The “Letter to the Editor” piece rebuffing the previous month’s editorial “On Teaching Good Writing” has left me wondering if its author and I had read the same one. To recap its content, the message was not a complete dismissal nor rejection of the IHS English department’s writing model, but a thoughtful expose on how it might be improved. The author clearly stated that the formulaic approach occupies a needed space in the beginning stages of writing, but that there is a need to “shift strategies” to move students to the next level. So, what does that mean exactly? Exposing students to a wide variety of writing styles. However, in and of itself this is incomplete, of course, without dissecting those pieces through a number of lenses- both the instructor’s, as well as the students’.
I must confess that the barbed and almost arrogant response compelled me to read further, more to understand the point than to find merit in its message. And, I have to admit here, the misspelled Spanish words caught my eye first. Poetic license, perhaps (?)… but, I digress.
IHS offers extremely solid sequences in all areas of the curriculum and our student body is extremely talented academically. A well written “critical” piece should “stir the pot” and, if we have done our job well “molding critical thinkers and writers,” we may just have to accept a viewpoint that isn’t comfortable. As with any criticism, there needs to be a point and supporting evidence, both comfortably present in the original editorial piece.
So, what’s my takeaway? That a lot of time and energy (better spent grading papers, walking dogs, reading articles, etc.) was spent on a student’s observation of one facet of his or her education? That learning about Perezoso’s plight will make me hungry for more seemingly endless anecdotes? That the Tattler is nothing more than a repository for a “slightly phallic grease stain”?
Probably all of the above, but describing the response as an “irrational criticism” is the one takeaway about which I completely agree.