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ERIC Number: ED423526
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-2
Pages: 12
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
"I'm Really Struggling with This Class": Evaluating the Writing When the Writer Is in Pain.
Paley, Karen Surman
In the spring semester of 1997 an ethnographic study of the teaching of personal narrative at Boston College was conducted. A doctoral student worked with an undergraduate who wrote a personal narrative about her alcoholic father. Two issues arise when teaching autobiographical writing: potential problems with psycho-cognitive distance between teacher and student; and difficulties in dealing with editing issues. For the assignment on personal narrative, the undergraduate produced a very powerful and well-written essay about the pain she feels from her father's alcoholism. Although the doctoral student did focus on sentence level error, she was by no means disengaged from the pathos in the essay. She openly acknowledged to the undergraduate that she understood the weight of the content of the subject and that comments on technicalities were only in the service of making the paper better. Conference conversations between the two illustrate that writing personal narrative is not easy and the rhetorical quandary that emanates from a writing process in the college classroom may call attention to an unexpected need for reconsideration on an affective level. Teachers can work with students over issues like word choice, grammar, and punctuation without denigrating their efforts to write honestly and sincerely. (CR)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A