Hearing Ourselves Think: Cognitive Research in the College Writing Classroom

By Barbara M. Sitko; Ann M. Penrose | Go to book overview
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students are to read in the role of writers, we need to give them opportunities to write -- to enter conversations.

Finally, we can share with students transcripts of think-aloud protocols and retrospective accounts such as those discussed in the previous section. By reading transcripts, students can see how others translate a set of strategies flexibly into actions they can take in reading to write. In this way, students are encouraged to reflect upon their own decision-making process as readers and writers relative to how others make decisions, set goals, and choose certain paths. Perhaps most important, students can help us generate new knowledge about how a sense of authorship can inform reading.


In learning to mine texts, students recognize that the choices and decisions they make as writers vary according to the social context in which they write. This is an important distinguishing feature between the notion of mining texts and other pedagogical approaches that treat writing as invariable across different social situations. Moreover, the notion of mining texts embodies a valued process that can enable students to fulfill the cycle of literacy. Such a cycle enables them to be more than "deferentially literate" ( Newkirk, 1982), that is, politely observing what other authors have accomplished in their writing. Instead, students are given the promise of contributing as authors.

Portions of this chapter are included in Greene ( 1992) and appear with permission. This earlier piece includes a more complete analysis of the theoretical issues raised here.
For a discussion of the validity of think-aloud protocols, please see the Appendix at the end of this volume.
See Greene & Higgins (in press) and the Appendix for a discussion of the reliability of retrospective accounts.


Applebee A. ( 1984). Contexts for learning to write. Norwood, NJ: Ablex.

Atwell N. ( 1985). "Writing and reading from the inside out." In J. Hansen, T. Newkirk, & D. Graves (Eds.), Breaking ground. Teachers relate reading and writing in the elementary school (pp. 147-165). Exeter, NH: Heinemann Educational Books.

Atwell N. ( 1987). In the middle. Writing, reading, and learning with adolescents. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.

Barnes D. ( 1976). From communication to curriculum. Hammondsworth, UK: Penguin.

Bartholomae D. ( 1985). "Inventing the university". In M. Rose (Ed.), When a writer can't write (pp. 134-165). New York: Guilford.

Bazerman C. ( 1980). "A relationship between reading and writing: The conversational model". College English, 41, 656-661.


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