Postcolonialsim

Bawashi and Pelkowski make an interesting argument in their article entitled Postcolonialism as they discuss a new approach that writing centers should be utilizing in this new postcolonial age where there are different standards for writing especially within the University setting.  The authors argue that in most cases the main goal in writing classes causes students to engage in an “act of withholding [that] causes students to treat writing as a code they must somehow crack…instead of something that they must participate in creating. Thus, academic discourses appear as stagnant, artificial, and arbitrary formulas to student writers” (Bawashi and Pelkowski, 92).  I thought that this point was ingenious when it comes to tutoring a student taking a course in Expository writing at a Rutgers writing center.  I feel that most of my Expository writing students are tired and confused by the strict rules placed upon their writing when it comes to this class.  This strict standardized formula often times shows through in the students writing as they feel that they have no room left for creativity because of all the rules placed upon their expos papers.  Furthermore, the student not only feels constrained, but also is under the impression that their essays are part of some sort of “guessing game” where they have to decipher what the professor wants rather than what they actually want to write about.  Therefore, as the authors concur, the primary goal of the writing center, and for me as a tutor, is to help the students see through these convoluted rules and prompts and come up with an essay that reflects their thoughts and beliefs on the topic as well as sufficiently answers the given question.

Consequently, the main goal of the writing center and its tutors should be to improve the students overall writing abilities rather than just the given essay.  Bawarshi and Pelkowski agree with this notion as they feel “changed writers are improved writers because changed writers are writers who can better function within academic discourses and the university…[tutors] must measure their success…in terms of changes in the writer” (84).  This is the reason why tutors should refrain from solely editing a student’s paper because if this is all the tutors do then the student will not learn the skills they need to actually improve their writing.  Moreover, later on these students will also not be able to function within the university setting because of this handicap.  Therefore, even though it is sometimes easier to give in to what most students expect a writing tutor to do, tutors should refrain from simply editing a student’s paper because in the long run this practice will only hurt the student because the student will never learn the skills required to actually improve their overall writing ability.

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