Writing can be defined in a multitude of ways, each author constructing their own interpretation of a text which is then reflected in their subsequent response papers. Students are asked to use the texts they have previously read, formulate a stance, and create a response that demonstrates a clear understanding of the text while simultaneously keeping their voice present throughout the paper. Bawarsh and Pelkowski implore that “college writing” promotes structure that compromises student’s ideas and true voice, being replaced by rigid and acceptable modes permitted and often required by academic institutions. While reading this I couldn’t help but notice the direct correlation between the notion of “college writing” and Expository writing. Many of my students criticize the writing style required in expos, claiming “the rigid structure required in their papers coupled with a myriad of complex readings, which in their opinion often have little correlation to one another, makes it difficult to formulate a clear and concise paper” However, I believe that these types of writing courses actually facilitate a higher level of learning, not only helping students write a clear and concise paper, but foster a greater understanding of the texts, which more often than not lacks a explicit correlation. Ergo, students must be able to find underlying meaning within the text, take a stance on that meaning, and then find support within the text that supports their argument. All while following a rigid structural rubric which teaches students how to keep their paper organized yet complex. Although this seems fairly simple, Bawarsh and Pelkowski, shed light on the increase of racial diversity within academic institutions and discuss how this diversification of students demonstrates an inequality in minority students preparedness for such writing. Remediation of under prepared minority groups who lack the adequate writing skills have a hard time adapting to “college writing”. In the pursuit to make this writing style accessible for all students writing centers were developed which often facilitate students acquisition of proper writing techniques. It is important to recognize that writing centers, much like expository writing classes, are not designed to alter the students writing, but rather alters the students thought processes prior to writing a paper. We get the students to make connections and use structure to organize these ideas., writing or “college writing” is not designed to make students fail, or compromise students ideas and limit complexity, but rather foster a new understanding of the texts. Thus programs like the Plangre Writing Center support students who perhaps have been under privileged, by helping generate a new way or thinking and subsequent formulation of those ideas. Furthermore, it is crucial to understand that the diversification of academic institutions leads to a wide range of students capabilities, some greater than others. For that reason, we as instructors must provide a universal standard of writing education that is accessible to all students.
Matthew R. Polito