Why They Can't Write by John Warner
Over at my more academic-and-pedagogy-focused blog, Finite Eyes, I have written a post of thoughts about and inspired by John Warner's valuable new book, Why They Can't Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities.
Why They Can’t Write is not primarily aimed at writing teachers, particularly not teachers with some background in composition & rhetoric. While there’s certainly much of interest to comp & rhet folks, Warner’s goal is to make available to a general audience the insights that have been central to composition pedagogy and scholarship for decades. “With this book,” Warner says on page 5, “I want to speak to policy makers, educators, parents of school-aged children, and even students themselves, so we can engage in conversation and collaboration that will meet the needs of our culture and communities.”Read more at Finite Eyes...
As I read it, I thought about who I would want to give this book to once it comes out in paperback. Yes, I’d love all the comp & rhet folks I know to read it, but as long as they have some contemporary knowledge of their field, they don’t need it in the way other groups do. I want to give this book to parents, to teachers outside of English departments, to anybody with authority over education policy, and to people who hire employees — in short, exactly the audience Warner identifies for himself, and exactly the audience that the title calls to: the people who do, in fact, frequently ask those of us who teach (or have taught) writing why kids these days “can’t write”.