English 200 is a class that
continues the lessons in writing begun in English 100. Composition classes in
general have at least two purposes. First, they should help you to master the writing process. What do I mean by the writing process? Let me
The writing process is recursive:it treats writing not as assembly-line
production that begins with raw materials and churns out finished products, but
rather as a creative process that requires us to go back and forth between raw
materials and the ‘product’ to shape a polished final draft. Yet even that
‘final’ draft may be subject to visions and revisions as we receive and react
to feedback from our various audiences.
But as we work back and
forth in this recursive process, we will have company: For this class is also
conducted as a workshop, which
means that you will break into small groups—the number of groups depends on the
class size—and share your writing with your group. As an audience, you will each need to take the
responsibility to respond reflectively and thoroughly to the work of your
fellow writers. I will provide you with instruction and/or handouts on how we
will do this from class to class.
The second purpose is to
explore the notion of writing as argument, a notion that comes from classical rhetoricin western culture, and has its origins in ancient
Greece’s experiments with democracy and self-government. These ancient Greeks
also bequeathed to us the first examples of many of our major persuasive
discourses: mathematics, science, philosophy, and history to name a few. Most of the writing you do in college
will be argumentative and rhetorical in just this classical sense: you will
make a statement, and then offer proofto support your statement. Statement.
Proof. These are the most
fundamental building blocks of writing in college, as well as of most prose you
will create ITRW.
The good news thus far: this
information comes for the most part from my English 100 syllabus. So far, so
good. How does English 200 differ, then?
That’s the bad news: You
will produce 20-25 pages of polished prose by the end of the semester if you
wish to pass, and much of that writing and your grade will center on a ten-page
research essay, as well as several assignments designed to refine further your
writing skills. These assignments will include a journal; a letter to an
editor; shorter essays; and a final portfolio of your work. You should plan on
working hard—very hard—in revising much of your work for this class. If you hold
a first-draft-final-draft philosophy of writing, this class is not for
- Barnet, Sylvan & Hugo Bedau. Current
Issues and Enduring Questions: A Guide to Crtiical Thinking and Argument,
with Readings. 9th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.
- Lunsford, Andrea A. Easy Writer: A Pocket
Reference. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010.