Rethinking College Writing Instruction


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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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. […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Michael Laser: ignoring awkward writing is a great mistake

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

Read more

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 […]

Read more

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 […]

Read more

Letter from a teacher in Singapore

Dear John, I’m a high school English teacher from Singapore. I read your post about using concrete nouns in writing in The Atlantic. It sounds like a great idea, but I’m a bit at a loss as to how to actually teach students to do that. Could you give some […]

Read more

“I don’t have any good ideas.”

Instructors often hear this question. Which is more important, the ideas or the words? Or sometimes, Which comes first, the ideas or the words? How do you answer that question? The conventional idea is that you get some good ideas, and then you write them down in good clear language. […]

Read more
Page 4 of 6« First...23456
John G. Maguire
307 Market Street, #306
Lowell MA 01852