Reading & Literacy

Why Can’t Students Write?

By Anthony Rebora — May 26, 2010 1 min read

A college teacher, citing some pretty ugly statistics, wonders why so many students come to college not knowing the fundamentals of decent writing, and suggests we need to rethink “the way writing is taught in high school -- and, perhaps, the way teachers are compensated.”

A respondent—also a college teacher—argues that part of the problem stems from English teachers’ schoolmarmish inclination to mark up and fix everything that’s wrong in a student’s paper:

Effective teachers of writing identify a small number of patterns of error -- perhaps three per writing project -- and then teach students how to correct these errors themselves.

And then there’s the question, according to Will Fitzhugh, of whether students in today’s supposed process-oriented classrooms are even getting a chance to do extended writing assignments.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.