A disturbing trend?

Subject: A disturbing trend?
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 1995 16:56:17 LCL

This observation may not mean anything, but I was disturbed
by it nonetheless. Mom H. is teaching a course on
communications skills to a group of techwhirler wannabes
(mild pejorative) who are taking the course to retain their
unemployment insurance benefits. However, few of the
students seem capable of writing beyond the (charitably)
high school level. I have the nasty suspicion that the
provincial government, which sponsors the course, doesn't
seem to think that you need to know how to write to be a
techwhirler. Hmmm...

BTW, some time back under the topic of tests for writers,
we had mixed opinions on the value of asking the candidates
to describe how to make a peanut butter sandwich. The
stated goal was threefold: to demonstrate (in no more than
five minutes) how to find out what your client really wants
you to write about, to spot and correct your assumptions,
and to provide an appropriate level of detail in
instructions. I suggested that Mom use this in her course,
and she did... to enthusiastic results. Even the person who
initially felt that the exercise was trivial changed had
her mind by the time the exercise was over. I don't think
this would necessarily be a good test for experieinced
writers, but it seems to work very well for inexperienced

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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