A radical rethinking of the teaching of writing

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To CCCC attendees

If you teach writing, you know frustration intimately and probably can identify with this email I just got from Karen D.: “I’ve been banging my head against the wall trying to teach students to write for several years now. A friend sent me an article referencing your CWG. I’m intrigued. […]

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Endorsement from Instructor Kim Holcolm at Ohio U.

Hi John, I’m happy to explain how we used your book in my four sections of freshman writing last year. Your idea that students need to learn how to write good sentences before they can write essays struck me as game-changing, and I immediately ordered The College Writing Guide. When […]

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Teaching writing vs. learning ballet

I had a cup of coffee and an hour’s conversation with an artistic friend, Leslie M., in Andover, Massachusetts yesterday. Leslie has been the head of the Andover Cultural  Council for a number of years. I figure her to be much more a diplomat than I am, so I asked […]

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15 wasted weeks

“Information does not translate directly into knowledge. It must first be processed, accessed, absorbed, comprehended, integrated and retained.” –Robert B. Cialdini:  Influence,Science and Practice, p 237. If you are a teacher you know that. You know that telling students about active verbs will not change their writing. In the ongoing […]

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Is this a business or a movement?

The lady from the entrepreneurship group was on the phone yesterday and she asked, “Have you shown your book to the English departments?” “No,” I said, “they’re not interested. The department heads are resigned to the idea that today’s kids are semi-literate and nothing much can be done about that. […]

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Should I rewrite my entire comp course?

The CWG gives you material with which you can create a brand new course, and several teachers have done that, but you don’t have to go all the way. It may work simply to graft stepped instruction in style techniques onto your current course. There might be several ways to […]

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A Conscious Decision Not to Teach Style

[Here’s a note from an anonymous liberal arts professor. Does it strike you as true that the “composition profession” has decided to be uninterested in the quality of student prose? Be the first to comment!] Actually, I’m involved in a research project on the way we teach college writing. In […]

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Michael Laser: ignoring awkward writing is a great mistake

Novelist teaches freshman writing, is shocked by students’ inability to construct basic sentences

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Gradual shifts in a teacher’s point of view

I don’t remember just how these shifts in my beliefs happened, but they arrived at different points in the first few years of testing this method. I came to believe certain ideas because I saw them validated in the work of students in the course. o All students have something […]

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Response to teacher Tammy Tilley

Tammy Tilley asked: You outline the number of weeks for students to work on their skills, but how many minutes per lesson should I expect each lesson to take? I teach one evening per week for 4 hours, for a total of 14 weeks. I am trying to determine a […]

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John G. Maguire
Chelmsford MA
maguirejohn@comcast.net
978-761-4515