Social Class Reproduction

Four Rules for Teaching Writing:
Image result for image: joy of writing
Always give writing assignments that

1. you will enjoy reading;
2. students will enjoy writing;
3. students will enjoy reading what others in the class have written
4. you will enjoy writing.

If any one of these conditions were not true, then it probably wasn't a very good assignment.

Advice I give to my students: When your words surprise you, you know you are writing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanks, Bruce and Liquidiamonds: I want to acknowledge your comments and ask others to go back to Lad Tobin's book, Reading Student Writing.  I'm taking notes right now, digitizing some of Lad's insights--and there were many.  Here's one when he writes about his classes: “ . . . my students produce pieces that are aimed at actual humans who might actually be interested” (125).

Lad and I both address the phenomenon of "Reader's Block," teachers who procrastinate, recreating in their reading the scene they have set up for their writers. Lad seems to have given up on the rhetoric and composition community (personal communication); I'm hanging in there. The question I'm asking--why can't we stop creating rhetorical situations that push students away from writing when it's so easy to invite them in? I think this is actually a very interesting question. Enough with this struggle trope.


  1. Irv, When you used the phrase, "Reader's Block," I wondered if you knew of David Markson's book by the same's a wonderful hypertext on paper and I know several writers who were pretty impressed with it several decades ago...of course you don't need another book to procrastinate with, but just in case, Will

  2. I'm with you about Lad's book, Irv. Not only have I gotten a lot out of it myself, but I find that grad student teachers really respond to it as well. And I also agree that inviting students in to writing situations that are meaningful to both them and to us, is essential. If we do that, and they have to work hard to get the writing to communicate what they truly want to say, it doesn't feel like "struggle" it feels like perseverance and investment in getting something the way you want it. The problem is that some people mistake struggle and frustration for working hard and learning something that matters. (By the way, my grad students this semester loved your book too!)

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