English writing textbook
I would urge the English Department to change its English composition textbook from The Standard Textbook of English to The Modern Writer. By helping to make the students more enthusiastic about writing, the new textbook should ultimately boost the students writing skills in general.
To give credit where credit is due, we must acknowledge that The Standard Textbook of English is not a bad book. This textbook has shown itself to be somewhat effective in helping to improve the students basic writing skills, and it presents a variety of essay forms, exposing the students to different types of essays they have to either write or understand late on. It would be a safe choice for the department to continue its use of this time-tested book.
But the past glories of the old textbook cannot hide its problems, particularly its dullness. The essays in this textbook are obviously too long for first-year students to appreciate their beauty. While various essay forms are illustrated in this textbook, they are often illustrated with content that students find very hard to relate to. Students using The Standard Textbook of English may have improved their writing skills in the past three years, but if that is true, they must have had a hard time doing so, to the possible detriment of their performance in other areas. Such problems can only be solved with a new textbook like The Modern Writer.
The Modern Writer is such that it should generate a lot more enthusiasm in students for learning English writing. The essays in this book are much shorter and therefore easier for university beginners to grasp. Moreover, these essays explore topics that are of interest to most college students such as popular music and career planning. Given the built-in appeal in this new textbook, just no student will have to be compelled to read and learn from it. With this book, the students can be expected to learn while they are having fun or at least thinking of issues that they care about. In all likelihood, the enthusiastic student will be a better student than the bored student.
The Modern Writer should be able to reach students basic writing skills at least as well as, if not better than,The Standard Textbook of English. The new textbook contains not only a good description of the basics of grammar but also carefully designed exercises to aid students in developing their own essays. In contrast, the old textbook may load the students with too much grammar but give them little chance to actually use it. With their enthusiasm and opportunities to practice, students should be able to pick up writing skills fairly easily, even those skills that are not fully covered by the textbook. The interested students can, for example, do their own research on essay forms.
Although The Standard Textbook of English is okay as a writing textbook, The Modern Writer should now be preferred. The new textbook can match the old one in strength bur does not have its problems. Besides, the new textbook contains qualities that are not only lacking in the old one but also fundamentally important to the learning students.