Date: Thu, 2 Apr 1998 18:20:36 -0500
From: Beverly Flanigan
Subject: Re: freshman composition--again

Bravo, Devon! I don't teach Fr. Comp. anymore (having switched from
English to Linguistics 20 years ago), but when I teach TESOL grad students
how to teach writing to non-native learners of English, I insist on the
very principles you follow. In fact (old-fashioned Walter Ong protegee
that I am/was), I teach them Aristotle's model in the _Rhetoric_! It still
And by the way, all members of our Linguistics faculty, junior and senior,
take turns teaching our introductory "Nature of Language" course--it's
comparable to Fr. Comp. and keeps our feet firmly on the ground.

At 09:30 PM 4/1/98 -0800, you wrote:
>Further to Peter Richardson's comments:
>As it was in the beginning, is now, and likely ever shall be, I am a
>student. I happen to write (mostly) A papers, and cringe when I see courses
>that evaluate solely by quizzes and exams. Generally, I avoid them like the
>I believe the reason many students don't write excellent papers is that they
>have never been taught an essential aspect of the process.
>I see an essay as my turn in the conversation. I have been granted the
>floor. Along with the privilege of speaking, I am charged with the
>responsibility of not wasting everyone else's time. I am expected to speak
>on topic, and not simply repeat what the previous speaker has already
>addressed. If I disagree with what has been said I am expected, first, to
>demonstrate that I understand clearly what has been said, secondly, not to
>misrepresent the previous speaker's ideas, and thirdly, to make clear my
>reasons for taking exception. I am expected to speak in a register
>appropriate to the conversation and to contribute something worthy of
>mention. Sadly, I am yet to hear any MA teaching assistant, doctoral
>candidate, PhD or tenured professor address this essay writing in these
>terms. Pity.
>Devon Coles