This week, the readings are split between how writing creates audiences and writers and how writers and audiences create writing. Complicated as that idea is to begin with, the act of imagining audiences and ourselves as writer is. complicated by the myriad forces that influence those acts of creation.
As you post your reading response this week, react to and critique the idea of "audience" and the role it plays in the creation of text, and, to think of it another way, the creation of writers (or at least the writer's sense of who they are as they are writing--their identity). The different scholars this week, (Ede & Lunsford, Moffatt, Elbow, the various scholars in Threshold Concepts , and Villanueva) give us plenty to think about, ideas that expand, complicate, muddle, and develop the roles of readers and writers in relationship to text production.
3/20/2022 05:29:57 am
As Professor Torda has remarked more than once, the academic essay is a peculiar piece of writing, one that has no real place in broader discourse. Clark comments that one reason is, when asked, most students see their teacher as their only real audience (109), yet their essays invoke a third, ambiguous reader rather than represent honest academic discourse. This is because the purpose of student writing is to demonstrate understanding, not to persuade their teachers or peers of a particular perspective or ideology. Honestly, I’m ok with this reality. I encourage free-writing and provide time for private reflection and journaling, but students spend the vast majority of that time solidifying bad habits in conventions and twiddling their metaphorical thumbs. Truly valuable private writing happens, well, privately, and with independent initiative. Other than the few students who actually respond and benefit from such exercises in expressivism (again, I realize their age is a factor), I am attempting to model this valuable heuristic of invention and discovery. More often, though, I read their essays to assess their understanding and to evaluate their skills, in an effort to prepare them for their next audiences (Knoll’s concept of a broader discourse community), but Elbow’s warning is not lost on me. He strongly advises teachers, as the primary audience of their students, to embrace the role of reader, rather than mere critic. In this way, a classroom model can provide a real and relatable audience without squashing student initiative through intimidation.
3/20/2022 12:20:03 pm
It is interesting to me that we do encourage our students to write for the "audience" when that audience is usually us! We ask them to imagine who will be reading their paper and what the purpose should then be. I feel that part of this is an issue, because although the goal is to write something that will appeal to and please others, isn't the goal to also write for our own pleasure? To write something that we enjoy? So then do we write for an audience or for ourselves and those with common interests? Elbow actually mentions something related to this arguing that "weak writing can help us in the end to better writing than we would have written if we'd kept readers in mind from the start" (p 111). Clarke therefore mentions that this focus on the audience can also lead to writer's block. Similarly, Ong asks the question, "Who do I choose as my audience?" rather than "Who is my audience?" (p 113). I think the idea is then that we do choose who we write for and with that in mind, it is merely an unconscious habit when we write.
3/20/2022 07:15:28 pm
The mitigating factors surrounding how one considers audience regarding writing are diverse and complex, not to mention, their existence since the beginning of rhetoric. Central in considering audience is whether students can separate their writing and themselves as writers, from the one audience they feel inherently matters, the educator. As Reid and Kroll argue, the relationship between student writer and educator is imperative to the student because the grade that their writing produces comes from the educator alone; therefore, students are not capable of understanding the nuances of audience outside of the classroom. This becomes particularly troublesome when one reviews the argument by Kevin Roozen which states that writing forms the identity that determines how one interacts within one’s communities –– this becomes troublesome if the community of the classroom differs from one’s own and the course’s curriculum marginalizes the student because of its predisposition for colonial structures within English and writing. Villanueva Jr. posits that this stems from internal colonialism or his view on hybridity; when a student scholastically mimics what they believe the audience wants in their text because that is what their systemic institutions teach is appropriate both culturally and linguistically.
3/20/2022 09:18:48 pm
This week, the scholars from the readings come to a general consensus about audience: that writers have a tremendous responsibility to recognize the impact it has on their identities and the texts they compose. The task proves significantly difficult for secondary students according to Clark; she believes they see the audience as “the teacher who will evaluate their work and assign a grade,” leading them to “omit necessary explanations… [or] address the teacher directly” in their writing (Clark 115-116). However, I do not think she gives students enough credit here. From my experience teaching high school English, I would argue that their ability to consider the consequences of audience on the creation of their text depends on how the instructor designs their writing assignments. Clark, drawing on the work of Peter Elbow, finds fighting student assumptions about audience to be most successful when teachers wait to address them, since students who are too aware of their audience while writing their first drafts “may experience writer’s block” (Clark 112). She further recommends that teachers focus on audience during the revision stage by requiring their students to identify who their readers are, what they know, and what they want them to know (Clark 124). This approach toward audience awareness does not align with my understanding of how to best support student writing. For example, RAFT activities that ask students to describe their role, audience, format, and topic before writing often help them feel ready to start the drafting stage, especially those who benefit from extra scaffolding. Such strategies demonstrate how, with the right tools from their teachers, students can handle the responsibility to recognize how audience affects what they write.
