Reflections in English 612

Wednesday Forum

On page 50, Dean Whitla's research responds to the Legend of Deterioration, the notion that despite composition classes, students' writing skills deteriorate by the end of college. Whitla's findings discover growth in student writing, yet "deep-seated feelings...empower the legend of deterioration;" even after receiving research to the contrary, journalists and administrators cannot let go of their perception of deterioration (51). After acknowledging Whitla's discovery of growth, Malcolm G. Scully reverts to "describing the 'writing crises'" and Derek Bok states "Despite the overall improvement, many students showed no improvement" (50, 51).

Perhaps we can take Haswell's "new working defintion" of human growth as it is revealed in and through writing instruction: "maturing is a generative change, at once nurturable and natural, toward cultural standards" (68). Some skills are nurtured while others must occur over time and with the student's maturation. 

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