Teaching Writing as a Process Not Product by Donald M. Murray



Donald Murray begins this article by describing the contradiction of the English teacher. “Fully trained in autopsy, we go out and are assigned to teach our students to write, to make language alive.” He further revealed his true sentiments by describing the frustration that both students and teachers feel because despite this “repetitive autopsy” the product doesn’t improve. Instead the blame falls on the student who is then passed along to the next teacher who more often than none is trained in the same manner. Murray asserted that “no matter how careful our criticisms, they do not help the student since when we teach composition we are not teaching a product, we are teaching a process.” He also offered advice on the process that we should teach and that is the process of discovery through language and the first step of that is by “placing the opportunity for discovery into the student’s hands.”
Murray further advised English teachers not to tell students what to say and how to say it when giving an assignment instead “we have to be quiet, listen, and respond because we are not the initiator or motivator we are the reader, the recipient.” Murray also emphasize that we must respect our students for their potential truth and potential voice. And again reminded the English teachers of their roles.
I actually enjoyed reading this article. I would say more so than the Fulkerson’s “Composition at the Turn of the Century.”  Murray seems like an interesting writer. His emphasis on “discovery” and his focus on the inner reality of the writer makes me think of him as an expressionist. Although, his implications would be impractical in today’s classrooms, in many ways I agree with him. Too often students are not awarded the opportunity to explore and discover the process of writing for themselves.  Instead of creating first then critiquing it’s the other way around. Structure in writing is very important, however it’s not a unique concept that has no possibility of being applied or discovered if not taught. Murray defined the teachers as “coaches, encouragers, and developers.” I thought that was a great statement because in a way that’s what they should be. Rather be the critics, writing teachers should create the proper environment so students can experience the writing process as well as their own truths. And I also found it very interesting how a person like Murray who probably was taught and trained in traditional composition given the time period of his article has developed such a contrary view on writing? 

Teaching Writing as a Process Not Product by Donald M. Murray



Donald Murray begins this article by describing the contradiction of the English teacher. “Fully trained in autopsy, we go out and are assigned to teach our students to write, to make language alive.” He further revealed his true sentiments by describing the frustration that both students and teachers feel because despite this “repetitive autopsy” the product doesn’t improve. Instead the blame falls on the student who is then passed along to the next teacher who more often than none is trained in the same manner. Murray asserted that “no matter how careful our criticisms, they do not help the student since when we teach composition we are not teaching a product, we are teaching a process.” He also offered advice on the process that we should teach and that is the process of discovery through language and the first step of that is by “placing the opportunity for discovery into the student’s hands.”
Murray further advised English teachers not to tell students what to say and how to say it when giving an assignment instead “we have to be quiet, listen, and respond because we are not the initiator or motivator we are the reader, the recipient.” Murray also emphasize that we must respect our students for their potential truth and potential voice. And again reminded the English teachers of their roles.
I actually enjoyed reading this article. I would say more so than the Fulkerson’s “Composition at the Turn of the Century.”  Murray seems like an interesting writer. His emphasis on “discovery” and his focus on the inner reality of the writer makes me think of him as an expressionist. Although, his implications would be impractical in today’s classrooms, in many ways I agree with him. Too often students are not awarded the opportunity to explore and discover the process of writing for themselves.  Instead of creating first then critiquing it’s the other way around. Structure in writing is very important, however it’s not a unique concept that has no possibility of being applied or discovered if not taught. Murray defined the teachers as “coaches, encouragers, and developers.” I thought that was a great statement because in a way that’s what they should be. Rather be the critics, writing teachers should create the proper environment so students can experience the writing process as well as their own truths. And I also found it very interesting how a person like Murray who probably was taught and trained in traditional composition given the time period of his article has developed such a contrary view on writing? 

