Thursday, March 15, 2007

Beyond the Sentence

Here I am writing about Mina again. Perhaps I'll give you some variety next week (Dr. Cadle)!

Wow! That's a lot to swallow for one reading! Mina steps out of some of the practical and gives us some theory. I've chosen to comment on her writing as I enjoy the non-political tone that focuses solely on the education of the student. Of course, theory of education is always going to be somewhat political; but hers is not written in contradiction of anyone else's ideas. This chapter is where the spirit of writing is explored, not just the mechanics. Writing becomes an entire process with technicality and inspiration combined. She details an interesting idea of using charts to improve or elaborate on ideas! Who wuda thunk it? These charts are, in essence, "conceptual maps of where he is going or where he has been." (249)
Back to her spirit, I'd like to point out her unwavering belief in the student. She points out that the BW is actually quite capable of coming up with idea and purpose just as well as the experienced writer; he is just not able to bring it to completion. The only differences "lie in the style and extent of elaboration." (226) Even disorderly papers of basic wirters have their conventional logic, just expressed in non-academic models. (237) This is refreshing and, I believe, could possibly be the basis for any and all effective pedagogy-do away with all of the angry political rhetoric regarding the repressed minority and replace it with a fundamental belief in the student, whatever their class or race, and many of the same results can be achieved. (Yes, I'm expecting comments on that last statement and that's ok).

Work Cited:
Shaughnessey, Mina. Errors and Expectations. OUP:New York, 1977.


bluegypsy said...

Yes! I agree. I like it when people focus on the main thing: the student. That's where it all begins and ends. I can't stand politics, though I know they're necessary for change. But it seems rare to see any good change coming from the political arena. As I mentioned in my blog this week, "Teachers know best" because we're on the front lines. Anyway, go Mina!

Gabe Isackson said...

"Keep the main thing, the main thing," my principals favorite quote. I agree that many more writers can be reached by a focus on their ability. Unfortunately we are limited by the requirements and expectations of a curriculum and a performance level if the student is to progress. As teachers know too well curriculum and requirements are dictated down and the teacher is seldom asked for input. I think "what they don't know doesn't hurt them" and the freedom of the teacher in the classroom, that is diminishing, is the freedom they need for knew ideas and practices.