ELLEN GOLDBERGER: Everyone should teach writing. Her essay is about her support for writing across the curriculum, or WAC:
Much has been written about WAC, and I add my voice to the multitudes because I recently came to a realization, watching my students texting before class began: students spend hours every day reading and practicing writing — bad writing. How many hours are spent sending and reading tweets, texts and other messages in fractured language? It made me wonder: is it even possible to swim against this unstoppable tide of bad writing? One of my colleagues argues that students cannot write well because they don’t read. I think that students do read, but what they spend their time reading is not helpful in learning how to write. (That, however, is a discussion for another day.)
I’m not sure that all students can be taught to improve their writing, but I am sure that it is one of the most important things we can attempt to teach. What difference does it make if students know their subject matter and have excellent ideas if no one can get past their sloppy and disorganized writing?
I use written papers for my music appreciation courses and voice courses because I think writing is important. Even though the assignments are brief, the syllabus clearly states that writing mechanics will be graded. While I am certainly not a writing teacher, I think students need someone coaching them on their writing as much as possible. What do you think?