Friday, May 06, 2005

A Writing Tutorial Ad Tells It All

While researching the series of stories about computers in the classroom, I came across
this intriguing ad:


In the student testimonials were these two:

"In the English course I am taking this year we haven't had many opportunities to write essays, so it was a good exercise keeping me practiced over the summer… It will definitely help me in the future." :

"The school year is stressful enough. It is nice to work on our weaknesses without the added weight of grades."

What did this obviously intelligent student complaining about no essay writing do in "English Class"? "Keep me praticed" is bad writing. This student definitely needs essay writing skill improvement. And the only way to do this is to write and rewrite and review and then listen to critics...which is exactly what this online summer session does! Via computers! At home! Amazing. And students attest it works wonders and pleases them.

So why don't they do this all the time?

This is the burning question. Sure, it is tons of fun to sit around talking about books and poems and such like. I created or joined clubs in high school and college which did this...for fun. Any good class should have intrested students who join such clubs to discuss what they are reading. But the class itself should be devoted, especially in high school, to learning how to write about these things. This means a minimum of one essay a week.

Teachers hate grading essays. I used to make money moonlighting for them doing exactly this. It was fun work for me because I would copy down the funnier sections and then use it in the Daily Bandersnatch, our off campus newsletter at the time. Ha ha. My specialty was philosophy/language classes. It was appalling work, actually. I can understand why some professors hated doing this work, it would possibly drive them to drink...oops. They did drink with me. Another beer, bartender!

On line it is easy to read and critique essays. I also note the on line tutoring is done in a group...over many time zones and several nations. This extends horizons and makes maximum use of student/teacher time. Time really becomes and Einsteinian reality.

So why don't we do this all the time already?

This is the burning question, one that will burn brighter as school costs/school failures torment us all. Any questions, class?

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