The Winds of Change: Thomas Kuhn and the Revolution in the Teaching of Writing by Maxine Hairston
“The traditional paradigm. First, its adherents believe that competent writers know what they are going to say before they begin to write; thus their most important task when they are preparing to write is finding a form into which to organize their content. They also believe that the composing is linear, that it proceeds systematically from prewriting to writing to rewriting. Finally, they believe that teaching editing is teaching writing.”
No. No. And No. Everybody learns differently; everybody writes differently. This is such an orderly view of the creative act of writing. Some people do better with brainstorming and then drafting and then doing the final copy while others do better just writing as if it’s the final copy and then editing it once everything is on paper. This traditional paradigm didn’t even grow out of research or experimentation! Lastly, we all know that teaching editing is not the same as teaching writing, it’s teaching editing. To teach to write, we have to give feedback and focus more on what is in the piece of writing and how it is presented rather than “red pen syndrome” where we only make corrections of grammar and spelling.
“the participants deemphasized the formal teaching of grammar and usage in the classroom and emphasized having children engage directly in the writing process in a non-prescriptive atmosphere.”
Yes! Handbooks and revising papers do not solve our writing problems. We need to DIRECTLY engage our students in writing and allow them to think creatively and so on. We need less grammar worksheets and sentence combining and more WRITING.
“Writing is an act of discovery for both skilled and unskilled writers; most writers have only a partial notion of what they want to say when they begin to write, and their ideas develop in the process of writing.”
Writing is messy. It is not a linear process. We need to teach our students that no, they will not get it right on the first try, and probably not the second try either, but they need to keep with it!
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