Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice

By James D. Williams | Go to book overview

would trade one problem for another. If the change were made on the basis of independent clauses, the result would be choppy, at best, as we see in the altered version of the Rita Brown sentence:

This morning Rita Brown was chewing gum. The teacher caught her. She didn't get in trouble.

The effect is a Dick-and-Jane style that becomes virtually unreadable after a paragraph or two.

Christensen ( 1967) observed that really good writers, professionals who make a living at writing, do not write short sentences. They write long ones, short ones, and some in between. Students, he noted, usually have little trouble with the last two categories, but they have serious difficulty with long sentences because the tendency is to engage in compounding with and and subordinating with because until the sentence approaches gibberish. An important task of the writing teacher, in his view, is to help students master long sentences that truly reflect maturity in writing. The key, according to Christensen, lies in short independent clauses that have modifying constructions attached to them, usually following the clause. Sentence 12 illustrates this principle:

12. The misconceptions have existed for decades, being passed from teachers to students, year after year.

The independent clause in Sentence 12 is The misconceptions have existed for decades, and it is followed by two modifying constructions: being passed from teachers to students and year after year.

Several studies have found a relation between overall writing quality in student essays and sentences that fit the pattern of short independent clauses followed by modifiers. These findings suggest that when working with students at the sentence level, teachers should not ask for shorter sentences, but for longer ones with short independent clauses.


CONCLUSION

The attitudes teachers bring to the classroom and the things they tell students have long-lasting effects on their lives. Students seem particularly susceptible to attitudes and assumptions about writing and writing ability. Teachers' attitudes and assumptions become students' attitudes and assumptions. Given the importance of writing, not only to students' education but also to their work and place in society, teachers do them a terrible disservice if they perpetuate the misconceptions that prevent a clear understanding of what writing is about. One of the more difficult problems a teacher can face is the student who has come to believe that he or she cannot write and, moreover, cannot learn to write. Too often

-303-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Acknowledgments xiv
  • 1 - Rhetoric and Writing 1
  • 2 - Models for Teaching Writing 45
  • 3 - The Classroom as Workshop 79
  • 4 - Reading and Writing 99
  • 5 - Grammar and Writing Overview 118
  • 6 - Style 160
  • 7 - English as a Second Language and Nonstandard English 176
  • 8 - The Psychology of Writing 219
  • 9 - Writing Assignments 242
  • 10 - Assessing Writing 258
  • Appendix A - Writing Myths 296
  • Conclusion 303
  • Appendix B - Sample Essays 305
  • References 313
  • Author Index 331
  • Subject Index 337
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 346

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.