Why is Telling Writing, now in its fourth edition, still going strong in hundreds of colleges and universities? Ken Macrorie touches on the answer in his preface: "Good teaching in any field isn't a matter of employing gimmicks and choosing from a damnfool encyclopedia of tricks to play on students . . . but a matter of setting up a climate friendly to learning and then challenging learners to connect their experience and ideas with those of the accepted authorities or producers. Students can't become truly educated unless they grow out of and beyond themselves . . . Telling Writing gives them an indispensable base, a knowledge of themselves on which to grow."
Macrorie's approach works because it helps students break away from the deadly academic prose fostered by so many writing courses and enables them to write about and from their own experiences.