Murray/Fulkerson

If read out of context, Teach Writing as a Process Not Product,  by Donald Murray has the potential to be mistaken as an out-of-touch, sort of “Well, duh!” essay about the process-based pedagogical underpinnings of current composition theory.  However, after one considers the time in which it was written (1972), it becomes quite the opposite indeed- a revolutionary and ground-breaking take on the (then) long-standing tradition of teaching writing as a product, rather than a process.  In this relatively short but passionate essay, Murray clearly outlines the reasons why teaching writing as a product does not work, and specifically details the way in which it should be employed in the classroom (prewriting 85%, writing 1%, revising 14%).  He defines the teacher’s role as more of a facilitator, rather than instructor, whose job it is to create “environments in which our students can experience the writing process for themselves.”  Murray closes the piece with a list of implications for the composition curriculum. The sheer clarity, directness and brevity of Murray’s article could be interpreted as a symbolic representation of the state of composition studies then, as compared to now, particularly when juxtaposed with the bulky and complex issues presented in the Fulkerson article.
Richard Fulkerson’s Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century was written just over 30 years after the Murray essay.  The, this article gives us a comprehensive analysis of the past and current state of the discipline, with particular regard to the dominant axiological views and, in-turn, the major pedagogical approaches currently employed. The article begins with a side-by-side comparison of two collections of essays outlining the major theories on teaching writing, one written in 1980, and the other in 2001.  Not coincidentally, Don Murray’s Writing as a Process opens the first volume as chapter one, thus setting the tone for the collection.  Murray’s piece seems to mark the significant and seemingly permanent shift from product to process-based instruction in composition studies.  
In addition to acknowledging the many similarities between the two collections, Fulkerson highlights a major difference as being the addition of four chapters rooted in critical/cultural studies (CCS).  This, he states, represents the major new areas of scholarly interest in the discipline.  A large part of the essay is spent discussing some of the main axiological views and their current approaches to college-level writing instruction.  These are loosely categorized as the following (1) Social Theories & Critical/Cultural Studies (CCS), (2) Expressivist Composition, and (3) Rhetorical Approach (discourse analysis, argumentation and genre-based).  A good deal of his discussion is centered around the Social and CCS approaches, as they are the newest additions to composition studies.  Fulkerson does a good job of detailing the specifics of each approach’s instructional practices and he is quick to point out the potential shortcomings and contradictions of each, too.  
  
A perfect read for a writing studies student, Composition at the Turn of the 21st Century gives us an up-to-date look at the current pedagogical approaches/conflicting views and offers us a chance to reflect upon our own practices.  As a relatively new writing studies student, I have had a subtle “sense” that there is a shift towards CCS practices looming in our discipline.  While this may primarily due to the fact that my Writing Research course professor was a “social constructivist” through and through, I still wonder what impact this shift will have on writing instruction.  At this stage in my development as an educator and composition studies student, I tend to align my own practices slightly more with the Rhetorical approaches.  I worry about the practical implementation of such changes as they relate to curriculum development.  
After reading these two articles, I am left with a feeling I often get after reading many other writing studies essays: it is an exciting time to be a composition studies student.  While some may, perhaps, feel a bit of frustration or lack of security from the fact that their chosen area of study is in a constant state of flux, I, on the contrary, am surged with a sense of purpose and drive.  We are all, in a sense pioneers, assisting with the development of a new era.  To me, writing is both an art and a science and there is no one style nor formula which can produce the perfect piece.  

