Sunday, March 20, 2011

Shorter Writing

FLG is all in favor of clarity and brevity in writing, but this goes too far:
My ideal composition class would include assignments like “Write coherent and original comments for five YouTube videos, quickly telling us why surprised kittens or unconventional wedding dances resonate with millions,” and “Write Amazon reviews, including a bit of summary, insight and analysis, for three canonical works we read this semester (points off for gratuitous modern argot and emoticons).”

Also, FLG learned to write five paragraph essays in 8th or 9th grade at the latest. So, it worries him that this professor is teaching that to college freshman. FLG sure hopes the professor means refining the execution of students' five paragraph essays rather than introducing the format.

3 comments:

Galatea said...

Very often in my school professors were under the mistaken assumption that their students had never written a five-paragraph essay before, when the truth is the 5p beasts they have been writing since the 8th grade were just unutterably terrible. I blame rigid adherence to Schaffer format for years and years longer than necessary. As late as junior year of high school lazy kids could squeak by if only they spat out something within the formula.

Also, pithy comments under two sentences should be mastered during class time for the general amusement and recognition of your peers, not assigned for homework.

The Ghost of Dorothy Parker said...

Brevity is more than the soul of lingerie

Flavia said...

I sometimes get essays from freshmen (or, more appallingly, from upperclassmen) with INCREDIBLY LONG paragraphs. Invariably, when I bother to count, there are exactly five of them.

I always have to sit them down and explain that the lesson they should have learned from writing 5-paragraph essays in H.S. is how to paragraph: each idea gets one!

I sure as shit don't teach them that form in college.

 
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