Trevor

a blog so you can keep with him

Cultivating Voice – Written Reflections, Week 4

To help encourage conversation, and the habit of writing, my course on tutoring in the Writing Center has weekly reflections to share every week. I realized that this might be something worth sharing on this blog: it relays my experiences and thoughts about events in my life, which I suppose is the focus of this blog currently.

This isn’t due until next Monday (we meet weekly for two hours), but I’ll try to get this up while the class is still fresh on my mind. A note: this is a draft for the course, and will be addressing its audience as such.

The article this week was strong. It concerns teachers and the editing process, and the quantitative data they threw out explained a few things: teachers don’t know everything, they need opportunities to learn, and context is a tricky thing to nail down.

This might have seemed plausible to me a week ago, so I’m jarred most not by the message involved, but that it was shocking at all to me. I feel as though I’ve held value in student-teacher collaboration for a very long time now; why is this so fresh and appealing an idea to me?

Because this placed the blame squarely on the shoulders of teachers. Yes, students are making mistakes on papers, that’s why they’re learning how to write them! Why are teachers not learning how to personalize critiques? “The teacher appropriates the text from the student by confusing the student’s purpose in writing the text with her own purpose in commenting”, Sommers argues to great effect. I’m supposed to be tired of receiving bland “rubber-stamped” reactionary comments that are a drain and a confusion on the revision and editing processes and on the commenters themselves… but this is why I came to Evergreen.

I want educators I respect to care about what (and how) I say something – because I would hope they would demand nothing less from me towards them. There shouldn’t be a power struggle occurring with every written piece between “student” and “teacher”: the learning process is a chance for non-hierarchical conversation and collaboration. What happens when we’re all “learners”, and everyone needs education? Empowerment.

This is why I came to Evergreen.

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