Writing and Learning across the Curriculum in the Looking for America Freshman Semester.Report as inadecuate




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Composition Chronicle, v8 n2 p6-7 Mar 1996

In the fall of 1993, six faculty at SUNY Plattsburgh launched what they called the "Looking for America Freshman Semester," a program or course cluster of 16 credit hours in American studies, including anthropology, history, literature, philosophy, composition, and library skills. The core assumption underlying this effort was that writing is learning. Students in the program wrote about 30 papers of varying length during the semester, about 4 or 5 times what the average freshman writes. Curious to learn what students thought they had gained from their writing in the course cluster, one instructor asked his literature students to include in their portfolios the best essay they had written that semester--one not written for his class. Six of the students selected essays written in freshman composition; four of these were on personal topics having nothing to do with American studies. Three of the four expressed gratitude for the opportunity to write about personal topics. The two composition assignments that did relate to the American studies topic did so in surprising ways. One asked students to write about a personal experience with prejudice; the other asked for a short story which helped the student to understand writerly choices. This metacognitive experiment helped the instructor to appreciate the newness of cultural relativity from the perspective of a freshman, and to appreciate anew the importance of English 101. (TB)

Descriptors: American Studies, College Freshmen, Freshman Composition, Higher Education, Humanities, Instructional Innovation, Interdisciplinary Approach, Portfolios (Background Materials), Student Needs, Writing Across the Curriculum, Writing Assignments





Author: Morrissey, Thomas

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=10400&id=ED379681







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