Pebbles on the Beach Essay

Submitted By blueboy93
Words: 3246
Pages: 13

Tyler Gillson
Professor Hall & Professor Jones
Principles of Writing & Freshman Seminar
01 December 2012
Pebbles on the Beach Traditions surround the world everywhere; from the geishas of Japan to the monarchs of England. Cultures around the world use them to communicate values and beliefs. Just like any other culture, colleges also use traditions to establish what their morals and values are. Like the geishas of Japan start their training at a very young each; we start our training of the English language from the time we are born. You would think after eighteen years we would have it down, but we don’t. How can we? It’s always changing! English studies are always being reevaluated by researchers and composition theorists to decide if what is being taught still holds true. Very few things stay the same, so why do we expect English to? As Geiger explains in his article, studies have been done that show that the American university has been changing since it first began. Almost every thirty years there is a considerably large change within the higher education system (7). Freshman English, in particular, has had several changes itself. When Harvard first introduced a mandatory English component for their students in the early seventeenth century they had to turn in declamations from their other studies to the president. This course built character and the teachers were meant to instill civic moral values in their students to pass on the cultural values of the higher education classes to those younger than them that they knew, and eventually their own children. The English courses that they took played vital roles in how well they did in life in general. Reading in the English language taught them the grammar aspect. Rhetoric and oratory classes exercised the art of speaking. Composition taught the expressions of English. By the nineteenth century, the students only looked at modern British rhetoricians. The students were expected to read the books on their own time. They were not considered to be difficult enough to have to spend class time going over them; the classroom time was spent analyzing sentences that the instructor carefully chose from the texts, they would also have to memorize long passages that used the language in its best forms (Crowley, 48-51). Today it is found that many students are going to liberal arts colleges based off of the way they teach. This type of education can be traced back all the way to ancient Rome. The goal of these colleges is to train students to be well rounded in order to be good citizens, produce good communities, and to lead society to better things. A community is defined as “an interacting population of various kinds of individuals in a common location,” by Webster’s Dictionary. This is certainly able to be stamped onto any group of people at anytime doing anything. Pretty vague, but also these communities contain values that usually are only common among its own members. The values of creating good citizens and in turn “good” people to send out into the world have been our parents’ goals, and as we grew up the task was also given to the schools we attended, including college. The mission statements at several colleges are very similar to one another. The mission statement of Illinois College reads as follows: True to its founding vision in 1829, Illinois College is a community committed to the highest standards of scholarship and integrity in the liberal arts. The College develops in its students the qualities of mind and character needed for fulfilling lives of leadership and service. This mission statement is probably very similar to a high school’s also, and generally this is what our parents want for us. So generally speaking, from the beginning we have been being taught the correct ways we should behave and how to use English properly. Would you suppose that there is a link there (Crowley, 47)? I would say that, yes, there is a link between using English