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ERIC Number: ED361694
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Pages: 15
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Dark and Bloody Mystery: Building Basic Writers' Confidence.
Sledd, Robert
While the roots of students' fear of writing go deep, students fear most the surface of writing. They fear that a person's language indicates the state not only of the mind but of the soul--thus their writing can make them look stupid and morally depraved. This fear of error and lack of confidence prevent students from developing a command of the written language and results in superficial treatment of superficial ideas. Using an inductive approach to analyzing writing can help students conquer the fear of surface errors that prevents them from tackling complex ideas in their work. An inductive approach which involves class discussion that analyzes samples of strong and weak writing has several benefits: (1) disagreement about which revision the class prefers undermines the notion that writing is "right" or "wrong," good" or "bad"; (2) students get reinforcement of the idea that writing involves choices among multiple alternatives, not a binary choice between "right" and "wrong"; (3) describing differences among alternative revisions and the original dispells the notions that the mysteries of writing are inaccessible to students; (4) discussion and description of the paragraphs make it necessary to get concepts like subject, verb, dependent clause under control; (5) the frequency of surface errors in student writing decreases; and (6) students begin to do more substantive stylistic revision to their own writing with the result that the content of their essays also improves. (Handouts intended to aid students in analyzing their own own and others' writing are presented in four attached appendixes.) (SAM)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A