Sunday, March 11, 2012


I know i talk about it almost every chance that i get in class, but writing has always been important to me. the reference i wrote our past paper on is about exactly that as well. it spoke mostly about how little writing is done in the classroom anymore, to the point that it startled me. i didn't realize the extent to which writing has been kind of blown off to make more time for the other two "R"'s (reading and arithmetic) mostly because of the standardized testing that takes place in schools now. i feel that's really wrong to do. so i pose a question: does anyone else feel we need to have a revolution of the standards? because writing properly is one of the most valuable skills someone can have no matter what feild theyre in.


  1. This is kind of what I wrote my further research paper on, how students see the importance of writing but we fail to make them really write. On an average day, they barely write a full page and their longest papers barely reach 2-5 pages. I agree that more emphasis should be put on writing but it is hard to say which other "R" to put less emphasis on.

  2. Yes, definitely. I always reread my friends' papers and I'm shocked at how little structure they have within them. Also, I feel the fact that the 5 paragraph essay and rules such as don't use "I" or "you" which are engrained in the brains of students really have negative affects on their papers as a whole. Rather than teaching so strongly to how a student should write during a standardized test, I think more variety of writing should be implemented in the classroom.

  3. I think that revolutionizing the standards has become almost a necessary fix to what has come with the lack of writing with ELA classrooms. It is truly a shame with what has become of writing. You would think that ELA teachers would push writing but they don't. I completely agree with you Dan.

  4. Dan,

    2 things.

    1. I wish you were taking Practicum: Teaching Writing in the fall, because we will address this issue.

    2. I have a study I would love to show you. Researchers observed, I think, 17 teachers in classrooms for a few weeks and reported on the type of tasks students do in the classroom. Writing was very, very low. if you remind me...i will find this for you.

    I think one of the problems is the amount of time a teacher needs to spend with a student. I also don't think that students (or many teachers) distinguish between "revision" and "proofreading." I think of writing as a process...and that it involves a lot of starting and stopping. and looking at what you wrote. I am a HUGE fan of the quickwrite, because it gets ideas out. I often tell my College Writing students that they might write a whole page or two, only to get a few sentences out of it.

    I also use the metaphor of filmmaking to compare to writing. A director will shoot 8 times the footage he or she needs. Each time anything can mess up. An actor or actress can forget a line. The sound wasn't recorded. The camera op messes up. Etc. So they shoot a scene multiple times. Then they take the best takes and use those. i think the same can apply to writing. I asked my interpreting lit students to write a thesis statement in class. Then i asked them to share with a partner. Then I asked them to write an even BETTER one. (i did this three times.) It's amazing that when we KEEP writing, it improves.

    I just think the mentality of many students is to get it all out in a final draft, and while that may work in some genres, like the blogs, it doesn't always work in academic work.