Presenters

Rinn NormanFollow

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - English

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Faculty Sponsor Name

Dr. Elizabeth Giddens

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Many of today’s college students struggle with college-level writing in Standard English, and during the last few decades, educators, parents, and experts in countless professional fields have begun to express a collective frustration over the quality of college graduates’ written English. However, this lack of quality in students’ and graduates’ writing is not due to laziness or generational differences, but rather a foundational shortcoming in the use of literary texts as the basis for instructional material in lower-level composition classes. This paper examines the traditional use of literature-based instruction in first-year composition (FYC) classes as well as undergraduate and graduate English programs nationwide. Norman argues that after decades of British and American literature as the core course material for composition instruction in higher education, English departments across the U.S. must reconsider how to approach preparing 21st-century college students for real-world and disciplinary writing. However, before educators begin to rethink FYC course design, Norman highlights the need for a curricular overhaul in undergraduate and graduate English programs that serve future secondary and postsecondary teachers of English. In addition to tracing the root causes for literature’s dominance in both FYC and English teacher education, Norman acknowledges contemporary and multimodal strategies for utilizing literary texts in literature instruction, alongside other scenarios in which literary instruction does prove beneficial for students.

Disciplines

English Language and Literature | Higher Education and Teaching | Rhetoric and Composition | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

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The Pedagogical Pitfalls of Literature in College Composition and Teacher Education: A Foundational Analysis

Many of today’s college students struggle with college-level writing in Standard English, and during the last few decades, educators, parents, and experts in countless professional fields have begun to express a collective frustration over the quality of college graduates’ written English. However, this lack of quality in students’ and graduates’ writing is not due to laziness or generational differences, but rather a foundational shortcoming in the use of literary texts as the basis for instructional material in lower-level composition classes. This paper examines the traditional use of literature-based instruction in first-year composition (FYC) classes as well as undergraduate and graduate English programs nationwide. Norman argues that after decades of British and American literature as the core course material for composition instruction in higher education, English departments across the U.S. must reconsider how to approach preparing 21st-century college students for real-world and disciplinary writing. However, before educators begin to rethink FYC course design, Norman highlights the need for a curricular overhaul in undergraduate and graduate English programs that serve future secondary and postsecondary teachers of English. In addition to tracing the root causes for literature’s dominance in both FYC and English teacher education, Norman acknowledges contemporary and multimodal strategies for utilizing literary texts in literature instruction, alongside other scenarios in which literary instruction does prove beneficial for students.

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