Keeping it Real

Kyle Flyer

Assignment 5

11/28/11

 

Playing the Game

 

            I remember sitting with my friend in math class after recently receiving our SATS results and comparing scores, but when I found out how well she had done, I exclaimed, “How did you do so well?” “I’m just good at playing the game,” she retorted. I did not quite understand what she meant at the time, but since her explanation I have realized: people know how to get the “A” without actually thinking; they just know what to say and how to say it.

In “Postcolonialism and the Idea of a Writing Center,” by Anis Bawarshi and Stephanie Pelkowlski, the purpose of a writing center is stated: to help writers understand themselves and demystify writing, which leads to critical thinking and away from adhering strictly to the “academic code.” I agree with what these two have said, especially regarding the teaching of writers who come from diverse backgrounds and with very little writing experience. I do believe that we must help the writers that come to the Plangere Center to understand how to write while thinking critically, not simply how to write to get an “A” in their writing course. The writing center is an outlet for students to improve their writing and to receive guidance. The students must understand how to express themselves, in writing, to an academic audience, without losing their own voices. It can be a great struggle since many students do not have a strong grammatical background, so their ideas are hindered by their flagrant grammar errors. We must help our students learn to create their own ideas without falling into what they perceive as the “academic way.”

As Miriam said at the beginning of the semester, we are not only writing tutors, but also writing therapists. Writing centers are outlets to help improve students’ writing. It is there to help emphasize the importance of using one’s voice and to help students express what they want to say in a way that all can understand. As tutors, we need to remind our students to “keep it real,” and not, simply, to play the game.

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2 Responses to Keeping it Real

  1. nicovass says:

    I agree completely with this post, because I have seen countless instances where my students believe that they must adhere to a specific idea and not voice their own opinions, which jeopardizes the opportunity for them to expand their thoughts and become better writers. Students will write whatever they think the person who is grading their paper wants to read, which in turn limits them to few choices and does not force them to construct their own argument and back up that argument. While the latter is possibly less work, the former forces the student to think critically while making an argument and finding evidence for it. We should make it clear to the students that their writing process is not only graded by the “right or wrong” answer, but by the construction of their own unique argument and the way they mold and shape the text to back that argument up.

  2. Shanu Pandit says:

    Uniqueness in essays is what will make our students successful in their careers. I agree in the fact that when my students come to me I always encourage them to have different ideas and not stick to one topic and one style of writing. I tell them that whatever they feel that seems to flow should be their ideal goal. Constructing a different style of writing should be influenced in the writing center where our students should have the freedom to write differently and not according to the school standards.

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