About First Year Writing
What we teach
As part of the LAS Core program, all students are required to take 52-1151, English Writing and Rhetoric I and 52-1152, English Writing and Rhetoric II. English Writing and Rhetoric I takes students from expressive to informative writing, from the personal to the public. In English Writing and Rhetoric II, students develop and sustain a single inquiry over the duration of the course. Students are encouraged to develop topics that build bridges between their writing and rhetoric course and the area of the arts/communications that brought them to Columbia.
Enhanced versions of Writing and Rhetoric I and II cover the identical material as non-standard courses, but students benefit from smaller class sizes and supplemental one-on-one instruction.
For students whose high school experience did not supply them with much writing practice, or students whose diagnostic assessment scores indicate the need for intensive writing instruction, or students who do not feel confident about entering Writing and Rhetoric I, Introduction to College Writing 52-1101 offers an intensive classroom environment (twelve students per class, supplemental one-on-one instruction with a personal Writing Center Consultant) in which students can develop and improve the writing skills necessary for success at the College level.
In addition to these courses, Introduction to College Reading 52-1301, College Reading 52-1302, and the English component of the Bridge program are also part of the First Year Writing Program.
How we teach
These courses are taught by the process approach to writing and rhetoric. The process approach emphasizes revision and not product. Most time and energy will be spent on revising drafts of works-in-progress. In a workshop environment, students focus on writing strategies that can be used in a variety of situations, not on rules that are rigid and limited in application. For example, the emphasis is on enabling writers to analyze the needs of any given rhetorical situation, to focus on role, audience, and purpose, not on providing formulas for organization such as comparison/contrast or definition. The classes are student-centered. This means there are generally no lectures, although your teacher will certainly introduce and explain material, concepts and assignments. But most class time is spent creating text, revising, conferencing, and using small group work for revising, editing, and proofreading. Students keep their writing in a portfolio for end-of-the-semester evaluation.