ERIC Number: ED236620
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Mar-19
Reference Count: 0
A Contextualized Perspective on Developmental Writing.
Collins, James L.
Although theories on developmental writing assume that basic writers do not write well because of cognitive deficits, recent research and classroom experience suggest that poor writers lack skill because they have not had sufficient contextually meaningful practice. Writing research indicates that the unskilled writer's tendency to write as if they were talking is not the result of a speech-dependent stage of writing development, but is the product of poorly constructed writing tasks, tasks calling out context-dependent, cryptic, and ill-formed writing from everyone. Furthermore, the experience of skilled writers suggests that the speech dependent stage of writing development is never outgrown--whenever the solitary act of writing about challenging topics becomes too difficult, writers of all calibers express the need to talk about their work. As writing is significant only when it is part of a meaningful context, the value of assigning papers that have no contextual meaning for students is questionable. Although teachers may provide the cue for writing, they must let students determine the context and the text and then help the students transform these into academically acceptable writing. (MM)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Practitioners; Teachers
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Developmental Writing
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (34th, Detroit, MI, March 17-19, 1983).