My second-grade teacher taftold my mother that with my imagination I should be encouraged to write. Unfortunately, even though I took English and grammar courses and had to write theme and thesis papers, I did not learn the most basic lesson of writing. When I started a story, I thought it had to be perfect at that moment in time. Because it wasn’t, I began to doubt that I actually had the talent to become a writer. It wasn’t until I was enrolled in English at Kennesaw State that I discovered that writing is more about revisions, edits, and rewrites than actual original writing. I wish I had read Shirley Rose all those years ago and then I would have known, “a writer never becomes a perfect writer who already knows how to write anything and everything” (Rose 59).
This is one reason I am looking forward to teaching freshmen. I want to make sure they understand what Rose meant by, “Writers never cease learning to write, never completely perfect their writing ability, as long as they encounter new or unfamiliar life experiences that require or inspire writing” (Rose 61). No matter if they are writing reports for their discipline, emails to customers, or even the “Great American Novel,” all writers need to be aware of the fact that their writing can always be better.
Writers externalize words by as according to Charles Bazerman and Howard Tinberg, “a writer inscribes signs that now exist on paper” (Bazerman and Tinberg 61). The first recorded written communication was hieroglyphics on cave walls. As time went along, letters were created which were used to form words. Now digital communication has developed its own symbols called emoticons. The Millennial Generation is more comfortable with using text symbols, abbreviations, and emoji’s when communicating. According to Nick Darbonne, “Young people love texting, sometimes preferring to do so over communicating face-to-face” (Darbonne 2017). While this is not a major problem, it can affect the writing skills of these young people.
Bazerman, Charles and Howard Tinberg. “Text is an Object Outside of Oneself that can be Improved and Developed.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 61.
Darbonne, Nick. “Yes, Millennials Prefer Texting Over Calling. Is that a Problem?” GenFKD, http://www.genfkd.org/millennials-prefer-texting-over-calls, Oct 31, 2017.
Rose, Shirley. “All Writers have More to Learn.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Classroom Edition. Ed. Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, 59 – 61
3 thoughts on “Learn, Practice and Learn Some More”
Donna, how do you plan to enforce the importance of written communication as opposed to texting lingo? I’m glad that you have discovered the importance of revisions and editing. That will definitely be important to highlight in a freshman composition classroom.
I share a similar history with writing and composition. I thought it was something that magically clicked with some. I never realized that these magic people, or so I thought, weren’t so special at all. The only thing distinguishing these great writers from me was their understanding of revisions and edits. Whereas I thought writing was created perfectly during the first draft, others were getting their thoughts on paper and revising them into something better, something more. This is definitely a lesson that needs to be emphasized in the classroom.
Do you think that, because English is a living and ever-changing language, the grammar mechanics and syntactical modes used in text communication will one day become common place in academics?