“You’re Sick!” Says the Diagnostic Essay

“You’re sick!” says the diagnostic essay, and students hear the message plainly enough. In classes on connotation, I ask students what the associations of “diagnostic” are. Normally, I don’t need to prod students, but if I do two questions will suffice: “What is a diagnosis?” “Who gives a diagnosis?” A doctor diagnoses a patientĀ with anĀ illness, so a “diagnostic” essay turns students into unhealthy patients and teachers into medical practitioners whose primary job it is to determine what is wrong with the student.

Continue reading ““You’re Sick!” Says the Diagnostic Essay”