|Interview with Dr. Kevin Pelletier, PhD.
by Kerry Boland and Brittany Clemens, Writing Consultants.
Learning how to read analytically and communicate effectively are essential life skills that students will employ long after the conclusion of their academic careers. For some students, college-level English classes present unforeseen challenges: The texts might be longer, the meanings might be deeper, and some of the novels might be downright boring to read through. How can students adapt to an environment where they might have to come up with their own paper topics or theses? In the following interviews, Dr. Kevin Pelletier, assistant professor of English at the University of Richmond, discusses how college English professors want students to grow as readers, thinkers, and risk-takers. Main ideas from each response accompany its video.
How are college English classes different than high school English classes?
"A really good college course would challenge the way students understand thinking."
What are some of your biggest pet peeves in student writing?
"What frustrates me is when students are unwilling to take intellectual risks."
How can English students develop as literary critics?
"If students open themselves up to new ways of thinking about texts, they'll find that the most interesting scholars in the field are those that ask interesting questions."
How can students understand and appreciate older literature?
"Part of what makes a text interesting is how it interacts with its context. If you don't know the context, it's hard to say what makes the text valuable."
What can help students overcome the challenges of writing an English paper?
"First drafts are just ugly, and that's okay. It's okay to write a messy draft. You're trying to think through the problem. You just haven't figured it out yet."