I found this article very interesting because it touches upon notions that I have questioned ever since I began tutoring. When tutoring, I often find myself trying to propose questions to my students instead of force-feeding them my personal interpretations of the essays and/or the prompts. Generating this discourse is a tactic that I have found very helpful in trying to have students produce their own ideas. However there can be an area of uncertainty when trying to determine if a students idea is in fact, original. When the students are in class, it is possible that their teachers as well as their classmates may have discussed some matters that have already influenced their thoughts and interpretations. Though this is fine, it does serve as an outside force that potentially serves as meddlesome with the generation of ‘original thought’. The idea of an ‘original thought’ brings me to the next are of discussion that can be related to the text – the separation between thought and writing.
I believe that the process of writing is viewed as challenging because of the separation of thought and writing. When one thinks, the person thinking is the only one that needs to understand their thoughts, therefore they do not necessarily need to worry about making their thoughts understandable for others. However, when an individual goes to speak, then they must worry about conducting their thoughts in a cohesive manner that enables others to understand their speech. Yet, when we speak, it is sometimes simpler to explain our thoughts and concepts because there are other communicable cues that we are able to pick up on. For example, if a thought that we are explaining is misunderstood, we are able to observe the receivers confused facial expression and try to re-work our thoughts to translate into words and sentences that are better understood for our targeted audience.
When we write, we need to be even more precise and articulate with our thoughts than we have to be when we are transposing our thoughts into verbal words. Even as I am writing this blog entry, I am ‘struggling’ with trying to properly transpose my thoughts into words that will properly relay the main points that are constituted within my thoughts. In my opinion, this is why writing is so challenging. It is not a simple task to take your thoughts and put them into words so that they are universally understood across a wide-variety of people. However, when a student is writing a paper for college, they do not necessarily have to worry about trying to make themselves understood across a wide-variety of people, they need to simply focus on relaying their thoughts properly to their professor.
A student validly transposing their own thoughts into a cohesive paper for their class is something that was heavily discussed in our reading assignment. Where can we draw the line between guiding a student by generating discussion and guiding a student into a formulaic structure for writing a paper? Sherwood offers the idea that, “a change in style can thus suggest a change in thinking,” (87). In response to this idea, it is evident that offering forth a set structure can seem somewhat restrictive to a student. Yet, that leads to another question: is the goal of the university to have their students generate their ‘own’ ideas within the confines of a formulaic writing structure? I do not believe that there is a clear cut answer to this question, but as of right now, I believe it is most helpful for me, as a tutor, to generate discourse in regard to the essay topics, with my students.