ERIC Number: ED333461
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Negotiation, Authority and Confidence: Freshmen Writers Collaborate.
Collaborative writing is a "messy" process which reveals much about the ways students struggle to write alone as well as with others. Two sections of an undergraduate college writing class were assigned a collaborative essay, to be written in small groups. In many groups, students could not negotiate or communicate with each other. The process notes of six students in two such "dysfunctional" groups reveal some student strategies for negotiating authority in co-writing groups, and suggest what those strategies mean for these writers as individuals. One of the most difficult tasks for first-year students is making the leap between writing that is purely expressive, and writing which is analytic. The problem is not that students are unable to think in these ways; rather, it may be that they do not see that this kind of thinking is applicable to their own writing. For most students, opinion and emotion are much the same thing, so negotiating about writing makes very little sense. Their inability to work with each other thus helps to explain their difficulties when faced with individual writing tasks which ask them to interpret information or construct arguments. Discussion of the difficulties collaboration entails could be a way to make critical thinking seem more real for the students, and suggest ways by which they can, through negotiating with each other, begin to write beyond the rather claustrophobic confines of "self." Whatever its frustrations, writing with others can teach students a great deal about the writing they do as individuals. (PRA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).