Tuesday, September 8, 2009
In yesterday's Opinion section of the NYT, several leading educators were asked to offer advice to college freshmen who are beginning classes around the country this week. Professor Stanley Fish, who we'd just previously blogged about, has this to say about the critical need for students to learn the craft of writing:
I would advise students to take a composition course even if they have tested out of it. I have taught many students whose SAT scores exempted them from the writing requirement, but a disheartening number of them couldn’t write and an equal number had never been asked to. They managed to get through high-school without learning how to write a clean English sentence, and if you can’t do that you can’t do anything.
I give this advice with some trepidation because too many writing courses today teach everything but the craft of writing and are instead the vehicles of the instructor’s social and political obsessions. In the face of what I consider a dereliction of pedagogical duty, I can say only, “Buyer beware.” If your writing instructor isn’t teaching writing, get out of that class and find someone who is.
If nothing else, the man is not bashful about expressing his opinions.
I am the scholarship dude.