Murray/Fulkerson

If read out of context, Teach Writing as a Process Not Product,  by Donald Murray has the potential to be mistaken as an out-of-touch, sort of “Well, duh!” essay about the process-based pedagogical underpinnings of current composition theory.  However, after one considers the time in which it was written (1972), it becomes quite the opposite indeed- a revolutionary and ground-breaking take on the (then) long-standing tradition of teaching writing as a product, rather than a process.  In this relatively short but passionate essay, Murray clearly outlines the reasons why teaching writing as a product does not work, and specifically details the way in which it should be employed in the classroom (prewriting 85%, writing 1%, revising 14%).  He defines the teacher’s role as more of a facilitator, rather than instructor, whose job it is to create “environments in which our students can experience the writing process for themselves.”  Murray closes the piece with a list of implications for the composition curriculum. The sheer clarity, directness and brevity of Murray’s article could be interpreted as a symbolic representation of the state of composition studies then, as compared to now, particularly when juxtaposed with the bulky and complex issues presented in the Fulkerson article.
Richard Fulkerson’s Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century was written just over 30 years after the Murray essay.  The, this article gives us a comprehensive analysis of the past and current state of the discipline, with particular regard to the dominant axiological views and, in-turn, the major pedagogical approaches currently employed. The article begins with a side-by-side comparison of two collections of essays outlining the major theories on teaching writing, one written in 1980, and the other in 2001.  Not coincidentally, Don Murray’s Writing as a Process opens the first volume as chapter one, thus setting the tone for the collection.  Murray’s piece seems to mark the significant and seemingly permanent shift from product to process-based instruction in composition studies.  
In addition to acknowledging the many similarities between the two collections, Fulkerson highlights a major difference as being the addition of four chapters rooted in critical/cultural studies (CCS).  This, he states, represents the major new areas of scholarly interest in the discipline.  A large part of the essay is spent discussing some of the main axiological views and their current approaches to college-level writing instruction.  These are loosely categorized as the following (1) Social Theories & Critical/Cultural Studies (CCS), (2) Expressivist Composition, and (3) Rhetorical Approach (discourse analysis, argumentation and genre-based).  A good deal of his discussion is centered around the Social and CCS approaches, as they are the newest additions to composition studies.  Fulkerson does a good job of detailing the specifics of each approach’s instructional practices and he is quick to point out the potential shortcomings and contradictions of each, too.  
  
A perfect read for a writing studies student, Composition at the Turn of the 21st Century gives us an up-to-date look at the current pedagogical approaches/conflicting views and offers us a chance to reflect upon our own practices.  As a relatively new writing studies student, I have had a subtle “sense” that there is a shift towards CCS practices looming in our discipline.  While this may primarily due to the fact that my Writing Research course professor was a “social constructivist” through and through, I still wonder what impact this shift will have on writing instruction.  At this stage in my development as an educator and composition studies student, I tend to align my own practices slightly more with the Rhetorical approaches.  I worry about the practical implementation of such changes as they relate to curriculum development.  
After reading these two articles, I am left with a feeling I often get after reading many other writing studies essays: it is an exciting time to be a composition studies student.  While some may, perhaps, feel a bit of frustration or lack of security from the fact that their chosen area of study is in a constant state of flux, I, on the contrary, am surged with a sense of purpose and drive.  We are all, in a sense pioneers, assisting with the development of a new era.  To me, writing is both an art and a science and there is no one style nor formula which can produce the perfect piece.  

Fulkerson’s “Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century” and Murray’s "Teach Writing as a Process Not Product"



