What is your assessment of a writing programme offering not one but two
terms of lecture-hall-based, introductory-level, general writing instruction?
Here's the situation: Two years ago, Brock University created two separate
one-term courses -- Introduction to Writing and Academic Writing -- which
students are offered in succession. The English department here is very
interested in keeping grammar prominent in the first course; the first is a
prerequisite for the second. Neither are compulsory for Brock students,
though that will change for students in at least one department.
On the positive side, both courses offer students two hours of small
seminars per week, lead by experienced TAs who have advanced degrees in
literature. On the not-so-positive side, there is a one-hour lecture per
week to an audience that, next year, may be as high as 200. Is such a
situation reasonably within the range of acceptable Canadian practices?
I know this list has had a go both at the lecture-hall teaching of writing
and at the conflation of writing with grammar. However, I also know there
are some one-term lecture-hall courses in Canada that do not have the
benefit of two seminar-hours per week with mature, experienced TAs. And,
of course, two terms of writing is presumably better than one.
The English department here is facing program review in 2000-2001, and
writing is a new undertaking at Brock. How would you evaluate this? I
would be pleased to pass on your responses to our department chair.
All the best,
/// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// /// ///
John B. Killoran, PhD
Dept. of English Language and Literature
St. Catharines, Ontario
L2S 3A1 Canada
(905) 688-5550 ext.3886
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