Students often feel that they must sacrifice their own writing style and replace it with the University’s in order to find success within the writing program. The structure required in Expository Writing as presented in the rubric, seems to push students down this path of single minded writing. However, writing is a personal extension of one’s mind and should be written as such. Any writing that fits a mold, even one presented by the university, is contrived and boring. It is only when a student writes concisely, creatively, and in his own voice, that the writing supersedes the example of a general exposition. In terms of non-traditional, international, or ESL students, they may very well feel forced into a mold that does not align with their thoughts of language and writing. In my experience, I tutored a girl who was most likely an ESL student. She seemed frustrated with the expectations of the teacher. Her thoughts regarding the text expanded beyond the question presented. She had a difficult time staying within the parameters of the question, and her thoughts often led her on tangents. These tangents did have merit in the context of the pieces, but did not suitably answer the question at hand. She along with another ESL student I encountered must have already felt marginalized and singled out in the writing system. Consequently, their attitudes towards Expos were already negative and defensive.
However, I believe the approach to tutoring employed at Plangere reflects the “process” centered philosophy. Each step taken and exercise given to the students is geared toward their development as a writer. The focus of each session is large enough to make a difference in the success of the paper, and distinct enough to make a difference in the attitude and improvement of the writer. I am not sure that I agree with the article that insinuates a change in writing can alter the individual’s ideas, or silence home discourse. I think these types of developments stem from exposure to different people and situations at a university coinciding with the development of the frontal cortex. I cannot directly relate to the assumptions of the this article, but it seems to imply that literary education can alter a person’s way of thinking at the cost of the individual’s original voice. There are many authors who have been educated after a lifetime of marginalization. Their voices are still tightly bound to their original experiences; I do not see any evidence behind the argument presented.
I agree that the student should understand the university’s position and conventions so they can maintain their own voice and not be swallowed up in university. Understanding this leads the student to understand the purpose of writing and what it can do for them as a tool. Knowledge and understanding of the importance of writing will probably generate interest in students and help them develop their voice into an effective means of sharing information. This is true for all students, but especially true for students who have been marginalized within the system.