Should a composition course be required for all first-year college students?
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Prior to providing supporting or (and) contradicting arguments concerning the matter under consideration, I find it far from being an exaggeration to acknowledge that I feel honored to be presented with a golden opportunity to refine my rhetorical sensibility and reveal my dormant gift for creative writing attending the English-composition course. There is no escaping the fact that I am inclined to pass my critical judgement over the value and appropriateness of the course in the form of a “disciplined, well-supported and confidently-written argumentation research paper” (2).
As a matter of fact, opinion was divided on the issue, as it proves to be a moot point, indeed. The dons are disposed to safeguard their firm positions disputing that the recruits have “it-hardly-needs-a-commentary” dire necessity of this remedial course. The freshers, in their round, dare challenge their tutors’ emphatic conviction demonstrating their willingness to scrap this “baby course for silly bullies” or at least, its status of a core subject.
I would personally admire to join the mainstream and to fling away an advantage of taking it up without any misgiving to dumb down. Needless to say, I have my own fool-proof reasons to cast doubt on the efficacy of such a course. Here is a selection of them.
Firstly, I feel free to admit that this course is particularly designed for cyber junkies, people who are addicted to using personal computers, especially the Internet. These are the never-ending hours I dawdled away on surfing the net, combing through vast bodies of information in my futile attempt to compose an essay that will meet all the requirements, brought me to the conclusion that English-composition classes spell the perfect recipe for pure and absolute contentment for those who are obsessed with craving the information that is so tantalizingly available in a global network. Thanks God I do not belong to this type of dataholics. I would prefer to pass my evening away with friends or my dear people or … reading a book or an instalment of a glossy magazine.
Secondly, therefore, I claim that slogging away at packing your essay is close to sweating over packing your suit-case. The point is that recently, having made up my mind to pick up on the advice to “read the works of published writers in a wide range of subjects, paying particular attention to the way in which they use their language to express their meaning” (3), I came across a truly thought-provoking article that shared a few tricky tips how to pack a suit-case. Being a recognized expert in jamming everything possible and impossible into my suit-case, I took a deep interest and followed all the instructions with a remarkable care. Despite my colossal efforts applied, I keep on arriving at the place of the destination with my crumpled clothes and creased T-shirts. I am continually taken aback, however, at my friend’s ‘preternatural’ capability to have his suit-cases always elaborately packed, although he never stuffs his head with ‘packing’ details exposed at the article like that one.
The similar situation is sadly expected to be disclosed and observed during English-composition classes. Those who can boast inner propensity for creative composing, will get the hang of the things easily and soon will be profoundly bored by re-copying somebody’s else numerous thumb-nail sketches and ‘printing out’ the endless stream of top-of–scale creative work of their own. On the contrary, a significant proportion of those who lack special aptitude for writing will be intellectually challenged and stretched, indeed. In their case, practicing writing will be like skating on the thin ice, as they will be running all the chances to reduce their potential to compounding different ideas employing hiss-and-miss method. The students will become more preoccupied not how the message is conveyed but how their ultimate aim of making the “composition’ tolerable for the don to read is reached. The teacher will turn the essay into a whipping boy by detecting a list of drawbacks, and even chipping in the main idea, ipso facto satiating the creative piece with countless remarks and undermining the goldmine of the students. Constant disparagement will inevitably lead to their contriving some dodgy schemes, like stealing somebody’s thunder, in order to boost their results.
Deep in my heart I keep the lines from the verse by Trevor P.F. Kkert who once wrote, “My pen hath not the ink, Nor my mind the wit, To capture here in verse by my hand, Her beauty I behold.” The less apt students tend to experience the same sensation being at a loss to frame their thoughts in beautiful words. Eventually, the entire course will be yet another face-lift to them, especially with the examination-pattern of the all-multiple-choice-version that appear to flatter student performance.
Thirdly, English composition course is a lucky chance to act out as a cool guy. Being meticulously taught to become smooth-talking ladies and gentlemen, students will get easily aspirated to tear down the walls of Babylon with their more and more exquisite eloquent speeches that are stupendously abundant in true idle talk. In the intoxicating game of popularity they will all take up playing, students will find themselves vying for the best way to render the simplest message by means of the most complicated grammatical and lexical forms, more often than not reducing to the absurdity. In their obsession to reach the height of verbal complicity, they will appear to pursue the terminal goal to make the recipient vigorously rack his brains to get the point. It stands to reason that it is indispensable to develop the capacity to articulate your views, but the clue is to speak clearly, in plain English applying the correct grammar. I take up the same stance as Richard Templar (1) who underlines, “Speak simply – say directly what it is you want to say, and nothing more.”
It is not a challenge for me to continue with other examples but the point is clear.
To conclude, I am anxious to admit that English-composition courses should not be a definite must for all the students despite the growing tendency of the universities to accommodate the reverse sentiment. Furthermore, I regard my ‘argumentation research paper’ as a successful attempt of improving my critical thinking and writing skills, alongside I profess that I managed to communicate my ideas clearly, with elements of sweet irony. On the whole, this is in a conflict of opinion that we can get to the Truth.
- Templar, Richard. “The Rules of Work: A Definitive Code for Personal Success”. Pearson Education, 2003.
- Bandura, Valerie. Rhetorical Strategies in Mass Media. 19 Oct. 2005 http://warren-wilson.edu/fye/first_year_cc.php
- The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP). English Composition. 19 Oct. 2005 http://www.collegeboard.com/student/testing/cle/ex_ec.html
Offered for reference purposes only.