How I Teach College-Level Writing: The Essay, The Problem

Our own Daniel Wallace blogs about writing and teaching over at The Incompetent Writer. I thought some of our readers might enjoy this series he’s been working on!

The Incompetent Writer

Me, teaching

This is the fifth post in the series: How I Teach College-Level Writing.

I’m sharing what I do in the writing classroom, the first-year Composition classroom specifically, with the hope of offering something useful to anyone about to design his or her own syllabus.

You can read the previous essays here:

1. The Intro
2. The Theories
3. The Diagnosis
4. Why I Teach Cool

Part Five: The Essay, The Problem

A lot of great things can happen in a Composition class. However, no matter how beneficial the readings and group discussions are, students still have to write essays. In the end, I judge my success in the classroom by the quality of my students’ writing, and if their work is not showing strong signs of improvement, I feel like I’m doing a bad job.

Unfortunately, improving their essays is not as easy as it may seem. In

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