Improving Student Writing To Be Seminar Topic


Helping students develop the “Write Stuff” will be the focus of the next Maryville Lunch and Learn seminar, scheduled for Wednesday (Feb. 14), from 12:15 -1:15 p.m., in Conference Room A, on the top floor of Gander Hall.

“Writing has been getting attention in the academic community for the past few years as a major weakness of both new college students as well as, disturbingly, college graduates,” said Jesse Kavadlo, Ph.D., assistant professor of English at Maryville and director of the University’s Writing Center. Kavadlo wanted to devote a Lunch and Learn to the topic of improving student writing and was pleased to discover that other Maryville faculty members shared his interest in the subject.

While there’s a consensus on most college campuses, including Maryville’s, that more attention needs to be given to writing instruction, Kavadlo said, the question remains what type of attention. He hopes those who attend the seminar will share their opinions on that subject. “From talking to faculty here, my sense is that better means more grammatically correct but I hope to complicate that notion,” Kavadlo remarked. “For me, better can, and should, of course, mean cleaner, but it also encompasses the whole medieval trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric. We should stop trying to separate these elements from each other.”

Kavadlo shares the view of others in academia who say it’s important to give students many opportunities to write and revise. “Creating a safe place for bad writing is not a road to relativism; instead, it allows students to learn by doing,” he commented. “Sometimes, isolated lessons in grammar or mere corrections on a page cannot teach students to write as well as their own attempts allowing them to make mistakes can, provided that they learn how to work with learn from, rather than ignore, their missteps those mistakes.”

For more information on the February 14 Lunch and Learn seminar, e-mail Kavadlo at