ERIC Number: ED340015
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991
Reference Count: 0
A Goodly Fellowship of Writers and Readers. Concept Paper No. 4.
Writing is at the heart of education. The business of English teachers is to make people more comfortable in using language, particularly written language. Language serves two broad functions: (1) representing elements of external reality; and (2) defining relationships among the people who use the language. The writer's first need is to use the language to control, not eliminate, experience. The teacher's problem is to recognize where a student stands between the raw materials of life and the formulae of language. Assigning students to focus on autobiographical events is advantageous in that the events are subject to many levels of treatment, while still being based on student knowledge. Teachers may call upon student writers to make the leap from personal experience to abstraction, but the weak writer may merely paraphrase what others have written previously. Peer-directed writing emphasizes the difference between the writer's intention and the awareness of the reader. The teacher can make inferences from a student's writing errors about the student's mental processes, and can then provide feedback to the student. The teacher's goal is not to give information but to lead students to understand how language defines their relationships to other people and the external world, balancing the relationships among writer, reader, external reality, and means of signification. Errors regarding variations in usage, dialect, decorum, relationship, and tact all can send signals to the reader. To the student writer, the teacher should represent the audience--the fellowship of all who live by language. (SG)
Descriptors: Audience Awareness, Elementary Secondary Education, Higher Education, Reader Response, Teacher Role, Teacher Student Relationship, Writing Assignments, Writing Improvement, Writing Instruction, Writing Processes
National Council of Teachers of English, 1111 Kenyon Rd., Urbana, IL, 61801 (Stock No. 18585).
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL.
Identifiers: English Teachers
Note: NCTE Concept Paper Series. Revised version of paper presented at the English Coalition Conference (Wye Mills, MD, July 12, 1987).