The Process Approach and Our Profession
Abstract:Early in my career, I spent a significant amount of my time trying to teach college freshmen how to become more effective writers. Most of them approached the course with fear, loathing, or both. I always introduced the course by explaining that the reason for their attitude about writing was that no one had ever explained to them how to do it; everyone seemed to assume that writing either came naturally or, more often, did not.
I approached the job of teaching writing by trying to demythologize the task. Having read the work of writing researchers like Linda Flower, I described to my students the processes that many successful writers use to produce a written product. Then I encouraged them to emulate those processes and provided them with lots of opportunities for guided practice.
Some of them believed me, tried the approach I advocated, and generally agreed that it increased their comfort level and also resulted in better writing. Most, however, persisted in the approach they had always used: staring at a blank page or computer screen until inspiration or desperation caused them to collect the requisite number of words to fulfill the assignment.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2000-11-01
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