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English Department
Philosophy of the Program

 The Basics Underscoring the Approach to Composition classes at Labette Community College

(Click on each statement to read more detail about each idea)

  1. Students learn to write by writing and revising what they have written. 
     

    1. Many students have problems in a composition class simply because they have completed high school without have done much writing.
       

  2. A prime concern of a composition class should be composition.
     

    1. This course will be a writing class and not a grammar class. Although there will be a quick grammar review, and an ongoing study for students with deficient backgrounds, the primary focus will be on developing the skill of writing.
      Students cannot learn to write by listening to lectures about writing or by doing grammar exercises. Research has proved that there is little, if any, transfer.
       

  3. The best source for beginning writers is their own personal experiences. 
     

    1. For the most part, all writers support their stances from two basic sources-personal experience or library research. In composition I, students will validate their generalizations and assertions based on personal knowledge. They will be saying, in essence, that they find their stand a valid one because of their life experiences and the meaning they have assigned to those experiences. For example, if a student asserts that his grandfather is a kind but stubborn man in the character sketch, he will prove such a generalization based on his experiences with his grandfather.
       

    2. In Composition II, students will support their assertions primarily from published material, but their writing will still reflect their own voice and their own convictions. In the broadest sense, all writing is based on the writer's personal experience - whether it is an encounter with a grandfather or an encounter with the ideas expressed in a published article on nuclear energy.
       

  4. The single worst fault with beginning writing is not grammar or even organization; it is a lack of specificity. The emphasis in this course from the beginning to the end will be on specific substantiation.
     

    1. Assertions come easily. It is the evidence that gives pause. Students can say that the President is effective or inadequate. But when they write such an assertion, they are committed to supporting that stand with specific evidence. Writers of exposition must substantiate and illustrate their point.
       

  5. Good writing takes time. 
     

    1. Good writing is the product of thinking, organizing, drafting, and revising. Revision is an ongoing process rather than a final editing. The emphasis on rewriting will be to alter sentences or passages for more specificity and more clarity.
      The ultimate goal in this class is that students become good readers, editors, and evaluators of their own writing. The point of good writing is not to avoid error but to create and communicate meaning.
       

    2. And this class will take time. A paper will likely go through several drafts before it is satisfactorily complete; revision is not the sign of a poor writer but a good writer.
       

  6. Students who are not in class cannot be taught.
     

    1. Attendance in this class is mandatory. The teacher will make every effort to help students who are coming to class and who are trying.
       

    2. Students are allowed three (3) absences, but even when these absences are necessary and legitimate, students will miss important material. After the third absence, students take full responsibility for material missed.
       

  7. Student-teacher conferences facilitate individualized instruction.
     

    1. Class sessions will be supplemented by conferences with the instructor. During these conferences, students may pose questions, and the instructor may point out what is working in an assigned paper and what is not. These conferences will be to discuss drafts rather than completed assignments so student writers can consider possibilities and tackle problems before the papers are handed in for a grade. In addition, students may "drop in" for help on a paper any time during the instructor's office hours. a schedule of these hours will be posted soon after the beginning of the semester.
       

    2. Students may also contact the English specialist in the Learning Center for individualized help.
       

  8. Peer editing facilitates good writing.
     

    1. Students in this class will participate in reading and commenting on other students' writings to make sure they are the best they ca be.
       

  9. Students are responsible for the work they submit.
     

    1. Students will be able to accept responsibility for what is written and how it is written. 


 

Labette Community College   200 S. 14th Street    Parsons, KS 67357
1-620-421-6700 or 1-888-Labette

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Labette Community College 2004