ERIC Number: ED426406
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Apr
Breaking the Constraints of Silence: The Stories of International Students.
Karbach, Joan B.
One of the first papers that Freshman Composition instructors still teach is the expressive or personal experience essay. Native English Speaking (NES) instructors who teach expressive writing believe that students looking back on their past selves gain new perspectives or reach new understanding of themselves or their world. This discovery often begins with dissonance. In the resolution of students' dissonance lies the opportunity for reflection and insight. Dissonance occurs with international students who, newly arrived in the United States, are asked in their composition classes to write a personal experience essay. Faced with the prospect of having to write a paper specifically designed for an "I" conscious culture, how does the student from a "we" conscious culture reconcile the gap? One way is to ignore the expressive constraint and write informatively from a collective standpoint. Another way is to circumvent the expressive constraint and write fiction. When international students face the dissonance, they find their own way around the boundaries; they do not need the instructors' help to cross them nor to resolve their dissonance. (Contains 17 references.) (CR)
Publication Type: 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 (49th, Chicago, IL, April 1-4, 1998).