Michael Laser, a fiction novelist, writes a piece at The Hechinger Report about his eye opening experience as a professor of expository writing at a university near his home. His contention is very simkple: that college students by and large lack the ability to construct basic sentences. He reached out to everyone he could think of to figure out how to help his students improve their writing skills and despite his best efforts, was disappointed by what he considered to be only minimal improvement but is committed to continuing to experiment with a variety of strategies until proven ones emerge.
But those clumsy sentences haunted me. How will my students’ future professors judge their work? Will the students struggle to find jobs because of their cover letters? Their writing may improve with practice as they make their way through college — but they’ve already been practicing for twelve years!