            My first impression of this piece: Fulkerson is frustrated with the lack of development and numerous disagreements about teaching composition to students. He observes correctly how the field—relatively new in relation to other genres of English studies—seemed to stop its progress with the advent of the millennium. The reasons for this untimely halt are related to new branches that have entered this field and with their emergence an alteration of the original goals. In 1990 Fulkerson felt optimistic and uplifted by the surge of advances in this “field” of study. “Good Writing” was considered language; ”Rhetorically effective for audience and situation.” The areas of conflict were expected—assignments, grading, readings, and teacher response but the goal was shared by all involved; the means to success were simply in transition.
            Fulkerson blames the addition of CCS—critical/ cultural studies—for creating new problems for the teacher. He also feels expressionism is taking over and finds the result is causing the rhetorical approach to split into three parts. By comparing two volumes on the subject, one published in 1980 at a highpoint of this trend and the other in 2001 when it is seemingly in conflict, he emphasizes the addition of too many new areas which create more confusion to this fairly new concept of teaching. It seems the simplicity of being able to write freely--within a loose framework--is complicated with each new addition to this writing landscape; the time factor is simply too rapid for these new ideas to become accepted norms. He poses four questions which represent a solid base on which to “erect a course” and it is a rather intriguing grid for any willing party to attempt to complete—he does not. I agree that cultural studies is the forerunner throughout the field with the feminist approach trailing close behind. And, of course, postcolonial gets an honorable mention as well. These approaches were not as commonly employed in a classroom setting in 1980 or before but are now considered a standard. I can only guess that in 2001 when Fulkerson was researching, revisiting, and writing about the rhetorical movement’s progress, this transition within the field was taking a firm hold.
            One key point of any writing is interpretation and how each new group of student-writers approach any or all topics assigned or suggested. Many topics are far afield of what we may consider “English” but in order to confidently interpret and/ or analyze, one needs to be capable of expressing their thoughts. Often, a juxtaposition or argument to emphasize and clarify one’s position can be the deciding factor for their target audience. I can, however, see why Fulkerson feels CCS courses work against the idea of teaching college-level writing. He puts it succinctly: “Reading, analyzing, and discussing the texts upon which the course rests are unlikely to leave room for any actual teaching of writing.” This is seemingly an unavoidable evil in a classroom setting. People usually learn to write by wanting to express some belief, ideal, or point of contention in their own way. Much of anyone’s writing is a form of “modeling” because, in truth, as children we wrote simply because we wanted to; it was new and we could use our own voice in diaries, journals, letters, and poems. All of that personal writing was ours and written for the sense of pleasure, and accomplishment it provided. In a classroom, it is more prudent to have a basic game plan or standard set by the teacher so everyone knows what is expected—writing must conform to certain limits (length, deadlines, framework) but not a repression of creativity or imagination. Fulkerson mentions the possibility of indoctrination which can be problematic in some situations. Teachers as well as students will have their opinions and should feel free to share; discretion, good judgment and respect must always be upheld on both sides of the learning process so as not to inhibit anyone’s creative flow.          
Being such a theatre enthusiast, I especially liked his section on the great Socratean writing tradition as I feel that has always been my personal impetus to write. “Knowing thyself” is often the result of writing down the turmoil I cannot yet voice. Once on paper, I can both find my voice and listen to others more sincerely. As Fulkerson admits, his essay is composed in the tradition of 1970’s composition which he calls” procedural rhetoric.” I too tend to write in a similar fashion, unintentionally trying to honor the classical issues: pathos, ethos, and logos. His reference to the WPA statement reinforces my naivety on the numerous changes that have taken place in the art of teaching writing; the thesis statement was never such a focal point in my earlier years as a student (probably pre-WPA). Writing for an audience was always understood, even as a fledgling student-writer. The need for argumentation makes sense as only through argument can conflict be resolved, leading to the desired denouement; conflicts create tension and are of interest---problems and solutions are the stuff of life and what we love to write-(and read)-about. Fulkerson also discusses a genre approach which utilizes a modernized version of classical Greek stasis theory; this seems rather limiting. After following all his points, both the benefits and deficits of this genre, he states, “The pedagogy is essentially the classical one of imitation.”  
This brings us back to how we began to write as young students, and how Aristotle set down the template in his Poetics. Fulkerson admits there is an internal controversy over the goal of teaching writing in college and what its intended outcomes should be.  His analysis seems quite thorough and his passion very real. The unification of the 1980’s seems disrupted as new ideas become apparent and vital; but that actually creates more material and conflicts to write about.

