Jump to content


Some LToW questions...

Recommended Posts

I've been both listening to the LTOW CDs and watching the LTOW DVDs and for the first time, I think I finally have a handle on this program ; ) As it turns out, it really is nowhere near as complicated as I thought. However, I still have a few questions....


1) The program walks you and your student step by step through writing an essay from the most "rudimentary" format (hardly more than an outline) to a "complete" persuasive essay. I'm wondering, though, why the authors describe the final "complete" essay as an "11-paragraph essay" when it seems to me that some of those paragprahs really should not stand alone but should be combined with others in the essay. One or two of them are only a sentence long. When you use LTOW, do you teach your students that such short paragraphs can actually stand alone as paragraphs?


2) The final "complete" persuasive essay uses a format that includes what's termed "Division"-- a statement of what is agreed upon in terms of the issuere the issue followed by the thesis and counter-thesis--for eg: "Everyone agrees that homework is extra work. Some believe students should do homework and some believe students should not do homework." At what point, and how, do students learn to go beyond this formulaic presentation of the thesis--in LTOW level 2? When you use LTOW, do you have your students actually write each and every "complete" essay following this bland-sounding format?


3) Some of the elocution exercise examples seem odd to me. For eg, one has to do with eliminating/ correcting verb problems such as vague and cliched verbs. I'm all for that--but one "correction" involved changing "She stormed out of the room" (apparently "cliche") to, "She slammed the door as she exited the room." Frankly, I'd prefer my students to produce the more concise "cliched" first sentence over the lengthier second one with its bland "exited." Similarly, students are taught to try to elminate excessive prepositional phrases while eliminating nominalizations. So, "You have no excuse for breaking the law because of your lack of knowledge" becomes, "You have no excuse to break the law even if you do no know about it." I agree that an excessive use of nominalizations can weaken one's writing, but that second sentence just grates on my ears with its use of "to break" vs "breaking" and its extra verbiage. Am I mistaken about this view? And if the point of the lesson is just to get students to recognize any tendency they may have to rely excessively on nominalizations, how/ when do they learn that often they're just fine to use?


4) LTOW is based on elements of classical rhetoric (ie, canons, topoi, etc), I'm just curious about the specific *ways* these elements are taught--are they actually classical in origin too? For eg, in terms of Invention, LTOW uses the "ANI" chart to gather information for an essay. Was that method used in ancient times as well, or did the ancients have other methods of listing their information?


5) Why, oh, why does the presentation of these lessons have to be so very tedious? I understand the value of going back to classical methodology--the "lost tools of learning"--but honestly, the presentation is so dry as to make me long for Andrew Pudewa's hokey humour ; ) Could they not at the least use some more engaging subjects in their examples? I've taught plenty of writing and essay classes over the years and even though we have covered essential material, we've always done it with plenty of humour in order to keep the kids engaged. I don't know--I guess that's just my style vs that of the authors of LTOW. Has anyone else altered some of the examples in order to keep students more engaged? Or have you found that when you present the lessons yourself, along with student participation, they are no longer as dry as they are in the CDs and DVDs?



Link to comment
Share on other sites

:lurk5: These are great questions.

Thank you:001_smile: but does anyone have any responses?


Although I'm an academic by nature, and certainly value the idea of classical education, I continue to wonder about the purpose of spending much time revisiting classical modes of writing and expressions. Often I get the impression that afficianados of classical writing think that contemporary writing methods simply are not "good enough"--but I'm not sure why. No, contemporary programs don't necessarily address certain modes of writing or speech, but the best of them do cover what would be needed--and wanted and expected in the university and in high-quality journalism--today. They do get students thinking and writing--isn't that what we want? So why the bias towards older forms of writing that all too often sound stilted today? (Truly wondering--not trying to create controversy here).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • Create New...