Did you say that college was stressful? Sure, but getting ready for college can be just as/more stressful, especially when you think about all the lectures, essays, and homework waiting for you there.
TPS addresses that problem with College Composition, a full-year class for those in eleventh and twelfth grade taught by Melissa Huisman.
The class is similar to a Freshman’s English 101 class, a required course for all first-year college students. Taking College Composition means that students will receive a taste of what their first year of college English will be like. It teaches its students how to write at a college level, defend their arguments, and read any piece of written work critically through a Christian worldview.
Furthermore, the class encourages students to debate ideas and discuss material and written work constructively. Its main focus is on writing and research, showing the students how to format their papers based on the MLA and APA forms. With the skillsets of writing, research, and formatting taught, students will feel ready to take on any writing challenge at college.
Students will have to spend around three to four hours for homework and preparation for the lecture. They will utilize four specific texts for and out of class: In the World: Reading and Writing as a Christian, Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, the must-have MLA handbook, and APA The Easy Way: A Quick and Simplified Guide to the APA Writing Style.
Mrs. Huisman relies on discussion between the students, sometimes staying quiet for a time, allowing the students to grapple with an idea amongst themselves freely. Usually, the students will have been required to read an article or short argument for homework beforehand so the students can prepare questions and comments for the in-class discussion about that particular piece.
Mrs. Huisman has “the students read a lot of challenging essays and non-fiction from an anthology put together by Christian scholars, as well as weekly news articles about a variety of hot-button issues. [They] discuss the ideas in class and students can vigorously debate ideas and defend their [point of view].” With the diversity of opinions of the students, the class “provides an environment where [all] are free and safe to disagree courteously.” All students can feel free to debate with and challenge each other, which not only makes the class a positive environment but allows the students to experience the diversity of thought waiting for them at college.
Overall, College Composition is “more than a writing class” (though by no means should we downplay the importance of the skill).
Mrs. Huisman writes, “I hope that students come out of this class ready to join the fray in university. TPS students know they’ll face challenges in and out of the classroom at college. I’d like to provide them with tools to not just defend their ideas but present them winsomely and persuasively. Too often we just want to ‘own’ the other side in an argument, but we’re failing to make our ideas attractive. My goal is to help students persuade readers through gracious debate and through the powerful written word.”
If you are looking for a college-prep and argument-polishing writing/research class from a Christian worldview, College Composition fits all those requirements perfectly.
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