Why Another Writing Curriculum?

Why Another Writing Curriculum?

I get it.  Writing Curriculum all seems to have been done before, but has it? I have looked through curriculum after curriculum claiming to prepare students for college writing.  However, the curriculum is filled with text after text of comprehension questions that, in all honesty, are a waste of time. Comprehension questions, once students are in high school, teach students ZERO skills that are useful in college.  Professors in college will never ask students to answer comprehension questions, and students will not remember how those questions were formed in order to use them. Why are we still giving students comprehension questions then? Maybe teachers think that it’s a good assessment to find out if the student actually read the text.  Maybe they think that it will teach them something.  I’m honestly not sure.  Most likely, it is just something “we’ve always done.” Even requiring students to write a summary of the text should begin to dwindle at about 9th grade.  EVEN if they are lower-skilled readers.  Yes, I said it.  Even lower-skilled readers should stop doing summaries when they begin high school. Why should the students not do summaries and comprehension questions, you may ask? In my experience teaching some of the lowest skilled readers: including English as a Second Language students and students with learning disabilities, ALL students can learn to pull quotes from the text, respond to them and decipher what the author is doing… all when taught how to do it. These useful skills are learned regardless of reading comprehension.  And I may add that by teaching these skills, students may actually improve in their reading...
What is Rhetoric?

What is Rhetoric?

Everyone uses rhetoric.  Rhetoric is the way that we talk to convince people of what we want them to believe. Rhetoric is not only a formal persuasive speech. Each day we live, every moment we communicate we are attempting to convince others to believe us.  We try to convince them to believe that we are who we think we are by the way we speak, dress, and behave.  If we believe that we are kind people, we will speak kindly to people, we will dress nicely, and treat people with kindness and generosity. We believe something about ourselves and the world and want other people to believe that, too. In this world, we can’t believe that we are kind, say that we are kind, but at the same time treat people badly and convince people that we are kind. We are who we say we are, act like we are, and look like we are through our facial expressions and other nonverbal communication.  If we do not have all three of these aspects to prove what we want people to believe about us then people will be skeptical. This is the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos of Persuasion Ethos is the speaker’s credibility.  If we want to be perceived as a kind person, we must be credible as a kind person.  We must treat people nicely, be generous and patient.  The moment that we don’t do one of these things, our credibility goes down and people begin to question whether we really are who we say we are. Pathos is the emotions that we create in our audience.  In this...