In Donald M. Murray’s “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product” many of the very ideals Fulkerson promotes are clearly exposed in their infancy. Written in 1972 (when I was in seventh grade) this was an open, encouraging approach to writing which seems very familiar to me. Many of these principles were employed by my teachers in seventh through eighth grade  and were visited again as a high-school senior in accelerated English (probably the forerunner to AP courses). Although we did not try peer review, we did work in small groups and were required to keep a daily journal. Finding our own subject was alowed for certain projects, and we were free to create at our own pace as long as the finished product was ready by the deadline (Implication No. 7). There were rules to follow to a certain extent, but if the product was done well,  thought through, and geared to a target auudience, it was acceptable and graded accordingly. This stimulated, for me, a desire to write and express myself—it was a great motivator. And Murray was completely correct in saying that, “what works one time may not another”(Implication No. 10). His assertion that these practices could be uccessfully incorporated into an English  class  are proven correct and they truly did create an environment of  viewing writing as a process—much like any other creative journey.                      

Fulkerson’s “Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century” and Murray’s "Teach Writing as a Process Not Product"



            My first impression of this piece: Fulkerson is frustrated with the lack of development and numerous disagreements about teaching composition to students. He observes correctly how the field—relatively new in relation to other genres of English studies—seemed to stop its progress with the advent of the millennium. The reasons for this untimely halt are related to new branches that have entered this field and with their emergence an alteration of the original goals. In 1990 Fulkerson felt optimistic and uplifted by the surge of advances in this “field” of study. “Good Writing” was considered language; ”Rhetorically effective for audience and situation.” The areas of conflict were expected—assignments, grading, readings, and teacher response but the goal was shared by all involved; the means to success were simply in transition.
            Fulkerson blames the addition of CCS—critical/ cultural studies—for creating new problems for the teacher. He also feels expressionism is taking over and finds the result is causing the rhetorical approach to split into three parts. By comparing two volumes on the subject, one published in 1980 at a highpoint of this trend and the other in 2001 when it is seemingly in conflict, he emphasizes the addition of too many new areas which create more confusion to this fairly new concept of teaching. It seems the simplicity of being able to write freely--within a loose framework--is complicated with each new addition to this writing landscape; the time factor is simply too rapid for these new ideas to become accepted norms. He poses four questions which represent a solid base on which to “erect a course” and it is a rather intriguing grid for any willing party to attempt to complete—he does not. I agree that cultural studies is the forerunner throughout the field with the feminist approach trailing close behind. And, of course, postcolonial gets an honorable mention as well. These approaches were not as commonly employed in a classroom setting in 1980 or before but are now considered a standard. I can only guess that in 2001 when Fulkerson was researching, revisiting, and writing about the rhetorical movement’s progress, this transition within the field was taking a firm hold.
            One key point of any writing is interpretation and how each new group of student-writers approach any or all topics assigned or suggested. Many topics are far afield of what we may consider “English” but in order to confidently interpret and/ or analyze, one needs to be capable of expressing their thoughts. Often, a juxtaposition or argument to emphasize and clarify one’s position can be the deciding factor for their target audience. I can, however, see why Fulkerson feels CCS courses work against the idea of teaching college-level writing. He puts it succinctly: “Reading, analyzing, and discussing the texts upon which the course rests are unlikely to leave room for any actual teaching of writing.” This is seemingly an unavoidable evil in a classroom setting. People usually learn to write by wanting to express some belief, ideal, or point of contention in their own way. Much of anyone’s writing is a form of “modeling” because, in truth, as children we wrote simply because we wanted to; it was new and we could use our own voice in diaries, journals, letters, and poems. All of that personal writing was ours and written for the sense of pleasure, and accomplishment it provided. In a classroom, it is more prudent to have a basic game plan or standard set by the teacher so everyone knows what is expected—writing must conform to certain limits (length, deadlines, framework) but not a repression of creativity or imagination. Fulkerson mentions the possibility of indoctrination which can be problematic in some situations. Teachers as well as students will have their opinions and should feel free to share; discretion, good judgment and respect must always be upheld on both sides of the learning process so as not to inhibit anyone’s creative flow.          
Being such a theatre enthusiast, I especially liked his section on the great Socratean writing tradition as I feel that has always been my personal impetus to write. “Knowing thyself” is often the result of writing down the turmoil I cannot yet voice. Once on paper, I can both find my voice and listen to others more sincerely. As Fulkerson admits, his essay is composed in the tradition of 1970’s composition which he calls” procedural rhetoric.” I too tend to write in a similar fashion, unintentionally trying to honor the classical issues: pathos, ethos, and logos. His reference to the WPA statement reinforces my naivety on the numerous changes that have taken place in the art of teaching writing; the thesis statement was never such a focal point in my earlier years as a student (probably pre-WPA). Writing for an audience was always understood, even as a fledgling student-writer. The need for argumentation makes sense as only through argument can conflict be resolved, leading to the desired denouement; conflicts create tension and are of interest---problems and solutions are the stuff of life and what we love to write-(and read)-about. Fulkerson also discusses a genre approach which utilizes a modernized version of classical Greek stasis theory; this seems rather limiting. After following all his points, both the benefits and deficits of this genre, he states, “The pedagogy is essentially the classical one of imitation.”  
This brings us back to how we began to write as young students, and how Aristotle set down the template in his Poetics. Fulkerson admits there is an internal controversy over the goal of teaching writing in college and what its intended outcomes should be.  His analysis seems quite thorough and his passion very real. The unification of the 1980’s seems disrupted as new ideas become apparent and vital; but that actually creates more material and conflicts to write about.

