We’re not meeting this week, so you have until the end of the day on Tuesday to post your comment this time. And our reading for this week builds quite logically, I think, from our discussion last week, so you should make sure to read the comments from the blog for Week 1 before you move on to Week 2.
Let’s go. And let’s start with Peter Elbow, because I have the sense that most of his argument will seem somewhat familiar or intuitively true to you if you were taught to write at educational institutions in the U.S.
This article has become canonical for teachers of writing in this country since its publication in 1997, so it is undoubtedly somewhat descriptive of the way many of you were taught to write. And as Elbow’s way of thinking about the relation between high- and low-stakes writing is foundational for composition studies writ large, it’s taken for granted in much of the reading we’ll do about assignments and comments, so I wonder: What do you find useful here as you begin to dig deeper into your syllabus, and to comment on your students’ writing?
We’ll talk more in the weeks to come about the best ways to comment on low-stakes writing, asking: What kinds of comments prove most beneficial to your students as they proceed through the assignment sequences– and what can you glean from this week’s readings to help you use your comments well?
Writing good comments is hard, and it’s time-consuming, inevitably, but it is so important for your students. How can you use your comments to teach them how to use their low-stakes writing for maximum benefit as they move on to the higher-stakes assignments that follow from them? And how can you use your finite time for commenting to the best effect?
Elbow frames these kinds of questions without too much explicit consideration of the politics involved in them, and I’m curious to see how you see the scaffolding of your assignments illuminated (or not) by the more overtly political contexts that are foregrounded in the pieces by Lee and Canagarajah.
As I was rereading the articles, I thought a lot about the conversation we had in class last week, about the politics of teaching writing at an institution where so many students are multilingual, or, perhaps, about the politics of teaching English 110 at Queens College in an age of global capital. I wonder: How are you extending your thinking about these questions as you read the articles this week?