Date of Award
Master of Liberal Studies (MLS)
In this essay, I argue that a skills-and-drills only curriculum is insufficient in basic writing courses at community colleges. Though prerequisite, noncredit, precollege writing courses were created to address students' writing deficits, research documents little success. Mina Shaughnessy and Mike Rose advocate that colleges should acknowledge basic writers as novices in the world of academic writing. Rose, in particular, asserts that basic writers should engage in college-level work even if their grammar and punctuation skills are still developing. To accomplish this, I suggest the incorporation of literature and literary theory into the basic writing class, so students can interpret and write about what they read. This approach integrates reading and writing, challenges students to think critically, and offers them college-level work in what is called a remedial class. The noncredit basic writing class can become a time of rich preparation for underprepared students, engaging their interest, encouraging retention, and qualifying them for college-level coursework.
Copyright 2011 Trish Keller
Keller, Trish, "Beyond Skills-and-Drills: Literary Theory in the Basic Writing Class" (2011). Master of Liberal Studies Research Papers. 43.