ERIC Number: ED284290
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Significance of Significance in Structure.
One of the goals of writing instruction is to teach students to develop coherence in their writing; however, writing instruction that relies too heavily on logical connections and organizational techniques often introduces so many rules that students lose their personal connection to what they write. Coherence has less to do with structure than with perceiving writing as an expression of the writer's life. In terms of creating coherence, by emphasizing the logical relationships and ignoring the writer's sense of significance about what he or she is saying, instructors are leading students away from the point of organizing the writing from the strongest base they have for making sense to themselves, let alone the reader. Looking at actual pieces of writing reveals that structure does not make a text coherent, rather a sense that the author has linked sentences that belong together because they are important to him or her. Even in academic writing, an author's sense of what best fits into the field and is important to make the intended point is linked by a common thread of the author's interest (even when emotion is carefully eliminated from the text). Students must be made aware that the emotional detachment of academic prose is an illusion--the opinions, evaluations, and emotions are only disguised. Showing students that organizing their work around their own sense of significance about what they are saying will help them become better writers. Grading for significance is not easy, but teachers can use many pre-writing activities to help students mature as writers of coherent prose. (SKC)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Author Text Relationship; Text Organization
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (38th, Atlanta, GA, March 19-21, 1987).