Reading the articles for this week’s reading on writing was interesting to me. I found them interesting because not only did I find a connection with the articles, but also because I came into agreement with various of the arguments and concepts being stressed.
First off, the article of Teaching Writing as Process Not Product, by Donald Murray, talks in detail about many teachers of writing teach this subject to their students and how they evaluate the writings. In this case, teachers often treat writing as a product and many times not a process, where their skills are normally honed and focused on the examining of literature. The focus on the writing of the students is based on what they have done and not so much on what they are doing, and how they are going about it (process). Students are similarly graded with this in mind, where their overall product is examined for a grade (grammar, correct vocabulary depending on the assignment, and others).
After talking about this, the article touched on the counter-argument that it should be like this, and that the writing of students should be seen as a process by teachers. And in this sense, teachers should listen then respond to their students writing. They also should respect the students writing not by standard grading measures, but rather by their engagement to their writing.
This is an argument that is easy for me to relate to as a student of writing, mainly because in the past, I have found myself many times being victim of inaccurate evaluation (of my writing) by a few teachers and professors. And I wished that my writing had been looked at in another way when being evaluated. During those these times, my writings (mostly academic papers) were evaluated in a manner that I felt was a bit unfair. More often than not, the person evaluating my works seemed to be paying more attention to mindless things, such as grammar, type of words used (which by the way, it my own built vocabulary), . But my overall message or context was often not taken into account as much. If I had to give it a percentage, I would say my message and context was the focus in their evaluations about 20%, while about 80% was focused on other factors. This was the case with one of my papers recently for a class of communication I am taking this semester. It was a 4 page paper, and after I receiving it back from my professor, I noticed how much he had circled, and X (ed) my sentences. But such correction, I felt, were not addressing my argument and message in the writing. It was more like: you didn’t write this sentence the way I would have, as your professor; you didn’t use the word or vocabulary I want you to use; you gave me more details and explanation that I wanted; you…. (the list goes on and on). The, he marked me a grade of in the back of my paper, which I felt should have been a bit higher.
So, yes, I have to find myself agreeing with this article on this topic of how often the student’s papers are treated (product) and how they are evaluated. It’s hard not to agree, when you are victim of it various times as a writing student.
In addition, I also found a connection with the other article of Bad Ideas About Writing (Writer’s Block Just Happens To People). This one seems to be on a different topic of writing, yet I was able to still find a connection to the first one. Despite being an article that I found to wanders off with ideas all over the place, there is a message which is argued. This message is one on how to deal with writer’s block: you facilitate writing by embracing the “blank page” and by playing with words and names. And by doing so, you negate the problem of writer’s block. This is because you will get into a writing process by actively writing or working with writing. This process is what I found in connection with the previous article. And it helps remind me that even when dealing with other issues of writing, you are still caught in a process. This process can be seen in so many ways. Some of my examples are when working on a major writing project. At first, I must brainstorm ideas and come up with a chosen subject, topic, decide on my audience, and so on. But doing so, might not come fast sometimes, and might require me to come juggle my ideas until I have what I want. And once this is done, then I work on the crafting of my writing. This part is not as simple as just grabbing a piece of paper and writing on it. Sometimes my ideas don’t come to me easily, while other times I need to feel inspired by something which will help facilitate my writing. Another example is that of when I’m stuck on my writing and I can’t generate any ideas or my writing just doesn’t seem to flow because I’m experiencing writer’s block. Often, I try practices like free writing to get out of it, but other times I simply need to just walk away from my paper and come back the next time. Other times, all I have to do is simply follow on a set amount of steps, which I have gotten used to from previous crafted works.
In this sense, I can see my own writing as a process; one that varies each time depending on certain conditions. As I have covered all of this, it is easy for me to see why writing should be regarded, taught to students, and treated as such. It is sometimes long, complex, and ever-changing, and it takes each individual though a different writing journey or experience.