Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Final Exam Week Advice

Lissen to the Perfesser

“Read, read, read. Students ask me how to become a writer, and I ask them who is their favorite author. If they have none, they have no love of words.”
—Garry Wills, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and historian, Northwestern University, 2009

“Try to read a newspaper every day—at bedtime or at breakfast or when you take a break in the afternoon. … The newspaper will be your path to the world at large. … In addition, a great newspaper will teach you how to write; most articles are models of clarity and substance—with no academic jargon!”
—James MacGregor Burns, government professor emeritus, Williams College, 2009.

Author and Yale Humanities Professor Harold Bloom advises students to take “a voyage away from visual overstimulation into deep, sustained reading of what is most worth absorbing and understanding, the books that survive all ideological fashions.”

“I have taught many students whose SAT scores exempted them from the writing requirement, but a disheartening number of them couldn’t write and an equal number of them had never been asked to. They managed to get through high school without learning how to write a clean English sentence, and if you can’t do that, you can’t do anything.”
—Stanley Fish, New York Times columnist and law professor,
Florida International University, 2009

“Learn to write well. Most incoming college students, even the bright ones, do not do it and it hampers them in courses and in later life.”
—Garry Wills, Pulitzer winner and a pretty good writer, Northwestern University, 2009

Editorial Comment: Is it too late for this advice?

• A column for the end of the school year: Go, unlearn the lies we taught you

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