Friday, February 9, 2007

To Quote Mina Shaughnessey

I've titled my blog "To Quote Mina Shaughnessey" because it seems that's what everyone does! I've noticed that in all my readings, there are many quotes from and direct references to Mina Shaughnessey and her work. From all of our readings so far, I would be bold enough to say that she is the author and creator of Basic Writing discourse. Even Bartholamae remarks on the "kind of saintly status given Mina Shaughnessey" (Halasek and Highberg ed. 171) It all stems from her work with Open Admissions and branches out from there in other's writings and critiques of her and her work. I, too, would like to quote Mina Shaughnessey now. I read one of her statements, not in one of her own books, but as a quote from the introduction to Representing the Other. Page xi quotes Shaughnessey as saying "Wherever the new students have arrived in substantial numbers English teachers have begun to realize that little in their background has prepared them to teach writing to someone who has not already learned how to do it". That's when the whole point of this hit me! It was like a revelation. Teachers at the college setting really aren't prepared to teach writing on this level. Most instructors expect their students to have already mastered basic grammar, spelling and punctuation. So that's what this class all this theory is really about! I'm learning how to give instruction to students such as these whereas before I would have not been prepared. This has brought a more personal approach to my thinking as how to best foster writing skills in what will someday be my own students. I believe I will even be more personally involved in the readings from here on out and I do not want to be one of these ill prepared teachers. I won't have an excuse after this class! Thanks Mina!

Works Cited:
Horner, Bruce and Min-Zhan Lu. Representing the Other Basic Writing and the Teaching of Basic Writing. National Council of Teachers of English, 1999

Halasek, Kay and Highberg, Nels P. ed. Landmark Essays on Basic Writing. Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Inc, 2001

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