Profile photo of Dr. Eileen Meagher
Dr. Eileen Meagher
Professor Emerita
English

Dr. Eileen Meagher could never quite concede the notion that good writing is a God- given talent, even when she was frustrated by the results of her own teaching methods. Convinced there had to be a better way, Meagher enrolled In a New York college which offered a doctoral degree in a new method of writing instruction. The innovation, based on the concept of writing as a process, differed fundamentally from conventional writing instruction. Chattanooga hired Meagher to bring the method to the UTC campus. "The way writing is often taught, it's always game day, and the coach is confined to the side-lines," said Meagher, explaining that an instructor's first look at a student's paper often is only after it is turned in for grading. "Our approach emphasizes practice," Meagher said. "The instructor helps and coaches the students throughout the writing exercises." Meagher sometimes goes further, taking the role of player-coach by writing along with the students. They benefit by observing first-hand that writing is not a quick and easy task, even for an instructor. In addition, Meagher takes students through specific writing steps, steps that help marshal thought and facts to the writing task. Step one: Don't think before writing, write in order to think.