Teaching in the 21st Century: Adapting Writing Pedagogies to the College Curriculum

By Alice Robertson; Barbara Smith | Go to book overview

From reading other people's writing I realized that this is not high school anymore. There is no exact formula to writing an “A” paper.

I was always afraid to share my work, but I feel that this class has broken me from that old habit. Now, I'd rather share it with someone because then I'll know whether or not I got my point across.

This class has opened my writing abilities up. I'm not afraid to write in here and share my papers. Everyone in this class has made me feel comfortable about myself and my work.

Writing is different [in this class] than in any other class because you actually have to think and revise and rewrite. With other classes you read, take notes, you understand and then you take a test.

I have learned that you can never really be satisfied with the essays when finished with them. Even when I am turning in the final papers I still wish I could add a little bit more or subtract something out.

I have never had someone of my own age give me ideas, make comments, or give constructive criticism. The circle gave the group a familylike atmosphere—everyone was attentive, patient, and sincere. In my entire life I can say I have not had a more caring and compassionate class than this one.

From my perspective, McLaren and Bruffee are correct that individual classrooms are cultures which we construct together with our students. If you attempt to construct the kind of collaborative culture I have described, eventually you will have to deal with assumptions in traditional educational practice that conflict with your new culture—not the least of which will be notions of comparative, competitive grading. But, the literature of composition studies, as one resource among several, offers rationales and strategies for dealing with grading and other troublesome issues. Those rationales and strategies have supported my teaching and enhanced my students' acquisition of academic knowledge and I wouldn't let anything force me back on dry land, up onto the dais, behind the podium.


NOTES
1
John Dewey, Experience and Education (New York: Macmillan, 1938); and Louise Rosenblatt, Literature as Exploration, 7th ed. (New York: Modern

-178-

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