We came up with a lot of good ideas in our last class, and I think our overall discussion about what’s important to us and what we want to focus on was fruitful. I love our remix idea, and whether we decide to go with that OR decide to pursue a different path, I have no doubt that we’re going to make something exciting. I hope that everyone is able to express their interests and thoughts in our final, and that we ultimately can make something everyone enjoys working on and is proud of.