A radical rethinking of the teaching of writing

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The grammar of vividness

I don’t have research to prove it, but I’d bet that many English teachers do not understand how vividness of imagery promotes intellectual clarity. Vivid writing is sensual writing—the kind that gives you an orange on a blue plate in Sunday morning sunshine. I think most teachers believe vivid images […]

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Atlantic Monthly piece on writing concretely

Here’s my introduction in the Atlantic to the whys and wherefores of teaching students to write concretely.  Read the whole thing for the detailed argument. The short summary is this, however. Abstract ideas are always related to objects fundamentally. You can understand this just by thinking about it, but brain […]

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You can buy John Maguire’s College Writing Guide here

“I can’t see why any writing instructor in America would use any other Freshman Comp textbook,” says Daniel  Smith, NY Times best-selling author of Monkey Mind, and writing professor at the College of New Rochelle.  Susan Layer-Whelan, instructor at the College of Southern Maryland, says, “I used your guide the […]

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A radical rethinking of the teaching of writing

Because I was late to class one day, I had to improvise, and that set me on a different course as a writing teacher. It’s all described in Teaching College Students to Write.

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What if we assumed that freshmen know nothing about writing?

If we assumed freshmen know nothing about writing, we would teach them exactly what we want them to be able to do, and nothing more than that. One speech teacher has her students start by standing in front of a class reading something aloud for one minute. The point: they […]

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John G. Maguire
307 Market Street, #306
Lowell MA 01852
maguirejohn@comcast.net
978-761-4515