Postcolonialism Response

In “Postcolonialism and the Idea of a Writing Center,” Anis Bawarshi and Stephanie Pelkowski criticize that “[today’s university] writing center stands as the most accessible and visible place of remediation,” (81) which they define as an overhaul of not only the style, but also the ideas of foreign writing students. While it is understandable to be overwhelmed at a large university such as Rutgers, where a substantial number of classes are held in enormous lecture halls with hundreds of other students, foreign students may especially feel taken aback. Many may shy away from expressing their opinions in speech or writing because they lack English fluency and because they are aware that their new and old countries often have different interpretations of the same things. “What has been overlooked are the epistemological demands that such academic writing places on these students’ ways of experiencing, ordering, and making sense of the world” (82). This makes think back to Harris’ article on tutoring ESL students whose different worldviews may at times clash with our own. This is particularly seen in the contrasting teaching styles between Western and Eastern nations. Often, my EAD students seem more interested in procuring my opinion on the readings than do my native speaking students. “For ESL students, finding their own answers rather than being told what the answer is or what they must learn can be a new process” (Harris 211). This is why I always tell my students that the Magic Paragraph Formula, as magical as it is, does not need to be followed precisely. Rather, it is a general guideline used to help students structure, not overhaul, their ideas.

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