In Donald M. Murray’s “Teach Writing as a Process Not Product” many of the very ideals Fulkerson promotes are clearly exposed in their infancy. Written in 1972 (when I was in seventh grade) this was an open, encouraging approach to writing which seems very familiar to me. Many of these principles were employed by my teachers in seventh through eighth grade  and were visited again as a high-school senior in accelerated English (probably the forerunner to AP courses). Although we did not try peer review, we did work in small groups and were required to keep a daily journal. Finding our own subject was alowed for certain projects, and we were free to create at our own pace as long as the finished product was ready by the deadline (Implication No. 7). There were rules to follow to a certain extent, but if the product was done well,  thought through, and geared to a target auudience, it was acceptable and graded accordingly. This stimulated, for me, a desire to write and express myself—it was a great motivator. And Murray was completely correct in saying that, “what works one time may not another”(Implication No. 10). His assertion that these practices could be uccessfully incorporated into an English  class  are proven correct and they truly did create an environment of  viewing writing as a process—much like any other creative journey.                      

Weekly Response: Donald M. Murray’s "Teach Writing as a Process Not Product"



     I would find it incredibly difficult to argue against the idea that writing should be taught as a process. As pointed out by Donald M. Murray, the educator has gone through the proper training necessary to produce finished writing. The students are still learning, and should therefore not be expected to do the same. While it would be optimal for all ten of the implications set forth by Murray to be present in a classroom, the climate of today's educational system makes that impractical to the point of being impossible. By examining some of the implications mentioned in the article, I'd like to explore why with anecdotal evidence.

Implication 2- The student finds his own subject. 
     While the students are entirely capable of expanding on an idea and doing an incredible job, they are not always successful when left to choose their own. The possibility always exists that the student may choose a topic that sounds interesting to him at first, but ultimately leads nowhere. If this happens often enough, the student questions the teacher about potential topics until the topic ends up being assigned anyway.

     Another possibility thats exists is the topic that is chosen is not considered rigorous enough. With what might seem to be the most simple topic, a struggling student might be firing on all cylinders and knocking it out of the park. While those in the classroom may be aware of the learning that is occurring, an outsider (i.e. an administrator) might deem it inappropriate, irregardless of how much that student may be growing. I have seen too often the sacrifice of individual students for the sake of standardization.

Implication 4- The student should write all necessary drafts.
     This implication is tremendously effective when focusing on depth and not breadth. Unfortunately current curriculum looks to cover as much material as possible. Students who want to write another draft of a paper would simply be falling behind. This is unfortunate because the student would undoubtedly gain more out of perfecting one paper than doing slightly well on many.

