“Freshman Composition Is Not Teaching Key Skills in Analysis, Researchers Argue”

Read the article here.

“Rather than spending time in first-year composition trying to teach students how to find sources—or using computer programs to chase down plagiarism—faculty members in such courses should scrap the research paper altogether, the researchers said.

Part of the problem, she added, is the expectation that faculty members trained in composition have expertise in the subject being researched, whether it is abortion, the death penalty, or gun control: “Unless it’s in your field, you don’t know what a good source is and what isn’t.”

And, though she said she is startled to hear herself say it, Ms. Howard recommends changing the paradigm governing the teaching of the course. Typically, students are taught to begin a rough draft fairly early in the writing process, she said. But the evidence suggests that students should start writing later, after they are trained to read, analyze, and synthesize their sources, so that they can identify the argument and sort through the evidence.”

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