kitchen table math, the sequel: copy that

Friday, January 18, 2013

copy that

The associate director of the learning center at my college told me a fascinating story this week.

Her son was hired by a major copy editing company (I had no idea copy editing companies existed). When he took the job, he was required to copy, by hand, several well-written and well-edited articles: each one three times!

She said she'd never heard of such a thing and neither had her son, but then a friend told her that's the way the Jesuits taught writing when he was in school.

Is that true?

Did the Jesuits have students copy good works by hand?


TerriW said...

I don't know about the Jesuits, but we do copywork daily at our house.

TerriW said...

Copywork, narration, and dictation.

MagisterGreen said...

I'll have to check about copying, but taking down dictation was standard in Jesuit schools according to the Ratio Studiorum.

momof4 said...

I entered a public first grade in the early 50s, and we did no free composition until we had passed through copywork, dictation and instruction in grammar and spelling. It was received wisdom that kids needed to know what a correct sentence looked like and how it was punctuated, before composing any of their own. Dictation remained on the program through 6th grade, and maybe into 7th-8th.This was also true of my DH's Catholic school, in another state. I remember taking dictation of "The Concord Hymn' and the "Gettysburg Address' at the time that my class was competing to recite (memorized, no notes) those works at the Memorial Day event.

It was also fairly common to copy a heading (a short quote of particularly good style and/or content) at the top of the page. My DH says this was routine at his school and I've read that it was common in British "public" schools. In fact, I just came across a couple of recent references to Kipling's 'The Gods of the Copybook Headings', which refer to that practice.

ClassicsMom said...

I used lots of copy work, narration, and dictation with my child as per the Well Trained Mind with huge success. Honestly, I was astonished at the effectiveness of the same.