Basics Underscoring the Approach to Composition classes at Labette
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learn to write by writing and revising what they have written.
Many students have problems in a composition class simply
because they have completed high school without have done much
prime concern of a composition class should be composition.
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.
best source for beginning writers is their own personal
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.
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.
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
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
writing takes time.
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
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.
who are not in class cannot be taught.
Attendance in this class is mandatory. The teacher will make
every effort to help students who are coming to class and who
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.
conferences facilitate individualized instruction.
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.
Students may also contact the English specialist in the
Learning Center for individualized help.
editing facilitates good writing.
Students in this class will participate in reading and
commenting on other students' writings to make sure they are
the best they ca be.
are responsible for the work they submit.
Students will be able to accept responsibility for what is
written and how it is written.