http://chronicle.com/img/photos/biz/icons/the-conversation-newheader.pngBy Bruce Ballenger. Many of my first-year college students have been battle-trained in writing thesis statements by the time I get them. But rather than opening doors to thought, the thesis quickly closes them. Instead of offering a guiding hand, the thesis carries a baseball bat, muscling its way into writers’ thoughts and beating information into submission. What I’m talking about is the thug thesis, the bully who hangs with the five-paragraph theme and similar forms of deductive writing. Unfortunately, this thesis—an anathema to academic inquiry—is the one most students know best. Read more...