Monday, September 3, 2007

Throw out your red pens

Why the blog beats the essay in writing class

This article caught my eye this morning.
Duke University's professor Bradley A. Hammer states:

In contrast, "standards-driven" high school writing is hindering student interest. Without opportunities for students to publish their writing, they will assess that they write not for meaning, intellectual discovery, communication or understanding but rather in obligatory, outdated, punitive and proce dural ways to obtain grades. Consequently, as students spend their years of education consumed with standardized tests, they learn to write -- and think -- in ways that fail to offer rich and critical contexts for learning.

Teachers seek opportunities for writing to engage and challenge students to think critically throughout the processes of intellectual debate. Writing courses that remain wedded to the genre and methods of the past merely limit students' ability to imagine their work as real. The traditional argumentative essay does not force students to engage critically with complex reasoning "about" an issue but rather merely instructs them on how to argue "for" or "against" it.

Eventhough this article pertains to college writing, I am thinking about how it relates to grades 6-8, especially the mind numbing preparations we do for the GEPA, I'm sorry the ASK8.
Seems to me this is more evidence that each student should create and maitain their own blog.


Patrick Higgins said...


This is a great way to introduce several teachers who are fantastic writing teachers in the traditional method to the art and craft of blogging.

When I read clips like this one, I get so pumped up about seeing tons of our students writing on blogs and connecting with each other and great sources through a vast, personally created network.

Erica Hartman said...

I agree. Instead of aiming fir 8 traditional essays as I always do, I thought to myself, why not make a blog an option instead of a traditional paper or do 4 really good traditional essays and 4 blogged papers?

B.Davis said...

No need to limit it to LA either- check out the wiki om the LA page. A new way to track current events and have kids comment by using blogs and RSS feeds.

B.Davis said...

Actually the link is on the pedagogical resources page

Lynne Crowe said...

Hi Erica
I came across your blog through a posting from Patrick Higgins. I'm always on the lookout for other middle school teachers and their thoughts, ideas and student links.