Conventional Wisdom in the Writing Classroom
Keywords:writing instruction, the writing classroom, the mechanics of writing, grammar, syntax, punctuation, third level education and writing skills
Abstract: This article considers whether instructors of writing in higher education ought prescriptively to involve students in the mechanics of standard written English or, rather, encourage them to prioritise ideas and content. Recognizing the reluctance of many practitioners to daunt learner-writers with rules, and thereby alienate them from their creativity, it nevertheless recommends judicious delivery of lessons in conventional grammar, syntax, and punctuation. Taking standard written English as a variant that continues to hold sway in general, academic, and professional readerships, the article concludes with an annotated selection of language components relevant to undergraduate writing and commonly addressed by readily available resource materials.
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