Locating Identity in Order to Write Effectively

In the article titled Postcolonialism, both Bawashi and Pelowski provide an insightful argument regarding the ways in which Writing centers should work with students in order to produce the most effective writing. University writing courses are known to be infuriatingly difficult, and students typically stress when it comes to obeying the standards expected by the writing faculty. When students are preoccupied with figuring out what is right and wrong in their writings, they lose a sense for creativity. Their personal ideas are not expressed in their writings, and it appears as if the papers are written in order to satisfy the professor’s desires. Rather than confidently answering an assigned prompt by utilizing personal thoughts and beliefs, students struggle with approaching their assignments as they attempt to unravel a mysterious secret that ensures an ideal paper paper. The students begin to write as if there is a “code that they must somehow crack” (92). This is where a downward spiral towards poor writing begins.

As a tutor, I have routinely dealt with the frustration associated with how to correctly write an Expos paper, and figuring out exactly what the teacher wants. It is unfortunate that the students are given a structured formula to follow, because in most cases, this implants the idea that they must write their papers according to one expected standard. Sure organization is required in order to produce well-written papers, however students must be told not to limit their potential for creativity as they attempt to follow these structural guidelines. For many students, this guideline appears to be a formula that must be solved. Rather than searching deep within one’s mind in order to locate true feelings and thoughts, students expend their energy searching for what exactly must be written in order to receive a good grade. Sadly, this will be a never-ending search since there are many different forms of writing, and the most outstanding writing portrays a creative expression of thoughts.

Clearly, there is no code, no secret, and no riddle that must be cracked in order to become an effective writer. This is not a Calculus or a Physics assignment, and there is no right or wrong answer. With writing assignments, students are tested on whether they are able to effectively analyze certain writing scripts, and effectively express individual thoughts regarding the arguments made by the author. This requires creative integration of what has been learned through personal experience. Students (and all individuals of the human species) learn much of what they know through every day interactions. These interactions will mold certain beliefs and views into one’s mind, and different life experiences result in such a vast variety of personalities and personal beliefs. What students must realize is that they are being presented with a subject that has raised concern in someone else’s mind, and they are being graded on how well they can either relate to the authors ideals, or whether they can propose a valid attempt at disproving the authors proposals. With this in mind, there is clearly not one correct approach in writing an effective paper. Once students realize this, they become much more relaxed and are able to patiently implement their own ideas into their papers without feeling frightened. Writing centers should focus on helping students identify a sense of self, and this will lead to the best writing possible. When students understand their thoughts, they will be able to express them through any context and situation. It becomes easy to either agree or disagree with a certain situation one an individual understands exactly how he or she feels. Therefore it is idiotic for a tutor to edit a student’s paper because it allows the student to dishonestly breeze through a creative writing course without extracting any potential for creativity.  Rather, tutors should engage in conversations that relate to the topic at matter, and the students should be given the opportunity to confidently express their thoughts on the subject of concern. With this, students cam eventually convince themselves that they actually know what they are talking about, and they will write their papers in order to personally answer the prompt rather than to correctly answer a question.

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2 Responses to Locating Identity in Order to Write Effectively

  1. Pingback: Been Gone Too Long « gordopdx

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