These are my notes (for myself) for the talk at Purdue Oct. 2000 about the writing process. There has been no proofreading! It has not been possible to include the diagrams and figures I demonstrated in my talk.
Carlo Grevy, Denmark
The text, the language, and "the I"
Often, when we talk about text production, we say that "the I" constructs the text. This is a very problematical perception, because we assume a text production where "the I" seems to be in charge, free to chose from the vocabulary, and free to include every figure it wants. This is a model where knowledge is arbitrarily separated from language, and this separation is grounded in a literary, romantic, psychological conceptualization of man and woman. Another point of view regards language itself as far more active in the text production, to see language as an autonomous unit. Producing text then means, not that "the I" is writing, but that "the I" accesses language. In this meeting between "the I" and the language, the individual experiences changes to social knowledge.
Using this point of view gives meaning to the practices and theories of writing. Using the research in writing, theories of composition, notions of collaborative learning, ideas of writing across the curriculum, and writing in the disciplines, together, as an empirical basis for knowledge of text production, I will demonstrate, that talking about language as indicated above, is not only a commonplace but a reality.
The text, the language, and "the I"
- Denmark - Germany - The States
- Grounded on experiences through many years, since the 60thies
- In Europe: theoretical points of vies
- Both places: romantic idea of writing, based on literature
How to teach students to write
- A problem in Denmark (internalization, literature in high school etc.)
- Study the theories - and the practices in teaching writing
Is the American way critical enough?
- It is not critical enough!
- It is not theoretical enough - in this way: meta-theoretical
- The problem: the inappropriate theories and practices prevent us from A) understanding writing processes, and B) teaching writing in a proper way
- The focus on "the I" is the problem. This point of view makes us not understand writing processes - and how texts function
- The problem is wide spread in the linguistic fields - both in the States and in Europe. The big influence of literature!
1) The American literature on writing
3) Text example (very short)
4) Some suggestions
The text, the language, and "the I"
Writing process as:
Contact and negotiation
- From 1960
- Practical ways we represent writing, reading, literacy, and literature
- Composition as knowledge-making discipline
- Writing: accessing knowledge
- Language: the I-You-it aspect
- Personal experiences
- Writing to learn
- Individualistic turn: the authentic voices
- Elbow: voices - "real rhythm and texture"
- The mysterious
- The individual is in focus
- Expressive kind of writing
- Creative power - intuition
- The writer as a genius
- The authentic I
The conceptual movement
- Epistemic rhetoric: language forms our conception of ourselves!
- The writing as process
- The text: voice of the individual
- Brooke (1991): "Writing and sense of self"
- "Learning to write meaningfully requires developing and understanding the self as writer, as someone who uses writing to further personal thinking and to help solve public problems"
- Grammar shall not help
- Teaching grammar as a system of knowledge is irrelevant to learning to write!
- Does "errors" exist in the text?
- Idealization of the I
- A romantic point of view
- A romantic idea of knowledge (as something absolute)
- The genre - registers
The WAC program
- The "natural" program
The plural I (Coles 1978)
- Writers can have many selves, and that being aware of these varied possible selves, and of the self enacted at any given moment by one's style, is the beginning of wisdom
The metacognition view
- The goals in the machinery
- Linda Flower
- The writing process as a computer calculation
The writing project:
- Freeing the I
- Write to learn - access to knowledge
- Liberation inner speech (Moffett)
- The authority of the subject
- Being collaborative - accessing knowledge
- Telling about them selves - what does it mean?
- Re-writing - does it make them find their own meaning?
-- But what does "knowledge" mean. Not anything absolute!
-- A constructivistict point of view!
- Another point of view
- Not focus at "the I", the subject
- Perhaps this is a better way going for the same goal
- A part of the writing paradigm
- The writer as producer of text
- The subject, the creative, innovative, intuitive I
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