Teaching Students How to Write Effectively

Professors often complain about students’ writing but schools could do a better job of teaching students how to write, said John Warner in his new book, Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities. Warner, who is also a blogger for Inside Higher Ed, gave an interview recently on the website where he outlines ways that colleges could better teach students how to write. In the interview, Warner argues against using a five-paragraph essay because they are more rote assessments and they don’t teach students how make effective arguments. Warner also talks about how smaller class sizes with well-trained faculty can make a difference in students’ writing. “If an institution claims it’s important for students to learn to write while leaving contingent faculty with double or triple the maximum loads to do that instruction, they’re either liars or hypocrites,” Warner said in the interview.