ERIC Number: ED363876
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Oct
Reference Count: N/A
Risks and Opportunities of Writing from Personal Experience.
McCarthey, Sarah J.
This paper uses two case studies to explore the risk and opportunities of writing from students' personal experiences. Anthony, a high-achieving, Hispanic fifth-grader, and Anita, a low-achieving, African-American sixth-grader, participated in a writing workshop in which students kept notebooks of their personal experiences and reflections. The two examples provide a means to explore both the risks and opportunities of writing from personal experiences. Anthony's piece reflects some benefits associated with writing from personal experiences, including features such as: (1) authenticity; (2) allowing the writer to develop a voice; (3) potential audience engagement; and (4) the potential therapeutic value. However, Anita's case reveals potential risks, including: unintended consequences from what is revealed; possibilities of limiting students' voice and opportunities to explore other genres; potential cultural conflicts; lack of readiness for some students to reveal emotional issues to peers or the teacher; and a misunderstanding of the role of autobiographical writing in professional authors' work. Implications of the paper suggest that researchers and teachers may need to be cautious about embracing a genre of writing without considering potentially painful outcomes for some students. Nineteen references and appendixes are attached which describe the methods used in the study and present a story and a poem by Anita. (Author/RS)
Descriptors: Audience Awareness, Case Studies, Elementary School Students, Hispanic American Students, Hispanic Americans, Intermediate Grades, Personal Writing, Writing Assignments, Writing Research, Writing Workshops
National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, 116 Erickson Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1034 ($6.94).
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for Research on Teacher Learning, East Lansing, MI.