See? I told you all I’d post first one day! Although it does feel strange to post an entire week early.
There is a part in the Bartholomae piece that says, “Teaching students to revise for readers, then, will better prepare them to write initially with a reader in mind” (515). This section about writing for an audience intrigues me because I often see students struggling with this problem. Most commonly, I think students assume the audience for their paper is their professor or their classmates, so they leave out a lot of information. They say, “I don’t need to explain my examples, or my quotes because my teacher knows what I’m talking about.” Students really underestimate the amount of explaining they need to do in their papers. It’s okay if that their teacher knows what the quotes mean, but that doesn’t excuse the need to explain them. Knowing the audience for a paper can also help students dig deeper into their papers. When I write a paper about something extremely controversially, I always pretend that someone who has the opposite stance of the one I’m writing will be reading my paper and bringing up every counter point. This allows me to address those counter points with some sort of explanation and a way to persuade the reader back in my direction. I also like the examples Bartholomae gives, like “Describe Pittsburg to someone who has never been there.” I feel like we could remind students about audience more often.
Another part of the Bartholomae piece that caught my attention is when he discussed the measurement by which writes are often labeled–basic sentence errors. I know he is arguing that we shouldn’t be thinking about those types of errors (and I agree), but he doesn’t really give a solution. A lot of freshmen make simple errors like using a word that sounds like the word they mean but means something else, or they make a lot of grammatical mistakes. But what do we do about this? A lot of them say that in high school their teachers tended to care only about those kinds of mistakes. If that is the case, how come these students haven’t improved in those areas? Is there a way that would allow us to help them with those issues?
*My picture is of Buster Posey. He is the greatest catcher of our time. Seriously though, he’s had an amazing career so far and it’s barely even started. I’m 99% sure he would agree with everything I just said in my entire post (except for that part about him being th greatest catcher of our time because he’s a very humble guy).