The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“Diversity, Ideology, and Teaching Writing” Precis September 30, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 5:05 am
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Maxine Hairston

Too many freshmen English composition classes are being founded on forwarding the professor’s own political agenda.  It is appalling and discouraging to see this regression of everything that we have gained for the study of composition over the last decade or so.  

Several theories have become less popular in the higher echelons of the university, such as deconstructionism, post-structuralism and Marxism.  These, however, have trickled down to stay with the required general English composition classes that all studies must take.  Teachers (though not all) enforce these ideas on their students, blatantly outlining their political leanings so that students know them straight off and can either agree or disagree.  This fails to encourage students’ personal writings though, in that they tend to be especially shy at offering up individual opinions, preferring to collaborate what the teacher said and making the grade.

Our classes should not run this way!  Instead, we as teachers should be focusing more on our students and the multi-culturalist perspectives they are bringing with them to class.  We should be encouraging them to write expressive narratives and essays that allow them to explore what they already know and feel and what they can learn through the process of fleshing this out.  Also, we should advocate prompts that allow students to explore individual and communal experiences and then have the opportunity to hear from their peers, in order to gain a broader perspective of the culture that surrounds them.  In now way should they be made to examine and expound on a political position that they are not interested in or uncomfortable with!

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