Philosophy for Learning How to Write and Read
Anyone can learn to write well. Half of learning how to write well is realizing that in fact you have a lot to say—you just have to develop some techniques for accessing that stuff. The other half is realizing that the same words on the same page can be perceived in very different ways by different readers. So my job is (1) to give you LOTS of experience writing and provide opportunities to write about things that have some potential to be interesting and (2) to give you lots of experience seeing how your writing is read by others. I also need to introduce you to the world of writing in college. You might think of academia as being a new culture about which you have to learn what’s expected and valued. Every culture has its own language, and I can help you learn it. Now, YOUR job is to approach with an open mind the opportunities to write that I provide you but also to take risks (easy to do since this is a pass/fail course), to ask questions about what I’m asking you to do, to make suggestions regarding how you learn best, and to take yourselves and each other seriously as thinkers and writers.
Reading is crucial part of this course because through reading others' thoughts you get to think through your own more--and that improves your writing. Reading as a writer helps you develop your writing skills. Also, you'll learn how to read your peers' essays in a positive, critical manner, and this skill will translate into your being able to assess your own writing better, making you more independent of the instructor.