College Writing

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College Writing

When I was a senior in high school, I had an ogre for an English teacher. Mr. Bergan was one of the toughest teachers I ever had. The class was College Prepatory writing, and the goal was that, by the time we were finished, we should be able to write concise, well organized papers that would be acceptable to college level professors. Every day we would write papers, and Mr. Bergan closely read every one of them. Then he would hand them back with the details of any problems, and we would have to fix them. No one got an "A" from Bergan on their first hand in. He demanded perfection: any extra fluff had to be trimmed from the paper; any paper that did not end where it started had to be re-written so it did; if the introduction and the conclusion didn't match, we had to start the paper all over again. His demand for perfection paid off, and by the time the year was over, everyone in the class had the skills to write quality papers.

Now that I am in college, I have found very few professors that demand such perfection. It seems that half-baked ideas and poorly written papers pass when the teacher doesn't have the time to pay close attention to every paper because he or she has too many other papers to read. I feel that if the teachers placed a demand for higher quality papers, rather than sheer numbers of papers, that student's writing skills would increase.

Though I feel I do have the skills to write well organized, well written, high quality papers, I know that I do not utilize those skills on every paper I write. If a paper is due at the end of the quarter, I occasionally find myself waiting until the very last day, the very last possible moment before I start to write. I don't give myself enough time to w...

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...flawless. There was really not much I could help this student with, so I asked her why she came in. She told me she wasn't a good writer, and wanted someone who could write well to make sure her paper was o.k. It was.

Any student who doesn't realize the importance of his or her writing will not expend the effort needed to write a good paper, nor will they bother trying to obtain the sills needed to write well. They will try to b.s. their way through, caring very little for the paper itself and caring only for the grade they paper will recieve.

If these things were done, I do not think it would be necessary to change the way English is taught. But, even if the change would be needed, it makes more sense to start with foundational issues of sentence construction, making sure that the simple sentences are well written, before moving on to any more complex issues.

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