The Lede: Why They Can't Write: CEIT Book Club
CEIT (The Center for Excellence and Innovation in Teaching) is sponsoring a discussion in “book club” format of John Warner’s widely-noticed book Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities (Johns Hopkins Univ. Press, 2018, 288 p., ISBN 9781421427102 –and a copy is on rush-order at the Library). Warner responded to questions about his book in January Inside Higher Ed – “the five-paragraph essay is more avatar for the problem than the problem itself. . . [It] comes coupled with some very troubling things.” It can (or has) become so highly-prescriptive that the practice does not "actually help student learn to make better arguments of think in the ways we expects in college."
"Effective argumentation is about learning to make choices consistent with audience, purpose and message (the rhetorical situation). The way the five-paragraph essay is employed as prescriptive practice actually prevents students from practicing those far more vital and complicated skills."
The Library also holds Warner’s The Writer’s Practice: Building Confidence in Your Nonfiction Writing (Penguin Books, 2019 -- PN145 .W374 2019) –a really useful book with practical ideas that could help you write even the most demanding peer-reviewed research article. He winds up with quoting Jeff O’Neal memorably dark but realistic quotation, “You are going to spend your whole life learning how to write, and then you are going to die.” O’Neal’s post on the bookriot blog, “9 Things I’ve Learned About Writing by Teaching Freshmen How To Write” gives another bracing tonic for the depressed instructor.
Initial conversations will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 15 at 1:30, Friday, Oct. 18 at 12 noon and Wed., Oct 23 at 3 p.m. in the CEIT, Martire E244. Due to the level of interest, you are requested to attend one of those, and please send an RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
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