OVERVIEW: Part of what Writing Studies Pedagogy is always interested in, regardless of what angle they come at it from, is helping students to develop strong habits as writers. This is very difficult. The classroom discourages authentic engagement in this work. The job of the classroom is to prepare students to be able to write without a teacher forcing them to do it (Peter Elbow wrote a whole book called, in fact Writing Without Teachers) in a space where they are forced to write by teachers.
Thus, invention and revision, two parts of the writing process that should be self-directed, are frequently only ever teacher-focused and teacher-driven. But, the idea is, if we as teachers of writing craft invention and revision in ways that students see as valuable, they will, with some effort and a lot of time-on-task, transfer these skills to other classes, other occasions for writing beyond the classroom. This is the idea behind threshold concepts. I think that, certainly, we can all recall the moment when we realized that, like it or not, good writing happens in revision in particular.
WHAT TO POST: The readings this week consider the history and practice of both invention and revision in Composition Pedagogy. In your reading response, you may elect to focus on one or the other or both. Consider how one or both of these skills are taught such that students of writing actually move past that threshold and adopt skills that make them stronger writers--you are welcome to talk about the possibilities and impossibilities that are suggested by the readings.
3/12/2022 05:57:55 am
The readings make it quite clear that while many writers exercise various approaches to invention and revision, no serious writer considers them book-ends to the writing process. Unfortunately, however, many students do. Often, my students consider themselves stuck if they look at a question and cannot immediately start writing, and they consider it a personal failure if feedback suggests that they change their approach. While I unapologetically blame this on the random prompts of standardized tests as well as its arbitrary grading process, I also realize that 8th Grade ELA provides opportunities for students to rethink both invention and revision as part of the recursive process of writing. Forgive my somewhat scripted approach to the discussion board, but I plan to fall back on the 4-paragraph heuristic I acquired in middle school and still teach today.
3/14/2022 03:07:40 pm
It was interesting to learn about the history of the value and implementation of invention and revision in not only the field of composition and rhetoric, but also in the teaching of writing. The ways in which invention and revision are presented to students in schools greatly influences their ways in approaching these stages of writing since “school writing assignments often don’t give students an opportunity to write for real audiences or purposes” and teachers are able to reinforce their views on invention or revision (Bamberg 84).
3/14/2022 03:38:56 pm
The history of writing and composition is interesting in connection to “invention” and teaching writing. Writers have been writing for so long now it makes me wonder how work is still original. As Clark questions, “Are ideas “created” through the active mind, and generated new and fresh from within?” (p. 48). Or are the ideas out there, waiting to be “discovered”? Writing uses ethos, pathos, and logos to give it our own style. Thinking of the emphasis on community (p 53), teaching writing to students should be collaborative. It is interesting to me that writing that was too personal and based on personal experience was then considered “self-centered” and “unconvincing”. I feel as though today, I give my students a lot of opportunities to write about themselves because it interests them and helps others connect to them too. However, as Clarke mentions, there is a strong emphasis on argumentative writing today (Clarke, p 53). One teaching method that I like and I incorporate in my classroom is teaching personal writing during the “early” phases of the writing process. I use free-writing as Clarke also mentions, which helps students to find a “voice” in writing (p 54). Another method which helps students is pre-writing.
3/15/2022 07:50:39 am
Invention and revision strategies have been tied together closely in the writing process as far back as ancient civilizations. Although invention originated in rhetoric and discourse, the concepts have evolved over time to include the writing aspect of revision. Aristotle is associated with claims that, “Rhetoric is an art that can be taught (thus, students can be “taught” to invent), and that subject matter can be discovered in the world” (Clark, 51). The concept of being able to teach students to invent is an important one. Educators have influence in that aspect and can provide strategies for students to help create ideas.
3/15/2022 09:40:36 am
Dylan Dryer discusses the threshold concept that “writing is (also always) a cognitive activity” and brings up some intriguing points for discussion of composition theories. They describe writing as a full body and nervous system activity and embodied cognition of writing recognizes and acknowledges the “physical and affective aspects of the composing process” (Dryer 75). This isn’t something that I think about very often, and how truly exhausting writing long form can be quite simply because of this. I found it particularly interesting and wish that there was more illumination on the topic.
3/15/2022 09:50:34 am
In the article by Nancy Sommers, we see the results of a case study that she did on student writers and then her own interpretation of those results. One of her focuses was on the standard linear model of writing assessment, and how this model can often handicap writers and be a detriment to effective revision practices. Breaking free of this linear model of writing instruction seems to be able to open more doors for students to write and revise in a more rewarding and natural way.
3/15/2022 09:56:39 am
The readings that resonated with me the most this week revolve around revision as a recursive, rather than linear, process. Both Nancy Sommers and Betty Bamberg attempt to remedy the lack of research surrounding revision strategies in the contemporary composition classroom through their respective texts. While Bamberg offers a comprehensive overview of revision trends over time, Sommers summarizes a more specific series of studies she conducted to compare the perspectives of student writers to those of experienced writers toward revision practices. I would argue that their approaches, although accurate in theory, prove difficult to implement in the secondary composition classroom due to how deeply deficit thinking tends to run in the minds of students (and teachers to an extent). To reach a reality in which students strengthen their revision skills and, in turn, master life-long literacy, we must work to deconstruct the detrimental attitudes often associated with revision in the K-12 setting.
3/15/2022 01:40:21 pm
Aah, revision, it induces fear and trepidation. I must not have written a “good” paper if it calls for a revision. Nancy Sommers’ article argues that this line of thinking stems from institutional educational standards that deem writing is 1), linear, and 2), lexical –– meaning student writers focus on format and vocabulary over content and persuasion. Revision becomes an unnecessary tool for students if teachers don’t bleed all over their papers with red ink; job well done, student –– perfect sentence structure, intact grammar, varying vocabulary, writing product is complete. In essence, students learn to fear systemic failures of writing instead of fearing individual failures of writing: inept thesis, arguments with no support, a dissonance between writer and audience. Sommers argues this stems from the theory that speech is the first and final frontier; one only needs to conceive of their argument, think through their argument, and then produce their argument –– linear, A to B to C. Therefore, there is no room for revision; however, Barthes asserts that it is the work of revision, the possibility that there is room for change in one’s argument, that separates speech from writing (324). That means revision is an essential skill that student writers must learn to use when creating texts.
3/15/2022 02:13:29 pm
In my own classroom, the part of the writing process that I often find the most difficult to help students make connections to is invention. I feel like a lot of that difficulty stems from two places. The first is that the instruction that students have received regarding invention prior to them entering my classroom is often extremely varied. Students either have a variety of techniques that they know, but they are unsure when to use them, or more troublingly the students have no learned strategies that will enable them to approach the invention process confidently. The second issue is that often the prewriting or invention strategies that are built into our curriculum are rigid and don’t offer students the flexibility to approach the invention process in a different way if the given strategy does not help them.
3/15/2022 04:08:51 pm
Throughout the different readings, and perhaps because of the work we have just finished doing with Inoue and analyzing his sources, I found myself, time and again, connecting what we were reading to him. Any time the word "community" was mentioned, I was immediately reminded of Asao Inoue's concept of the ecosystem and how that applies in the classroom. Thinking more broadly than that too, one can see how writing and reading allow the interconnectedness of the learners out there to really grow.
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