Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dextromethorphan Power Rangers

This week I’m keeping my post a bit shorter and discussing a chapter from a book by Richard H. Haswell. I was exceptionally busy this last week planning a workshop for a tutoring program at Humboldt State University. The workshop was yesterday, Saturday the 9th, and I administered and attended the workshop in spite of an awful cold, which has, incidentally, gotten much worse.

This introduction, I hope, explains the brevity of what follows.

In Haswell’s discussion of alientation and growth in Gaining Ground in College Writing the author brings up some provocative questions and offers some useful, if tentative, approaches to answering them. Haswell’s three “primitive” concepts, standard, status, and change, provide a method of dealing with some of the difficult problems that teachers of writing face. When we question, as Haswell suggests we should, our assumptions about a student’s status, the standards by which student’s should be judged, and the change a student’s writing undergoes through his or her college career, we interpret out interpretations of student writing. The positive effect of this meta- interpretive act is twofold: it forces teachers to constantly evaluate and reevaluate their practices, and it prevents habitual practices of instruction from calcifying.

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