Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries by, Peter Elbow
“Voice is an important dimension of texts and we should pay lots of attention to it. Everyone has a real voice and can write with power. Writing with a strong voice is good writing. Sincere writing is good writing. My voice is my true self and my rhetorical power. The goals of teaching writing is to develop the self.” Ever since I could remember I have always been a writer, a professional writer, sure depending on who is reading. I have always considered myself a writer who writes in her own voice, in her strong voice. I personally get turned off by the writers who use every ten letter hard to pronounce word in the dictionary to make themselves sound smarter than their reader. I personally find it an annoyance when I have to stop and look up every other word to get through a sentence to fully understand what usually turns out to be something very simple. But then again that’s just my personal sentiments. My voice holds a lot of power because all of my writing is genuine and pure. No nonsense and no fluff added in the tone my writing, since I first picked up a pen and placed it on to paper my voice has been very clear. To know me is to know my writing because they are the same narrator. I always imagine what type of instructor I would become, and it always comes back to the same thing. I will push my students to find their voice and perfect it.
“In their fascination with voice, they sometimes seemed to want a voice that was true or right in itself, fitting the writer or speaker- not just a voice that is appropriate to the audience or genre.” Immediately I thought two things once reading this; 1. once you familiarize yourself with an author you tend to fall in love with their voice based on what you read, and how the story they created was told. There are a million different fairytales about two people falling in love with others attempting to stand in their way. But there are only a few versions that stick out to you. “When readers hear a voice in a piece of writing, they are often more drawn to read it- and that audible voice often makes the words easier to understand.” And 2. we all can fake the funk with certain things, but readers usually can tell when they are reading a bunch of fluff, am I right?
I found it extra interesting that a good writer was connected to being a good person. It almost felt like in the way your voice comes across in your writing is a reflection of your true personality. Which I can somewhat agree with, unless we are writing about things that are either researched based or developing characters from scratch. Even though your voice and style will most likely come out one way or another. Oddly enough in my many many years of education I haven’t had too many lessons on voice. Perhaps my instructors were so focused on grammar and research based theories that the importance of voice was overlooked. It brought me a little joy to know that this article mentioned voice being alive within classrooms. In my opinion voice is one of the larger parts of why writing is so magical.
Elbow pointed out how many language or English historians were very strict on the right vs wrong way to write. This I found a little controversial considering we are discussing voice. What I mean is how can there be an incorrect way to write in ones voice? What would be the science behind that? I do agree with Elbow when he addresses that we as readers and writers have a choice about how we think about the written language. I know some people won’t agree with this statement but to me writing isn’t like math, what I mean is no matter what or how there can only be one correct answer. With writing there are so many ways and rhythms that can be formulated to get your point or story across, which for me is also under the umbrella of voice. “My Premise is that, if we acknowledge the realm of time- seeing how it can trump logic- we don’t have to choose only one approach or create a watery compromise, but rather can easily follow contradictory advice.”
This article was pretty nice to read, I am personally a huge fan of voice and the supporters of knowing the importance of carrying your voice in your work. From the metaphor of voice to voice based responses I loved how this highlighted the ways students of writing can improve their work through voice.
The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children.
This piece takes a different approach to voice, in my opinion. This is more of an understanding of voices that you might not be accustomed to. When I first read this it seemed it was a little heads up, helpful guide for educators to be ready and open to the different types of students they might be teaching. However, I feel a lot of this was implying that black students need to be taught differently than white students, and I 100% disagree with that. I will even go as far as saying kids of different classes shouldn’t be taught different, in my opinion that is a part of the problem in society and our school systems. But don’t get that with confused with students being on different education levels solely based on race and or class from no other proof than prejudgment. I have been and probably will always be the product of being judged, underestimated, overlooked, and treated differently because of the color of my skin. I am rolling my eyes even typing this because the thought of me being taught differently than my white classmates is an issue.
Some of the points I did agree with were. “ Black children expect an authority figure to act with authority. When the teacher instead acts as a ‘chum’ the message sent is that this adult has no authority, and the children act accordingly.” This goes back to a discussion I had in another class on who is the authority to us, as stated before usually in the black household you are raised to respect elders, leaders, family. Respect as in, they aren’t giving you an option to take a bath, do your homework or whatever else they are telling you to do. You just do it because they said so, and don’t even think about talking back. Therefore, in this case the leader would be the teacher, they have the authority. We are taught to act a certain way while in school. Now if the teacher doesn’t stand up and show that authority from the first day of school you will have students that will test those limits. I personally wouldn’t deem that to be a black issue, I think that’s just how some kids want to test the waters.
Something that made me think BINGO was when Delpit stated, “ But of course the teacher may not view the problem as residing in herself but in the student, and the child may once again become the behavior disordered black boy in special education.” I hate that this was probably one of the realest things said in this piece, this unfortunately is not only the case in the classroom but in everyday life, with everyday scenarios. Why does it always have to be the black student who needs special attention, or they suggest ADHD medication ( that’s a whole other topic) Why can’t it for once be the teachers approach or methods that is causing the student to be unfocused or not fully understanding the course load based on how it is being taught? I could go on and on and on about the things I agreed with and the things I didn’t based on my own personal black experience. I think this goes back a few weeks ago when we discussed the students being more engaged can be because of the delivery from the teacher and how they may or may not be really connecting to the students interests. “She is boring, she could do something creative. Instead she just stands there. She can’t control the class, doesn’t know how to control the class.” I just want to close this with stating I am in no way placing the blame 100% on educators, but I do think its a helpful idea to get to know your students beyond a surface level in order to properly instruct them.