Saturday, September 26, 2015

blog 1

These are just the thoughts I had while reading, "Teaching  writing as a process, not product.” This ended up being a little longer than I intended, so I apologize for that! And since this is just about one of the articles we were supposed to read, I may not post my thoughts on the second one ("Writing at the turn..."), simply because I had so much more to say about this one. But I haven't decided yet. The format is a bit informal because I simply wrote things down as they came to mind. The main set-up is the quote that triggered a though, and then what that thought was + all subsequent thoughts that followed. 

“Literature is finished writing.” Never thought of it that way. Also interesting to see writing and literature combined like that, considering they are often divided.

“Autopsy,” interesting analogy. Sounds like the author subscribes to the idea that teachers are supposed to destroy writing in an attempt to correct it. However, it could also imply that a teacher is so knowledgeable/ they need know their subject inside-out before they can teach it to others.

“Destroy” literature to prove our own skills. Interesting. Makes me think of when I was younger, and the teacher would say, “What did [Author] mean when he wrote ‘X’?” and we, as children, wondered how the teacher knew the author meant anything at all. Or if, perhaps, they were just assigning random meaning to words for the sake of education. But reading this passage now, I think, maybe the author means a technical dissection—analyzing components until the magic is dead. By “magic,” I mean what makes the piece captivating. The rhythm and rhyme of a sonnet is less impressive when you sit down and study the formula used to produce it.

Autopsy analogy coming together now. It’s a bit ironic, honestly. Shows the attempt to rip writing apart to make it better. But not rip it apart as in destroy, but rip apart more like to break down and fix individually malfunctioning pieces.

“Much of it brilliant, some of it stupid, all of it irrelevant” – this is really an amazing thing to say about a teacher’s feedback simply because it doesn’t really undermine what teachers do. It is able to recognize the struggle and correctness of the feedback (how it actually could be helpful), yet how its power and helpfulness is nullified altogether by the educational system.
Finally, “we are teaching a process.” This is the flaw within the educational system. It is about the formula, not the end-product.

“Teach unfinished writing” – unconventional and a very good idea. Helps students understand that potential can come from anywhere and their writing is not a summary of themselves, but rather,  a journey to their own budding abilities.

“discovery through language we call writing” – correlates back to last Monday’s discussion about how writing allows people to explore themselves.

Like the idea of having a loose process—a formula that can be altered to every person’s writing style. Pre-writing can be literally anything, can come in any form at all. I also like that rewriting can be “demanding” and “satisfying.”

“shutting up”—the hardest part of teaching honestly. I have tutored and helped others write, and it is very difficult to prevent yourself from projecting your own words, thoughts, practices, on someone else. Especially if that person is looking to you for help. It is so very hard to get someone inexperienced or unpracticed to access their own words. This is a great challenge facing teachers. What makes it so hard is that not interfering with the student is what will ultimately lead to them developing their own style. Also, implication 5, allowing students to choose their own form of writing is very important. As discussed in Monday’s class, the “5 paragraph essay” doesn’t work for everybody. But perhaps it would be easier on those who hate it if they had been given the chance to develop their own style first. Something like journaling could resonate more with a student (also discussed in class) and this could lead them to developing a system that could be used in academic writing.

Acknowledging student’s decision to make suggested changes is something I’ve often practiced, but never put a name to. I have frequently ignore changes from teachers because I believed that it interfered with the vision I had. My work is, before anyone else’s, my own and I often refused advice from teachers in high school and occasionally in college. Ironically, teachers didn’t remember suggesting changes. There have been at least 2 occasions in my life where I kept a designated “mistake” and turned the paper in anyway, just to receive praise for the “mistakes.” A paper needs to be as individualized as the writer. What helps me remember this most is when I think of bestsellers. They are bestsellers because…why? Because they did something different. They stood out. Nobody told them “do this, do that, but DO NOT do THAT.” They did what felt right and it paid off. This could be something teachers keep in mind to help prevent creative intrusion.

“No rules, just alternatives.” Nicely said, and if it were me, I would have ended the piece on that.

Final thoughts: I liked this piece quite a bit. I feel it covered a lot of ground in a small amount of space, which, as a working college student, I greatly appreciated. I felt the information was innovative and very clever. It was an interesting take on some ideas that were already circulating the English community. What I liked best about it was its suggestions were not radical in the slightest. However, one can clearly see how dramatic the results would be if these simple changes were made.    

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