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ERIC Number: ED370124
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-Mar-17
Pages: 7
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Students' Perceptions of "Creative" Writing: A Hidden Barrier to Educational Reform?
Dunn, Patricia A.
In questionnaires given at the end of a freshmen writing course at the Utica College of Syracuse University, students characterized much of the writing they did for their portfolios as "fun" or "enjoyable." What they meant by this is not entirely clear, but it seems that since they chose what types of papers they would include in their portfolios--whether they were narratives, summaries, short stories, or short research projects--and since they found the revision of these papers fun, these activities could not possibly be "real" or "formal" academic training. In these evaluations, in other words, the students trivialized the enjoyable work they did because they have internalized what John S. Mayher has called the "castor oil syndrome," the belief that all "real" learning must be both boring and difficult. One misconception inherent in this myth is that expressive form of writing is without value, despite the work of James Britton and Peter Elbow, which has argued for the educational value of expressive or narrative-based writing. The castor oil mentality stands to cause real harm in the university because if students equate challenging with difficult and therefore give the difficult courses the highest ratings, instructors may pack their courses with unpleasant, possibly meaningless work because everyone seems to believe that is the only way people really learn. (TB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A