According to the metaconcept of chapter one in our textbook, writing “is an activity in which individuals and groups engage.” (Wardel, Adler-Kassner; p 15). As Kevin Roozen states in Concept 1, “Writing, then, is always an attempt to address the needs of an audience.” (Roozen P 17) We as students who are “future professional writers” and teachers of this field, need to remember these basic concepts as we head to the classroom, and/or put words on paper.
I must admit that when I have written, I have not considered these ideas. However, upon reflection, these concepts make perfect sense. We can expend time and energy writing whatever we want, but if our intended audience is not reached, then all of that work is for naught. This is true even if the audience is ourselves.
We are told by Andrea Lunsford that writing is “always in some way part of an ongoing conversation with others.” Not only do we as writers need to remember this, but is the beginning truth that we need to impart to students as we go forward as teachers. To this end, Lunsford brings to our attention the idea of the “rhetorical triangle, which has at each of it points a key element in the creation and interpretation of meaning.” (Lunsford P 20) It makes sense that these three points on the triangle are the “writer, audience, and text. ” (Lunsford P 20). Using this triangle, the author is on the top point. Then, lines come down from the writer to either the text or the audience because it doesn’t matter if the audience is chosen for the text or the text chosen for the audience.
However, as teachers, we would be using the inverted triangle. For writing assignments, the audience and the subject of the task will be given to the writer. It will then be the authors responsibility to take the information given about the audience and the subject and write the text that fits into those categories.
Another major issue is context. Just as Dylan Dryer says, “the meanings of words are relational.” (Dryer P 23). The example in the book is cup, but it can be any word really. One word that comes to my mind is book. It can mean bound pages to be read, making reservations for a plane or hotel, or even moving quickly. Therefore, we as writers, can never assume that a reader will interpret our writing in the same context we wrote it in.
Since students will need to do some type of writing in all professions, “teachers must do whatever they can to convey the importance and usefulness of writing more effectively.” (Cutler)
Adler-Kassner, Linda and Wardle, Elizabeth. Naming What We Know:Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies Utah State University Press, 2016
Roozen, Kevin. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies Utah State University Press, 2016
Lunsford, Andrea A. Naming What We Know:Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies Utah State University Press, 2016
Dryer, Dylan. Naming What We Know:Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies Utah State University Press, 2016
Cutler, David, “To Teach Effective Writing, Model Effective Writing.” Edutopia, 10 June 2014, https://www.edutopia.org/blog/teach-and-model-effective-writing-david-cutler