Hey, again, fellow classmates ~
Interestingly enough, I understood the content in this chapter and found it quite interesting, even though Professor Zamora said to prepare for an academic read that might make ya snooze (lol). I mentally prepared myself to somehow read this chapter unconsciously but rather was intrigued by the historical upbringing of a controversial subject that I’m studying to teach. I also found myself consumed by the content as I’m doing my discussion lead presentation on the writing process (formulaic writing) and all the problems intertwined in that pedagogical style on teaching students how to successfully write. Lauer’s analysis and gathered research on Rhetoric and Composition led a hand to my understanding to why students hate writing and struggle to invent, create, and revise to this day.
I’d like to take some time to focus on how members of the field of Rhetoric and Composition challenged writing as a “product,” and the alternative ways for teachers to respond to this finished “product” of student writing. The main problem is viewing writing as a “finished product” because writing is never finished. From my understanding as an amateur writer, writing tends to be limitless and recursive. WRITING NEVER ENDS! Just because the editing stage of the writing process is complete does not equal finished writing. Writing is certainly a mental challenge that needs to be practiced and polished along the way, and even in the far future. Writing can always be revised and edited at any time. There is no “correct” way to go about writing, editing, and revising, as theories are still being researched and published to this very day. Think about it, all this extensive theoretical research in Lauer’s chapter began around the 1960’s and 1970’s. That’s not ancient research, ya’ll!
While reading, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of creative expression in the history behind the field of Rhetoric and Composition. Little instructional attention was provided to help students get started, investigate and test ideas, consider audience, revise, and receive and understand their feedback. The issue with the linear and reductive conception of the composing process is that it emphasizes an endpoint to writing, even if it does not intend to. Modern writing teachers preach about diving back into your writing to edit and revise whenever needed but contradict this belief by giving students a final, rigid grade with little emphasis on personal feedback (Lauer 12). What does this teach the student? Ultimately and unfortunately, it teaches the student to despise writing and to doubt their ideas as they were trained to ingest and analyze what constitutes writing as “good” and “bad,” and to submit a final, finished writing product that will be judged, and criticized in a way that highlights mistakes over creative content (Lauer 13).
The root of the problem begins with the writing teachers as “many [of them] are unfamiliar with the [theories on discourse,] modes, and genre because they have not been educated in the field of Rhetoric and Composition” (Lauer 10). This is not the teachers fault as research and theories were not being investigated and published at the time, they were a student. This is positive news, though, because it demonstrates that the recipients of student writing noticed a lack of depth, purpose, and connection, concluding that writing instruction is surface-level and not meaning-based. If teachers subject their students to a one-way-avenue of writing and revising, are they ultimately telling their students that an aspect of their authentic selves is not “smart enough” for school? Hmmmm. . .
Thank goodness gracious for the introduction of intentional pedagogies like meditation and reflection, observational-scenic writing, the double-notebook, journaling, drawing as pre-writing, analogies, and other forms of expressive writing techniques. Teachers can even integrate yogic practices and breathing exercises into their writing lessons to ease the tension of judgment that has lingered over the field for decades. Processes as those listed above will guarantee students the opportunity to use their language and tongue of dialect in a school setting without harsh judgment. This way, students can not only enjoy the process of writing, but they are pushed to find their own version of the writing process and find their authentic voice along the way (Lauer 11).
I feel as though writing teachers focus too much on the writing process rather than practicing writing. As I said earlier, writing is a mental phenomenon that involves practice to master; although, I doubt one will ever truly master writing. Hmmm, I’m going to ask ya’ll . . . Do you think writing as a practice can be mastered? Would a Pulitzer Prize, NY TIMES Best Selling author answer “yes” to such a question?
In my opinion, I. don’t. think. So. !!!!!
© (2006). Lauer. National Council of Teachers of English. Rhetoric and Composition