Phi Beta Cons

Teaching Students How to Write

Many students go through their K-12 years without much solid, diligent instruction on writing. The old-fashioned teachers who went through cartons of red pens every year, making comments on student essays and paper have been replaced by younger teachers who for the most part are not very good at writing themselves and willingly take the path of least resistance: Just tell the kids that they’re doing fine. Besides, all those fussy rules about grammar, punctuation, organization — they just oppress kids and stifle their creativity! So say educational “progressives” anyway.

Therefore, when students get into college, few write competently. That has given rise to efforts to improve the writing instruction they get in college. Writing Across the Curriculum is such an effort. Much ink has been devoted to it, but does it accomplish its objectives? My Pope Center colleague David Koon takes a critical look in a piece released today.

George Leef — George Leef is the director of research for the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy.

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