Friday, October 30, 2015

"Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers" by Nancy Sommers and "Teach the Motivating Force of Revision" by Donald Murray

      I picture a bumbling husband trying to pay his wife a compliment but it comes out sounding all wrong. Every attempt he makes to clarify what he meant only makes it worse. Sitcoms have used this for years to get a cheap laugh, and it works because what Sommers says is true- you can't revise speech. All you can do is add to what someone has already heard you say.

     The idea of your new statement erasing the old is humorous and used in comedic situations. But it's also used in more serious situations as well. Have you ever heard an attorney make ask a question or make a point when questioning a witness on Law and Order (I know you have, everybody loves that show)? If it's something inappropriate or outside of the rules, the judge will instruct the jury to forget what they just heard. But we, like the offending lawyer, know that this is impossible to do.

     I can really appreciate the fact that the experienced writers have a completely different view of revision than the student writers. The younger group refused to even use the word revision, and it seems like they didn't want to do more than change words instead of ideas that don't work.

     They are extremely comparable to my students who can't believe that what they scribbled down in a few minutes isn't actually that great. The experienced writers knew that sometimes you have to throw things out and start fresh. I especially like the writer who said that he/she never fell in love with something he/she wrote because it cornered him/her.

     I also agree with Murray that the instructor should write along with the students. It's something I try to do whenever possible. I sit at a student desk among them and work. I don't know if I'm concentrating on my work too much, but they seem to be doing just the same. Unless, of course, I'm so engrossed in writing that I don't hear them goofing off. But I have noticed a difference between those times compared to times I don't also write. It's as if it motivates the students. The general is fighting on the front lines.

     I do feel that since starting the program, my instruction of student writing has become much better. I can't say it's received as well as I hope it is, but I know it's being delivered much clearer than in the past.

     For the final project, I'm excited to hear other ideas that people have in regard to the vignettes. This is due mainly to me not having the slightest notion if my idea is any good or not. I sense it will be changing because it's too problematic. I fell in love with something, but it has me cornered. I really like Laura's idea of "Writing Matters". If we each relate our vignette to how writing matters to us, that would fit thematically.

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