The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

A How-To Tale

“On the Academic Margins: Basic Writing Pedagogy” Response October 21, 2008

Filed under: Response — deduvick @ 5:12 am
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Deborah Mutnick

The article started off with a look at Mina Shaughnessy and her studies of basic and remedial writing.  Shaughnessy looked at errors as something positive, something that showed the student was trying to grasp the concepts in how to write correctly.  But, it seems to me that their non-errors, the things that were done correctly, would more accurately show what of the academic discourse they were understanding.  Errors could be made trying to find the right way just as much as not bothering to seek it. 

Also, especially in looking at students’ errors in their writing, it becomes easier to build a sense of who the student is and where the student is coming from.  They may not have a firm academic background, but they are writing as they best know how.  The argument  is made to look at our students basic writing classes, consider the remedial classes and figure out the best way to place students in these – whether by having them personally select or by having the university make the ultimate decision. Keeping our eyes open to the fact that our students, with laws being passed on Equal Access and affirmative action, will be from all different culture backgrounds and earlier academic situations.  It is then up to us to understand and train them to continue their education.


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