What Should Colleges Teach? Part 2

Stanley Fish in the New York Times:

Stanleyfish-crop The negative comments on my previous column (there were many positive ones too) fall neatly into two groups, the attacks on me and the attacks on my ideas.

Let’s do the ad hominem stuff first. More than a few posters declared that while I talk the talk, I don’t walk the walk. Eric issues a challenge: “So Mr. Fish, how about teaching some comp classes yourself?” English Professor is confident that “we can safely assume that Mr. Fish has never actually taught a composition class himself.” Ditto anonymous writing instructor: “I’m sure that Fish is paid too dearly for his opinions here and elsewhere to actually teach composition classes.” Maeve asks, “By the way, when’s the last time you taught a freshman composition class?”

That one’s easy. The last time I taught a regularly scheduled freshman composition class was my last year teaching in a liberal arts college. That was 2004-2005, and in the years before that, when I was the dean, I taught the course every fall. Since 2005, I’ve been a faculty member at a law school where there are no freshmen to teach, so I’ve had to make do with offering a non-credit writing workshop on Mondays; it’s my version of pro bono work and last fall 50 or so students and a few colleagues took advantage of it.

More here.