Surviving English Class in College

from CampusSplash:

What do you feel are some mistakes that most students in English courses make?
“A big mistake is that most students think about the page requirement for an essay rather than about the quality of the essay. If students write to a page limit, they end up putting a lot of filler in their essays. When students concentrate on developing their ideas, then the page requirement takes care of itself.”

This is pretty good.

I might use it with my freshman English classes.

3 thoughts on “Surviving English Class in College”

  1. I had a conversation about this very thing with a student yesterday. He was frustrated with his essay, so I asked him what he wanted to accomplish. His response? An A. I told him, with a smile, that that was a good start but he would need to use more letters if he wanted to make his point. He looked confused for a moment and then laughed. He got the message – focus on content and the grade will come.

  2. My SLAC for my graduate work didn’t have TA’s or coursework in pedagogies and theories, so when I first started teaching, I noticed that students couldnt achieve page length, and since such requirements are so low (who can’t write 3 1/2 or 5 or 7 pages??), I wondered why. Obviously if they can’t, it’s because they don’t know what to say, which is to say they don’t realize that they “already know” and have opinions. So without knowing it had a name, I began using process pedagogy and and graphic organizers and workshopping the steps all of the way through — at least with the first essay. Also, students write and submit journals weekly which helps them become more fluid. Frankly, I haven’t had an issue with page length in years. In fact, my summer school students just got their research paper assignments and asked how it was any different than the last paper because most of them had far exceeded the page length and used a couple of extra secondary sources. I said, “Good for you, but you didn’t have to. Now you do. And this time YOU choose whether to use traditional claim or Rogerian or some other format.” They just shrugged their shoulders. How cool is that response to having to write a research paper?? Nice.

  3. knittedbooties, That is incredibly cool.

    Monica, I hope I learn to think on my feet as quickly as you do.

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