Friday, June 22, 2012

And One More Thing . . .

. . . this Writing Handbook I've been talking about. The last half of the book is full of information that writers need once they've gotten past the necessary stuff like parts of speech, punctuation, spelling, capitalization, abbreviations, and so forth. And that would be things like these sections: Unity, Coherence, Emphasis, Variety of Development, Interest and force, Exposition, Description, Narration, Argument (there's a whole section of this section about logical fallacies!) Now, I ask you, do kids in English classes ever get exposed to logic at all?  Would "post hoc, ergo propter hoc" make the slightest bit of sense? Judge for yourself. Illogical thinking is normative. Logic is a dying concept.

Would they learn the proper way to define things? "Define a word by giving (a) its general class and (b) the characteristics that make it different than other things in that class."

Would they learn about emphasis . . . in sentence, paragraph, theme?

And on, and on, an on.

I'm beginning to sound like a real geezer, but I'll tell you, brothers and sisters, the basics are still the basics. And I think we have more than enough proof that neglecting them when we're teaching kids is a guarantee that you're going to end up with a generation or more of people who at best achieve a barely functional literacy. Look around you. Does it fill you with confidence?

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