College professors share one serious complaint when it comes to their students, and this is not due to their tendency to be late for a lesson or the fact that they are too easy to offend.
Instead, professors agree that students’ lack of strong writing skills is the biggest factor hindering their university success. Since this problem is very important, colleges and universities
have created a number of systems to try to correct the problem, from tutoring centers to online writing trainers and ending with compulsory correction courses. However, to understand why writing has become such a serious problem for colleges and how to be a good writer in college, it is worth looking at the problems with writing at the high school level.
- Changes in different disciplines
Disciplines are discursive communities with their own methods for the development and transfer of knowledge. However, students attend classes in several disciplines (that is, in several discursive communities) at the same time and experience difficulties in mastering various forms of research and various applied stylistic conventions. It takes a long time to develop writing skills in one discipline, not to mention several.
- Lack of common standards
The criteria, standards, and definitions of good addressing vary from course to course (even within the same department). Students develop the idea that this is arbitrary and depends on the personal preferences of the teachers. Of course, they can always find help with essay and other kinds of work on different languages and topics at studymoose.com but the question in this article is about problems with their writing skills, not only where to find help. This encourages them to look for “what you are looking for” or “what you want” in their assignments.
- The need of clear criteria and standards
In some courses, students have little or no information about what constitutes a suitable letter: there is no clear understanding of the goal that students should strive for.
- Undeveloped writing processes
Composing should not be the hardest subjects in college. In many classes, students are expected to write well, but they are not taught to do so. Courses do not try to develop students’ composing skills; they simply require it. And students need to use any strategies and competencies that they have. But – unless they are given feedback and helped with their writing processes – students will not feel better just by composing a lot.
In some classes, formal drafting can be considered solely as a list of rules governing the use of the language (grammar, spelling, punctuation), and not as a focused communication of ideas. When this is done, the mechanical aspects of the language are emphasized, excluding important conceptual abilities as college writing skills. Often, key writing concepts are never covered in courses. For example, how to adapt your knowledge to your audience and situation (i.e., rhetorical thinking) is extremely important, but rarely taught. In the same way, how to develop a consistent train of thought is crucial for good composing – but rarely taught.
- Deficient understanding of the subject
Students very often have to write about subjects unfamiliar to them. And, typical of beginners in any subject area, their understanding, as they write, tends to be incomplete and naive. Thus, it is very common that their writing lacks consistency and structure, reflecting their fragmented understanding of the topic, and not their incompetence as writers.
- Loss of experience and lack of understanding of genres
Most of the tasks are academic noting exercises: “tests” in which students demonstrate their knowledge to a teacher (for examples, essay, paper, languages, topics, library research). These are genres that are rhetorically complex and confused – and poorly prepared for the writing that they will do after graduation. Students have less opportunity to develop knowledge of other forms of composing and writing for different audiences.
- Students are not interested in writing
Often students perceive academic noting as a routine work and not as a significant learning experience. Although it is part of modern student culture, it is not inevitable. Students are more likely to invest in their work when they have some control over the choice of topic, and the work has a “true purpose” in addition to getting an assessment.
- Unreflective writing experience
Students probably do not see composing as an intentional skill for the best development. For the most part, they do not analyze their own writing and do not reflect on their strengths and weaknesses and development as writers.
Too often, students are expected to “develop” their skills, as if with the help of osmosis, and this is especially troublesome when it comes to students who need more help and direct training to achieve these goals. To solve these problems, teachers, teachers, high schools and colleges must work together to prioritize in writing and make sure that it is a skill that can be tested and measured, and not just what is expected.