Brooks Landon’s “building great sentences”

Well, I’ve been working on this paper — finally actually writing it rather than just reading and thinking about — the last couple days. Not really a “paper,” it’s more of a guide for new TAs for when they choose to modify the standard course schedule (assignment sequence, that kind of thing) — steps, advice, etc. Of course, it’s taking longer than I expected. I can’t think of anything I’ve ever started — academically, I mean — that took me less time than I expected! Oh well.

Got a “Teaching Company” catalog today, and now I’m tempted to buy their new “Building Great Sentences: Exploring the Writer’s Craft.” If Brooks Landon explains / teaches sentence stuff as well as it sounds like he does, I could use his explanations/approaches myself in class. Don’t feel like spending even the sale price of $39.95 plus $10.00 shipping right now, though.  It’d also be cool to get the “History of the English Language” one, too.  This spring term, I’m taking a class on the history of English. Should be fun. :)

Now, back to work. Running out of winter-break time fast!


12 thoughts on “Brooks Landon’s “building great sentences”

  1. Hey, my fiance has this course! He loves it. He used to hate writing. He has a learning disorder so doesn’t spell well, and he knew nothing about punctuation so he got slammed all through school, but he studied and improved and eventually got a TA position in the Writing Center at Central this year (he’s getting his MS in counseling psychology). I bought him the course when he got the position. He’d been drooling over it for weeks. Anyway, it’s really interesting, and he’s learned a lot from it. He wrote a reaction paper for one of his psych classes and he wrote it as a single-page long sentence. It was great seeing someone who used to write in fragments and run ons pull that off!

  2. I’m interested in your thoughts on your paper. I imagine some “how to” – as in, how one might go about rethinking the current syllabus / schedule; some personal narrative – how YOU have been rethinking, choosing, trying to fit readings you love into our (any specific) format and program philosophy (ours or others); some work with the Wilhoit book; maybe some research on the concept of “common syllabus;” maybe include some research on TA resistances – the notion of Academic Freedom and whom it applies to and when. You could include excerpts from our email conversations back and forth as we discuss – collaborate – negotiate. Quotes from TA’s who did or did not change and why. Plus your conclusion as to how writing this paper helped you etc. Yes??

  3. Hey, I just finished Dr. Landon’s course. It’s the single best thing I’ve done for my writing. Wished I had this when I was in college. While it won’t write your papers for you, IT WILL MAKE YOU A BETTER WRITER. I recomend the DVD if you can afford it.
    Good luck,

  4. Thanks, Greg! I appreciate your letting me know. I hadn’t bought the course yet. But considering your comment and my search for ideas for teaching my students sentence boundaries and sentence variety, I believe I’m going to bite the bullet and buy the course — assuming it’s still on sale. I think I have their catalog around here somewhere. :) Anyway, thanks again, Greg.

  5. As a professional writer, and English teacher, I recommend this course without reservation. Landon approaches the subject from a writer’s perspective, not a grammarians. The lectures are clear and logical, the exercises at the end of each lesson germane to learning the techniques described. He also offers a plethora of opportunities to continue your study with referrals to language thinkers such as Richard Lanham and Edgar Schuster. I wish he offered another course. This will help my writing and I have no doubt with help my PG students improve theirs.

  6. I too am interested in a used copy of just the Part 2 book. I don’t need the DVD or the audio version. I really liked Part 1 and need part two without spending $ 40. Thanks.

  7. As a long time teacher of writing (mostly within high school English courses), I was truly gratified by this course. My background was greatly enriched and truly enhanced by both course content and Dr. Landon’s presentations. Now retired, I look back on my years as a “maverick” English teacher and feel vidicated. Though useful to me now as an old but fledgling fiction writer, I wish I had had the ammunition that this course provides when I was a teacher. “Sorry kids.”

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