Smart thoughts about writing and how we help students learn it. A must read. The way we talk about writing matters.
There are two phrases that people commonly say to me when I work in the Writing Center at Kutztown that really bother me. The first one is:
“I’m sorry this paper is so bad”, or, “I know it’s a mess, I’m a bad writer”.
The other, a question, phrased along the lines of, “Wow, were you always good at writing?”, or, more of a thought that a student speaks aloud: “I wish I was naturally good at writing”.
These sentences mean a lot to me. They are indicative of the pressures young students and writers feel, and the completely confusing nature that writing, specifically “academic writing”, has to most people.
When students apologize to me for their writing they are assuming three core dispositions, each problematic and deep-rooted.
The first is that I am somehow going to be annoyed by their presence in the center. I work there as a tutor…
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