ERIC Number: ED371352
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994-Mar
Why We Need To Publish Student Writers.
Generally speaking English department faculty respond very differently when reading freshman writing than when reading most other kinds of writing. Mina Shaughnessy has pointed out that "ordinary readers" try to understand what they are reading, but the writing teacher, "like a lawyer examining a client's document for all possible ambiguities and misinterpretations, tries to see what keeps the paper from being understood or accepted." It is this focus on materiality that provokes a hesitation to classify a teacher's "reading" of a student text as an act of reading, per se. On phenomenological grounds, it seems more accurate to call it an act of meta-reading. Teachers do not read student texts to peer through them as much as they raise evaluative lenses to peer at them, an intention that causes the shift from a phenomenological reading stance to an evaluative meta-stance. One means of shifting the type of reading to which freshmen essays are subjected would be to publish these essays. By publishing student writers, the communicative purpose of writing is emphasized and the socially symmetrical conditions that invite students to participate in the academic discourse community are reinstated. At "College X" freshman essays are published in "Choice Voice," which is edited by freshmen and which has an eager and willing audience, in this case, 400-600 students who enroll each quarter in English 101. On the practical side, publication does not require extensive hardware or financing. A bulletin board and staples are an effective way to start. A data file on the campus computer network is invaluable. (TB)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Opinion Papers; 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 (45th, Nashville, TN, March 16-19, 1994).