Thursday, June 28, 2007

In-class writing prompt 1

Click on the "comments" button to leave your own response to the following question:

What do you think is the most important point Janet Emig makes in her article “Writing as a Mode of Learning”? Why? This is not a quiz. You can look at the text and your notes to help you answer the question.

12 comments:

DrTom said...

On page 86, the third full paragraph, Emig notes the importance of TALK: “A silent classroom or one filled only with the teacher’s voice is anathema to learning.” Too many people think that learning happens only when the teacher dispenses information and the students write it down. What a crock! Students need to talk with either other to make sense of what they’re reading, hearing, and doing. Talk isn’t the only way to process the information – writing is a good way to do it, too – but because we are social beings, talk is a good way to do it. We need to make more space for TALK in our classrooms.

Christy said...

Janet Emig’s article is a useful comparison of the two major forms of communication: talking and writing. The analysis that writing is more complex, slower, with an “absent” audience, but more “responsible and committed” than talking – reinforces why students are often reluctant writers. Writing requires more cognitive processes, thinking, effort, time, choice, and can be viewed pessimistically as a record of imperfection. Students have no difficulty talking. I have rarely reprimanded a student for writing in class (except for the occasional note), but talking is an hourly interruption.

Arguably writing is more valuable than talking because it has permanence and longevity, but it is more difficult, presenting a challenge for teachers of writing to alleviate the student perceived burden of writing.

Ramona said...

Two sentences really stuck out for me. The first was that, “speech and writing are not simply interchangeable,” (7). This reminded me of the book, The Skin We Speak, in which the author reveals spoken language, written language, social language – all various methods. It poses the question: how do teachers allow students to use all or control these languages in writing. For me, this is true. I go to great pains to identify when and where I would like to see Formal Language (unlike most of our speech) and when Informal Language is appropriate when writing. This type of categorizing has made it easier for some students and the language and/or vocabulary they bring to their writing.
The second sentence was that, “one writes best as one learns best, at one’s own pace,” (11). I fully identify and agree that writing contributes to and enforces the pace and depth of how each individual learns. This point also brings up a difficulty in the classroom –all these different paces! It is hard to be ok with silence or noise or brainstorming when you need product from them, but writers, like learners, will develop at various paces. That will force any teacher to work on differentiated instruction on some level.

Debbie said...

Writing is both a process and a product. This fact shows the connective nature of writing. “The medium then of written verbal language requires the establishment of systematic connections and relationships. Clear writing by definition is that writing which signals without ambiguity the nature of conceptual relationships, whether they be coordinate, subordinate, superordinate, casual, or something other.” (89) Writing connects the writer with her experience or subject. Expressing these ideas is the process part---how best to express it? Which words best express what the writer actually experienced? Diction and mechanics are important. But these choices are not only important to the writer, but also to the audience of the piece. The product must be continually in the mind of the writer. The writer must make the connection as clear to her readers as it is to herself. The holistic nature of writing makes it invaluable in teaching.

Queen said...

Janet Emig precisely pointed out that writing is verbal language is the most available means of communication that we have. She further states that writing is not just the jotting down of our speech, but an adjustment of the speech to fit into a pattern, a separate structure. This process is a construction of our verbal speech. I found her list of differences between writing and talking to be quite inspiring. The conciseness of her “rules” will be an addition to my classroom this year. All students need to understand that writing is a chore. It is not meant to be replacement for our speech as chatting on the internet seems to be (sorry!).

April said...

Janet Emig is trying to impress upon us the importance of teaching formal writing. Writing is not a skill that is inherently learned; it must be fostered and cultivated on a daily basis.
Good Quote: “But the uniqueness of writing among the verbal languaging processes does need to be established and supported if only because so many curricla and courses in English still consist almost exclusively of reading and listening.”
How can we expect our Seniors to be prepared for college if they do not have the skills to write?

lichen said...

The overall point made by Emig in her article is, as she says, "writing serves learning uniquely because writing as process-and-product possesses a cluster of attributes that correspond uniquely to certain powerful learning strategies." Most interestingly to me, she says that writing "involves the fullest possible functioning of the brain," "the active participation... of both the left and the right hemispheres." Although we write in a 'linear' fashion, writing draws on the right hemisphere as well, the sphere of the emotions.

Tara said...

I think the most important part of Janet Emig’s article is that writing is an important and unique step in the learning process. A characteristic that makes writing so unique is its reciprocal relationship between process and product. Writing is a great tool for learning because as we look at the end product, we can surmise the process used to achieve it. I think it’s important to note that there is no “correct” way to proceed through this process and it is important to note Emig’s comment that “writing I self-rhymed.” It seems to me that the best writing is accomplished when the author can write at his own pace.

Lillian said...

Janet Emig's most important point is that writing has a unique value for learning. It is originating, creating and graphically recorded. Learning is "the reorganization or confirmation of a cognitive scheme in light of an experience." Writing brings on reinforcement of this along with feedback. "Successful learning is also connective and selective". You write, you demonstrate what you've learned.

Amanda said...

In Emig’s essay, I found the connection she makes between talking and writing very interesting. Following along with Emig’s statement that talking is an innate ability of communication, where as writing is a learned and practiced method, her connection between talking and writing is clear. Emig states that “talking is a valuable, even necessary, form of pre-writing” (7). I believe students who are able to communicate with each other within the classroom during the process of their work are more able to create a better piece of writing. The writing is not a transcribed piece of speech, but rather ideas that are discussed and formed into a developed piece.

Susan said...

“Writing connects the three major tenses of our experience to make meaning. And the two major modes by which these three aspects are united are the processes of analysis and synthesis: analysis, the breaking of entities into their constituent parts: and synthesis, combining or fusing these, often into fresh arrangements or amalgams.”p.12

In understanding the unique correspondences between learning and writing, the focus on the critical thinking helps to explain the connections that take place as we work through the process of writing. writing. That's what makes writing slower than talking.

Ben said...

Emig's focus on time in writing and learning is very important, as she cites Luria and the idea that "writing is self-rhythmed" (90). The individualization of student learning around the idea of pace is conveyed, as she quotes further, “One writes best as one learns best, at one’s own pace.” She follows with Luria who asserts the notion that writing allows for more time for thought and analysis because it is a slower process than talking. This is very relevant to thinking about how students can benefit from writing in the process of learning.