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Stanley Fish, What Should Colleges Teach?

analytical Essay
1361 words
1361 words
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Many times, high school students are assigned to write essays based on inspirational figures or literature read in class, often requiring the same rhetoric following fastidious rules of English and sprinkling decorative wording across pages. Obeying the formats demanded by teachers is easy enough, but it is not creatively challenging. Author of "What Should Colleges Teach?", Stanley Fish, claims it is to learn the proper ways of composition alone that allows students to flourish; however, I question if it is possible to follow these principles too closely. Can it be so that the curriculum being taught in high schools fail to allow students to realize the potential creativity that can be involved when writing? Instead students are possibly turned …show more content…

They must form lessons that should aid students in understanding composition, definitions, transition words, and symbolism. There is no denying the significance these lectures bring; however, for some students, it is not enough to repetitively apply the mentioned rules to discussions they find disinterest in, deciding for themselves unwilling to participate in the conversation teachers beg for students to join. As mentioned, Fish proclaims that to diverge from teaching subject matter any other way that is not specifically academic, deviates too much and distracts from the correct process of intellectual thought. In his The New York Times piece, "What Should Colleges Teach?", Fish states his stance expressing one must "teach the subject matter" alone and not to "adulterate it with substitutes". He continues praising "the virtue of imitation," asking students to "reproduce [great author's] forms with a different content". Already, Fish demands from students derivative mimicry in which they must glean an understanding of another's process. I echo Fish's own question: "How can [one] maintain... that there is only one way to teach writing?" As students, we desire to express ourselves, and to follow the principles Fish speaks of, to "[repeat] over and over again in the same stylized motions", confines us from discovering the beauty and potential writing can bring. Rather, students are taught we must so closely follow fastidious rules and decorative wording, teaching English may as well, as Fish writes, "make students fear that they are walking through a minefield of error," and to use such a method makes students believe to write any other way will cause them to "step on something that will wound them", the odds of students learning anything are diminished (Stanley Fish, "What Should

In this essay, the author

  • Argues that the curriculum being taught in high schools fails to allow students to realize the potential creativity that can be involved in writing. gerald graff and vershawn ashanti young acknowledge the importance of teaching the functions of writing
  • Opines that teachers must form lessons that aid students in understanding composition, definitions, transition words, and symbolism.
  • Analyzes how fish's argument is countered by young and graff, both articulating the importance for teachers to recognize student potential in what impassions them.
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