I’ve officially finished all absolutely necessary reading for the talk I’m writing (obviously more reading is always possible, but if I read nothing else, I’m cool), I went for a walk, and I have a pile of grading to complete as well as shit around the house to accomplish (which I must accomplish because the writing group meets this week and I won’t have time to do the around the house stuff prior to that once my week gets going).
In other news, expect radio silence for the foreseeable future.
In the meantime, this op-ed piece in the Times irritated me in so many ways. Is this because I’m an old curmudgeon who can’t get with the times? Actually, no, it isn’t. I think that it does make sense to teach shorter forms of writing in the college classroom, “real world” sorts of writing, writing that connects to the many sorts of writing they will do both during and after college. But I do not think that the opposition the author sets up between that sort of writing and more conventional academic forms is at all useful, and, further, I’m pretty certain that anybody who’s still teaching the five-paragraph essay has utterly failed to keep up with the field of rhetoric and composition and the best practices for teaching student writing. And I think postponing those longer assignments until later only makes students wait longer to have deeper, bigger ideas. No, length is not necessarily the mark of quality, and academic writing isn’t necessarily the mark of deep thinking. But, since I do assign my students shorter assignments, I can say with confidence that shorter assignments do not, inherently inspire or “encourage students to be economical and innovative with language.”