3/21/2022 08:08:22 am
The relationship between writers, writing, and audience is a complicated one as shown by each of the readings for this week. Audience can play an important role in the creation of text, but similar to Peter Elbow’s argument, I don’t think it should be the most prominent or significant concern of the writer, especially a K-12 writer. Knowing your audience can help strengthen your argument, appeals made, or styles used, but the writer can’t then control how their work is received. Writers can’t control what their audience thinks, how they read a text, or how they react (Clark 121). The writer can only control their writing and how they are articulating their point or expressing their ideas. Audience can be an important aspect to consider, but it should not be the first consideration for students. They should focus first on the expression and clarity of their ideas.
3/21/2022 06:13:46 pm
In reading Victor Villanueva Jr. 's "Maybe Another Colony," I found myself drawn to the line "I want us to complicate our thinking about multiculturalism" (p.992). I kept thinking about how complex any one person and their sense of identity, beliefs, values, opinions, thought processes, interests, dislikes, etc. are. People are so much more than one or two labels would cover, and yet, we as human beings tend to fit people into neat compartmentalized boxes.
3/22/2022 07:48:47 am
The concept of an audience is often overlooked in writing, especially among students in the K-12 grades. Writers at the collegiate level struggle with the audience as well, even though they are more experienced and have learned more skills. Most students only write in the classroom setting with their teacher being their audience. In Irene Clark’s chapter, “Audience,” she says, “Students think of ‘audience’ only in terms of the teacher who will grade their work and lack awareness of how of how audience affects other aspects of a text, such as purpose, form, style, and genre” (109). They write what they assume teachers are looking for. Teachers are looking for proof that students understood the assignment rather than introducing new ideas into certain discourses. Even if teachers guide students to consider their audience, they will unlikely understand what that means unless they demonstrate how to write to their audience.
3/22/2022 10:02:48 am
Audience plays a large role in the creation of text. Our audience as writers should always be at the forefront. The most important thing about audience is that our writing can shift based on what we perceive our audience to be. For example, my students will craft writing to turn in to me that is far different than text that they may craft for their friends. This is where we can look at audience creating the writer as well. When we think about our audience, it inevitably shapes what we write.
3/22/2022 12:28:37 pm
When I began looking at the topic of the readings for this week I realized that when I thought about “audience” in relation to writing, I myself did not have a satisfactory explanation of whom that term is referring to. I speak with my students about “audience”, particularly in conjunction with our discussions of word choice or diction, but I’ve found that my explanation often feels far too vague. Students are writing for this nameless and faceless “audience”, but it is difficult to truly conceive of who your writing might be addressing, especially when writing in the classroom. Beyond that, something that I have found in my own classroom that Clark spoke of in her chapter, is that if my students are writing a piece for school the only “audience” they think of is me as the teacher. It is often difficult to get students to take their idea of who the audience is one step further beyond the classroom. Thereby leading to issues such as students omitting details that really should be included in their piece as they assume that the teacher already knows that information. It also can lead to issues in tone, as students don’t think of their work as being of consequence to anyone outside the teacher and student themselves.
3/22/2022 02:53:58 pm
In the United States there is a traditional formula to creating writers in the literacy classroom. Instruction is rooted in white American ideals which demands students from each background to speak and write in a similar way. Part of this is considering one’s audience and speaking to them in a persuasive tone which will convince them to support the text’s central argument. It is essential to practice argumentative and persuasive writing, but it should be practiced with a multicultural mindset. When we keep our audience in mind as writers, we must reflect the society we are in today.
Shauna Cascarella Briggs
3/22/2022 03:00:54 pm
I am instantly drawn to the idea of audience writing, as I approach my final units of the year and expect my students to be writing larger essays than they maybe have before and one which specifically asks them to identify a specific audience for which they are writing. The readings for today bring about an interesting point about writing to an audience and the development of identities when writing. Tony Scott made the statement that “Writing is always ideological because discourses and instances of language use do not exist independently from cultures and their ideologies” (48). This then allows for the assumption that our audience is either: people who share identities with us, or those who oppose our identities. Kevin Roozen addresses this in saying that: “Writing also functions as a means of displaying our identities. Through the writing we do, we claim, challenge, perhaps even contest and resist, our alignment with the beliefs, interests, and values of the communities with which we engage” (51). The assumption there is that the audience will engage with a work either to further support their own identities, or to engage in opposing discourse. This all ties in with one of my favorite pedagogical ideas I have read this semester:
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