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Reading and Writing Processes - Essay Example

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It may seem that teaching methods would change as often as the students as each year welcomes a new set of unique personalities and backgrounds. However, this is not the case. …
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Reading and Writing Processes
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"Reading and Writing Processes"

Download file to see previous pages The assumption under the product school of writing is that writing, like any other skill, can be taught. By giving students proper and rigorous instruction in language usage and basic principles of writing, it is suggested they will be able to then be able to start producing high quality essays and research papers entirely on their own (Hairston, 1996). Using this approach, instructors use sample texts and ask the students to mimic the processes they see in the book, such as the traditional 5-paragraph essay. Grammar and rules are very important in this approach and a strong message is sent that the first draft is the final draft and the only draft that matters (Hairston, 1996). Creative exercises are seen as a waste of time because they tend to break the rules the teacher is trying so hard to enforce. Not surprisingly, the teacher is the guiding force in the classroom with the students simply doing as they are told. This approach is most helpful when students are learning about how to write mostly formulaic-type work, such as business reports or cover letters. It helps students identify poor grammar structure early in the process at the same time that it gives them a relatively predictable structure on which to build as they face complicated academic writing assignments. However, using this approach doesn't usually produce quality work. According to Eschholz (1980), such an approach will only result in "mindless copies of a particular organizational plan or style" (24). It has often been described as habit formation. "Writing is messy, recursive, convoluted and uneven", but the product approach with its focus on mimicry, ignores these characteristics of writing and can quickly set up students for failure. The process school, on the other hand, operates with the assumption that the skill of writing can only be acquired gradually. Rather than drilling students with the rules and conventions of writing, this school holds that it is better to allow students to develop their writing through a slow evolution of working with the instructor and other students in a process called peer review (Eschholz, 1980). In fact, the concept of collaboration is considered to be an important tool in learning to write. It more closely matches the actual writing process by acknowledging that there are several stages involved in writing a paper. There are multiple drafts and proper time and place for grammar - mostly in one of the final stages before the paper is turned in. Creative exercises are often encouraged as a way to get students past the blank page and perceived writer's block and students are much more involved as they work with each other and bounce ideas off of each other. This school was essentially founded by Janet Emig with the publication of The Composing Processes of Twelfth Graders" (1971). One of the biggest advantages of this approach is that it takes the pressure off of students that they have to get their papers right the first time. Instead, they are encouraged to explore their ideas and play with their writing a little bit. This enables them to find their own voice, language, and style. It also gives the students a greater sense of control as it positions the teacher as facilitator or coach ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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