     Murray also states that each draft should be "counted as equal to a new paper." This can pose problems to the majority of districts that now use computer based systems to run their schools. My district, for example, uses Infinite Campus. We record attendance and assignments in the web-based program, which is great for allowing parents to check on student performance through a parent portal. The system does not allow for assignments to be individually tailored to each student, so recording each new draft for whomever decides to do it would be a record keeping nightmare.

Implication 9- The students are individuals who must explore the process in their own way.
   
     
     In this closely-monitored standardized climate, allowing a student to work at his own pace would not go over too well. Setting SGO's would be impossible with so many students moving at so many different speeds. With some classes hitting as many as thirty-two students, during a five period day some teachers could see 160 unique kids.  I would think a situation such as this would lead to both teacher burnout, and also ineffective instruction.

     
                           


                I would not like to leave the reader with the impression that I don't agree with Murray, in fact I do. I believe that he was writing for not only different students, but also for a different educational climate. To give each student a tailored, hands-on approach to becoming a writer would definitely generate better writing skills in our students. Unfortunately, with how teachers are being evaluated and the pressure that is coming down on them from their own administrations, such an approach is too impractical to put into practice.        

Weekly Response: Donald M. Murray’s "Teach Writing as a Process Not Product"



     I would find it incredibly difficult to argue against the idea that writing should be taught as a process. As pointed out by Donald M. Murray, the educator has gone through the proper training necessary to produce finished writing. The students are still learning, and should therefore not be expected to do the same. While it would be optimal for all ten of the implications set forth by Murray to be present in a classroom, the climate of today's educational system makes that impractical to the point of being impossible. By examining some of the implications mentioned in the article, I'd like to explore why with anecdotal evidence.

Implication 2- The student finds his own subject. 
     While the students are entirely capable of expanding on an idea and doing an incredible job, they are not always successful when left to choose their own. The possibility always exists that the student may choose a topic that sounds interesting to him at first, but ultimately leads nowhere. If this happens often enough, the student questions the teacher about potential topics until the topic ends up being assigned anyway.

     Another possibility thats exists is the topic that is chosen is not considered rigorous enough. With what might seem to be the most simple topic, a struggling student might be firing on all cylinders and knocking it out of the park. While those in the classroom may be aware of the learning that is occurring, an outsider (i.e. an administrator) might deem it inappropriate, irregardless of how much that student may be growing. I have seen too often the sacrifice of individual students for the sake of standardization.

Implication 4- The student should write all necessary drafts.
     This implication is tremendously effective when focusing on depth and not breadth. Unfortunately current curriculum looks to cover as much material as possible. Students who want to write another draft of a paper would simply be falling behind. This is unfortunate because the student would undoubtedly gain more out of perfecting one paper than doing slightly well on many.

     Murray also states that each draft should be "counted as equal to a new paper." This can pose problems to the majority of districts that now use computer based systems to run their schools. My district, for example, uses Infinite Campus. We record attendance and assignments in the web-based program, which is great for allowing parents to check on student performance through a parent portal. The system does not allow for assignments to be individually tailored to each student, so recording each new draft for whomever decides to do it would be a record keeping nightmare.

Implication 9- The students are individuals who must explore the process in their own way.
   
     
     In this closely-monitored standardized climate, allowing a student to work at his own pace would not go over too well. Setting SGO's would be impossible with so many students moving at so many different speeds. With some classes hitting as many as thirty-two students, during a five period day some teachers could see 160 unique kids.  I would think a situation such as this would lead to both teacher burnout, and also ineffective instruction.

     
                           


                I would not like to leave the reader with the impression that I don't agree with Murray, in fact I do. I believe that he was writing for not only different students, but also for a different educational climate. To give each student a tailored, hands-on approach to becoming a writer would definitely generate better writing skills in our students. Unfortunately, with how teachers are being evaluated and the pressure that is coming down on them from their own administrations, such an approach is too impractical to put into practice.        

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.    

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.