What Critics of Student Writing Get Wrong

 

[T]o improve as writers, students need to write frequently, for meaningful reasons, to readers who respond as actual readers do — with interest in ideas, puzzlement over lack of clarity or logic, and feedback about how to think more deeply and write more clearly to accomplish the writer’s purposes. There is no shortcut… When opinion columnists opine that “our students can’t write,” they mean that students can’t put together a sentence or paragraph that appeals to their sensibilities or adheres to the norms of writing in their disciplines or professions. However, the characteristics of “good” writing differ dramatically for history essays, grocery lists, fan fiction, text messages, poetry, grant proposals, lab reports, ethnographies, and opinion columns. –Elizabeth Wardle, Chronicle