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TEACHING WRITING WITHOUT WRITING: MOVING FROM THE ARISTOTELIAN MODEL TO THE IM AND TWITTER WORLD

B. Gatenby

American University of Sharjah (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Technology has made traditional models of teaching writing obsolete. The thesis-based five paragraph essay and the research-based essay are no longer viable, both because of changes in the nature of information consumption and the ability of students to purchase custom-written essays online that are virtually plagiarism-detection proof. The traditional model of liberal education served the needs of a leisure-based class, which the information revolution has also rendered obsolete. Writing programs should be focused on the types of writing that students will actually do once they leave the university for the work world, writing that focuses on technical and work related skills they will actually use on the job. The fundamental nature of writing has changed from an Aristotelian model to one of Facebook, Twitter, IMs and emails. The ability to convey information in short, direct bursts of writing is now the standard model of communication, not the ability to write long, complex sentences in fully developed paragraphs. Until writing programs accept and focus on this fundamental change in the worlds of information and education, they will continue their downward slide into educational irrelevance.
keywords: writing, technology.