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ERIC Number: ED360633
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Voice of One's Own: Born, Achieved, or Thrust upon One?
O'Leary, Maureen E.
As Langston Hughes' poem, "Theme for English B" recognizes, it is difficult for beginning writing students to develop a writing voice that is personal, yet expresses an awareness of context and community. Each writer/student potentially has three voices: (1) the voice students are born to, which reflects socio-economic and cultural background, ethnicity, race, and gender; (2) the voice students find thrust upon them as they become members of specific discourse communities; and (3) the voice students achieve through the process of education and academic practice. A writing teacher can help students through the developmental stages necessary to acquire a personal writing voice by calling attention to the link between voice and identity and by exploring the difference between public and private identities and voices. Examining the distorting, developing, squelching, humiliating, and exhilarating process of being educated that students are currently undergoing enables students to talk about the struggle to mediate between what they were born with or into and what they had thrust upon them. Talking to themselves and to their past selves, to each other, and to the instructor encourages students to see the development of a personal voice as a process, not an end. Instructors need to remind students that their voices, like their identities, are fluid, complex, and multiple. (SAM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A