The feeling I got from all of this week's readings was...teachers kind of stink. They give us deadlines to rush/delay our creative process when writing, and then require us to follow a writing schedule that doesn't suit our style or pace. Although I can certainly understand that teachers have to work within deadlines themselves, I have to agree that it can put unnecessary strain on writing assignments. In this way I could relate to the Composing Behavior article, which notifies us of the problems of trying to follow a teacher's deadlines and paper structure when they clash with your personal writing style. However, I have to disagree with this article as a whole. I don't believe giving such broad classifications to writers will help in improving their writing. These groups may help understand a writer better on a superficial level, it's not an analysis that will help in substantially improving their writing. Each case will be different, not only for the individual, but also for their assignment. For example, when I have a writing assignment, I usually wait until one or two nights before it's due to even begin. This isn't to say I wait until then to think about it as well. I usually start forming ideas mentally as soon as the assignment is given. According to Harris, this classifies me as a "one-drafter." Unfortunately, I would also classify under "multi-drafter"; I have what would qualify as an explosion of ideas, which I proceed to dump onto paper, using many many sheets to fine tune my ideas. While this is horrible organization on my part, it's also the way I produce some of my best writing. If it isn't confusing enough that I classify as both extremes of Harris's classification system, I don't think anyone would benefit from referring to this study to help me improve my writing. It's a good theory, it's just not that important.
Daiker's article on Learning to Praise is something I can agree with, for the most part. Most people will respond positively to encouragement (for proof, see my previous blog). But praise only helps if it's constructive. I would be terribly annoyed if my instructor simply gives me a "that's great" without explaining what exactly it is that I was so good at. The same applies to criticism. I can't stand instructors that tell me what amounts to "this is horrible" without giving me something to go off of, and improve my work for next time. Case in point: my photography professor, who shall remain nameless, but was an ass nonetheless, would give me horrible grades and no feedback. None, whatsoever. All I took away from that class were many slips of paper with "B-" on them, and nothing else. Of course art is much different than writing, and has a lot more room for objectivity. Which makes his behavior even worse. Not giving feedback, especially in an INTRO class, results in no improvement or productivity, just a bunch of grumpy students.
I agreed the most with the third article by Capossela. As I said earlier, teachers can make writing hell for students by forcing them to write in a style and pace that is not comfortable for them. However, there isn't really much to be done about this. Unless we go through nationwide teacher reform, which would take close to forever, teachers and their ideals and expectations are something that all students will have to deal with eventually. The best way to remedy this problem is to make a stop at your friendly neighborhood Writing Center, sometime between the assignment being handed out and it's due date. This article just made me appreciate what we do here in the Writing Center even more. The student will still end up working within the limitations set by their teachers, but we as consultants can help them figure out how to push those boundaries. Here's to the C4W, rebellious badasses extraordanaire.
Just because I love writing long blogs, I would also like to address the readings from the previous week, as a whole. These make it clear to me that there is a distinct line between consulting and teaching. The problem is (as many of my more experienced co-workers know by now...because I won't leave them alone about it) where exactly is that line? I think a lot of consulting is just going by your gut, and while I can refer to these readings and the guidelines of the center to know where my boundaries are, I will also develop my own style of consulting and know when to say what, with experience and practice.
*thanks for the tip Katie!*