Writing Across And Against The Curriculum

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Young, Art. “Writing Across and Against the Curriculum.” College Composition and Communication. 54.3 (2003): 472-485.

Art Young, in the article “Writing Across and Against the Curriculum,” proposes an innovative and effective approach to promoting language skills and critical thinking amongst college students. As an English professor, Young describes a project in which his campus used poetry across the curriculum to stimulate learning in a variety of subject areas, including English, psychology, accounting, biology, and engineering. He also describes the element of the project which made it so cutting edge is that students did not write across the curriculum but “against it.” This approach not only
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As Young argues, the point is not to critique students’ poems for poetic elements of form but to allow students to make a personal connection with the material and to construct meanings in a different way. The benefit of this approach across the curriculum, according to Author, is that students are challenged to think outside the box, which prevents cookie cutter approaches to learning, especially in the sciences where lab reports and essays are written according to a standard formula which over time becomes a mundane and predictable task. As a theoretical framework for his argument, Young refers to research by James Britton, author of The Development of Language Abilities. The importance of Britton’s research to Young’s argument is that Britton emphasizes freedom in learning and distinguishes between the “spectator role,” which frees the imagination and allows students to become active learners who shape their own “world interpretation” and the “transactional role,” in which writers “transact business” as a participant according to predetermined structures. This framework is useful to argue the usefulness of poetry as an innovative form of communication and expression and to combat those scholars who argue that instructors like Young should “stop suggesting to students and teachers that there are purposes for writing in which correct spelling, punctuation, and grammar are
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