ERIC Number: ED393110
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Expanding Their Repertoire: The Role of Personal Writing in Developing School-Sponsored Essays.
Personal narrative writing can be encouraged and used effectively in classes and in in-service workshops because it is accessible, because the writers may use their own voices, because they can tell their own stories, and because it helps them to make sense of their own experiences. However strong the case made for this form, though, there are always those who believe that personal essays do not prepare students for the rigors of argumentative writing. Although some students do have trouble making the transition between the two types of writing, these types are similar in many respects and with the right coaching the transition can be made. Personal writing is helpful to students because it moves them beyond many of their perceptions about school writing: namely, that is must fit a prescribed formula; that it involves no real inquiry or personal interest; that it is a pure form, containing none of what is found in personal writing. To challenge these assumptions, a writing course should be based on a number of carefully structured personal essay assignments. Students learn that argument is in fact a strong element in most personal essays; and conversely, that personal interest and experience are strong elements in argumentative writing. Educators must create classroom conditions that teach students to make sense of their own experiences that offer them strategies for discovering their own ideas, subjects, and structures. (Handouts contain cartoons and information about writing.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing Development
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of English (85th, San Diego, CA, November 16-21, 1995).