Response to A Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing across the Curriculum - Essay Example

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She conducts a case study by following Dave to know how his writing is influenced differently in different classes he attends. Biology, composition and poetry are known to…
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Response to A Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing across the Curriculum
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New Academic Dis Community and Learning a New Country’s Language In the book “A Stranger in Strange Lands”, McCarthy studies discourse by taking a very unique approach. She conducts a case study by following Dave to know how his writing is influenced differently in different classes he attends. Biology, composition and poetry are known to have a lot of difference when it comes to content. This is why the author tries to unravel the impact of this on Dave’s writing. From the findings of the study , it is evident that entering a new academic discourse community and learning its language is same as going to a foreign land and starting to learn the language used in that particular country.
Dave struggles to write assignments in biology, composition and poetry courses in his freshman years. He does not know what the instructor expects of him (McCarthy 233). He appears to have a little idea on how the paper should be in terms of quality and the manner in which they are written. In each of his classes, he is expected to adopt a specific tone, information and organization. This is the same scenario when one moves to a new nation. When an individual leaves his usually country of origin to a foreign destination, he has to learn the foreign language to be able communicate with others. He will struggle to know and understand what the new language entails and what is expected of him. In almost all instances, the prevailing culture dictates the characteristics of a language in terms of content, structures and tone. For someone who is new to the language, this brings a big obstacle since he has no idea of what is expected of him.
The initial school days were not easy for Dave. He is unsure of what to do. This is why McCarthy says “it is not perfectly woven together, but it is good” on one of Dave’s writings (McCarthy 237). With time however, he is able to know what the instructors expect of him. It allows him to frame his tones and organization of texts in the various courses to suit the requirements. His writing for Biology comes out to be different from composition assignments. This is also similar to learning a foreign language when a person relocates to a new nation. As time passes by, one is able grasp what is expected of him to be fluent in the new language; The go ahead to mould their tone and content in a way that suits the new language. Another aspect that shows this similarity is the ability to adapt to these situations. For Dave to adapt to the new course writing requirements, he needed to have well-developed skills in writing and reading (McCarthy 255). This is the same case as the learning of a new language where these skills allow one to grasp the foreign language easily.
Every course has its own requirements and thus affects one’s writing the same way a foreigner may have to adapt to be able to learn a foreign language. Therefore, students should be informed on what is expected of them when writing different courses assignments.
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McCarthy, Lucille. “A Stranger in Strange Lands: A College Student Writing across the Curriculum.” Research in the Teaching of English 21.3 (1987): 233-65. Print. Read More
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