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ERIC Number: ED408595
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Community Texts: Bakhtin in the Writing Center.
Herdman, Natalie K.
In "Discourse in the Novel," M. Bakhtin notes that writing and speaking are both fundamentally social acts--every utterance "exists in other people's mouths, in other people's contexts, serving other people's intentions" until the writer/speaker is able to appropriate it as her own. As an institution, the writing center enacts the Bakhtinian notion of dialogue through its individualized approach to writing instruction. Yet it simultaneously resists a social view of writing in its constant concern over upholding a student's absolute ownership of his/her text. Even more so than writing instructors, writing tutors have been faced with the ethical problem of negotiating the boundaries between "legitimate collaboration" with a student and "unfair influence" over that student's text. Erring on the side of caution, tutors have typically adopted a "hands off" approach to tutoring by refusing to provide content information that did not originate for the students themselves. Yet in the Bakhtinian model, such distinctions among student's, tutor's, and teacher's ideas are fallacious and possibly damaging, for the dialogic sharing of such ideas is exactly what enables a student to learn. Thus, focusing on the ways in which the Bakhtinian notion of dialogue problematizes the question of textual "ownership" in a writing center context, blurring the boundary between "just tutoring" and "plain cheating." Further, this calls into question the nature of a writing tutorial that challenges the student's ownership of what s/he produces. Contains seven references. (Author/RS)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A