Writing is Perpetual Learning

Concept 4.0 proclaims writers never learn all there is to know about writing.  The text declares this lesson to be either frustrating or inspiring to a writer.  I find inspiration in the “…imperfectability of writing and the fact that it is not a “natural” phenomenon… (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 59).”  If, however, it is frustrating, the possibility exists to write through it.

This course is my introduction to theory and teaching of writing.  Perhaps I would have been exposed to the concepts had I been an English major.  I relish learning innovative lessons.  The concepts in Naming What We Know not only help me hone my craft, but I’m afforded the means for viewing other people’s writings through a different lens.  No longer will I define writing as “good” or “bad” based upon my previous perceptions.  I will look for identities, ideologies, social context, and anything else writers reveal in their pieces.  The book sums it up for me: “This is an important threshold concept for educators to understand because it enables us to recognize that it is impossible to make a valid judgment of a student writer’s ability by examining a single sample of his or her writing… (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 61).”

I don’t find the principle of revision in Concept 4.4 to be problematic.  I view revision as a necessary component of writing because it is essential to effective communication.  The text reveals students and new writers may see the process differently.  They sometimes look at revision as judgment and punishment for their writing being inadequate.  I agree with the following: “…revising, or the need to revise, is not an indicator of poor writing or weak writers but much the opposite – a sign and a function of skilled, mature, professional writing and craft (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 67).”  I believe it is an educator’s challenge and opportunity to inform students on how revision factors into the process of writing.  Nancy Sommers’ article “Responding to Student Writing” makes a valid point for teachers to relate that “…what one has to say about the process is different from what one has to say about the product (Sommers 154).”

Video courtesy of Pixabay

Concept 4.5 speaks to the ways writers assess their own texts and those of others.  They assess their own writing and make decisions relative to purpose, audience, context, genre, technology and publication medium.  Writers examine their own approaches and processes.  Assessment of feedback is made before finally assessing the product for appropriateness, persuasiveness, and grammar.  Writers assess texts of others “…for accuracy, legitimacy, and bias, for genre conventions, or for the audience’s expectations… (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 67-68).”

“By teaching students how to assess both the product and processes of their work, writing teachers are helping students prepare for future writing tasks and opportunities (Adler-Kassner and Wardle 68).”  As a student of writing, I’ve been made aware of threshold concepts that aid my understanding of writing as a process.  It will be difficult for me not to apply the concepts from now on.

Adler-Kassner, Linda and Elizabeth Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2016. Print.

Sommers, Nancy. “Responding to Student Writing.” College Composition and Communication 31.2 (1982): 148-156. Print.

4 Replies to “Writing is Perpetual Learning”

  1. Arlene,

    I love your willingness to absorb new information about a craft you’ve been actively participating in for quite some time. You’re exactly right, it will be difficult for us not to reflect on these concepts moving forward. I now take a responsibility (just like you’ve touched on) as a future teacher to ensure students somehow understand these important concepts of writing at an individual level, they will definitely utilize them unconsciously in their future even if they think they won’t.

  2. Hey Arlene,

    I like how you start out giving the two perspectives of the writer in terms of never really reaching a fruition in terms of their writing potential. Another way of saying this that I’ve heard is that, “there is no such thing as a final draft.” I think most people would find this frustrating overall. You segue nicely into the whole assessment process. I feel like the whole idea of composition being a form of continuous learning obviously relies on the revision process. It sounds like this particular concept really affected your view of composition. I guess we can only hope that things don’t get too frustrating between that first and nonexistent final draft. Great post.


  3. Hey Arlene,

    In my eyes, revision is the most important thing to impart on young writers. For one, it’s one of the only things that distinguishes writing from speaking. People don’t typically have the chance to edit their speech or rewind and change what they said, though often people would like to. Kelley touched on this in his piece as well. We should encourage writers to risk their words. If it doesn’t work, they can change it later. The beauty of writing is the process, because it is a process–not an instant process, but a craft. Nobody expects a painter to just vomit art onto a canvas, it’s recognized that painting is a process. It should be that way with writing as well.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *