Friday, April 6, 2007

Is It Just a Matter of Teaching Variety?

My response to TW seemed too long for a comment. To my last post (regarding the possibility that the 110 syllabus encourages "poetic writing"), TW comments:

While this might cause some confusion regarding expectations--that's a big part of learning to write. So in a way, by providing them assignments with very different purposes, audiences, and/or expectations you are preparing them for real-life academic writing experiences where one professor might assign--oh, I don't know--a blog writing assignment and then a book review. They need to understandt that what is acceptable in one context is not necessarily going to fly in another.


Certainly--the assignments in English 110 are apparently designed to prepare students to have to write completely different kinds of papers--textual analysis vs. position paper vs. research paper--making sure the students can see the different purposes of the assignments. Despite different purposes, those are all academic (transactional) writing--and although blogging is less formal (more expressive), it doesn't usually go towards the literary (poetic).

My assumption was that "poetic" writing is generally reserved for creative writing classes--not exactly what 110 is designed to prepare students for. So I want to teach my students different modes, but I wonder if those should be mostly of the transactional sort. I should admit, however, that I recall doing four creative writing projects in my college career, and I didn't take any creative writing classes (Feminist Theory, Global Futures, Prose Fiction, and Senior Seminar). We don't see much creative writing in the writing center, either, but I think that has partly to do with students being less comfortable getting help on "creative" assignments.

It seemed to me, at least when I wrote the last post, that the memoir is easy to teach in such a way that makes it a different kind of writing than anything else they'll have to do--variety is good and all, but I don't teach my students how to write sermons or screenplays because my job is to prepare them for "academic writing." I do think, however, that the memoir can be taught as a more "transactional" piece, but that it may take some effort to do so. I guess I'm still not sure how important that effort might be.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think you make a good point about not teaching sermons or screenplays--they have classes specifically for that, just as they have classes specifically for creative writing.

P.S. Thanks for posting me "[sic]"--I'll try to watch the typoeas from now on. :)

Amy said...

Ha! I can edit it to fix the typos if you want...

Anonymous said...

That's okay. I don't think it will permanently damage my literary reputation (or lack thereof).

Gabe Isackson said...

Messin' with the "T-dogg" :)
I enjoy the pictures too much to notice any mistakes.
I admit I find it difficult to incorporate creative writing in the required curriculum. It has a place, but not a great deal of emphasis in the academic curriculum.