English & Communication

In the first chapter of Toward a Composition Made Whole, Shipka discusses the debate on the role of the first year English class. I believe that the typical freshman English class tends to be static and does not strive to be relevant. Most of these classes tend to be linear and abandon the need for a dynamic communicative approach. Shipka continues by referring to a paper written by Harold Briggs called “College Programs in Communication as Viewed by an English Teacher.” In this paper Briggs warns readers that “the traditional mind is always a closed mind.” I disagree with this bold and generalized statement, but I do agree with Briggs that a teacher of communication needs to have an open and receptive mind. Come to think of it, I believe every teacher should have an open and receptive mind. If a teacher has a closed mind, he or she is teaching what has been previously known and are choosing to neglect the array of new information that becomes available every single day.

Another point that Shipka touches on is the need for a more broad approach to writing and communication. The major that I am studying for my undergraduate degree is called Visual Communication Design (VCD). Although it is often referred to as Graphic Design, VCD is intentional about developing every students ability to visually communicate, relate, and persuade. Communication should be viewed as a tool that has the ability to present and exchange ideas and information. I think that VCD is a great example of one of the tools that is being overlooked by the traditional first year English classes. By abandoning the use of visual, audio, and other multimodal communication tools, teachers are limiting their students education instead of broadening it.

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