Paradox in the Business Writing Classroom

Paradox in the Business Writing Classroom: “Paradox in the Business Writing Classroom:
Teaching Nonacademic Writing in the Academic Setting

by Traci Gardner
Project Paper. Southwestern Virginia Writing Project. July 1987.

Writing teachers face a curious paradox in the business writing classroom: they must teach students theories of effective communication in an academic setting, yet they must also teach students how to apply those theories practically in a nonacademic setting. This paradoxical situation is compounded by most instructors’ superficial knowledge of the demands of writing in the business world. To give students general strategies which they can apply in practical situations, business writing instructors need a fuller awareness of how constraints and restrictions in a nonacademic setting shape and influence writing practices. Business writing instructors can, then, reconcile theory and practice by structuring a teaching model which adequately and realistically prepares students for writing in the business world.”


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