e_549 - Teaching Writing as a Process DAVIDA CHARNEY...

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Teaching Writing as a Process DAVIDA CHARNEY Pennsylvania State University In this essay from the Penn State University Composition Pro- gram Handbook, Davida Charney outlines some of the advan- tages and limitations of process-based approaches to writing instruction. The idea of teaching writing as a process starts from one or two simple premises: + that there are many different ways to get from a blank piece of paper to an effective text; and + that people can benefit from reflecting on how they go about writing and from comparing their processes to those of peers and more experienced writers. A great deal of research on reading and writing processes over the past twenty years-including observational studies of what children and adults do as they write-supports these premises. When we teach students to think of writing as a process, we are trying to make them more aware of the activities involved in
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CHARNEY: Teaching Writing as a Process writing, to increase their repertoire of strategies and activities, and to recognize situations in which some strategies may be helpful and others counterproductive. Compared to other skills, writing is unusual in that more experienced writers tend to invest greater time and effort than do inexperienced ones. Usually, practicing a skill over and over makes it more "automatic," reducing the time and effort needed to ex- ecute the skill successfully. But in the case of academic writing, this kind of automaticity is largely confined to the physical tech- niques of handwriting or typing. Few writing situations are so formulaic that they become completely automatic. As a result, some people who do significant amounts of writing report that they find it difficult-especially in situations where much is at stake. Some are dissatisfied with how they write, assuming that there must be a better way, a more efficient way. Others value the effort of rethinking and revising because of the pleasure they get when an idea or phrase finally clicks. (See, for example, case studies of highly published academics by Jane Rymer and the personal account by Howard Becker.) It is important for students to know that writing is often hard work-that they are not nec- essarily doing anything wrong and are not deficient in some es- sential gift or genius if words do not flow immediately or easily from their fingers. Even though academic writing is seldom easy and even though
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This note was uploaded on 03/29/2011 for the course ED 101 taught by Professor Propas during the Spring '11 term at Grand Valley State University.

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e_549 - Teaching Writing as a Process DAVIDA CHARNEY...

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