The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (#18)

Interlude #5:  How do you respond to disturbing student writing? 

This is a question that all college instructors must answer at some point in their careers, especially composition instructors. 

Composition instructors find themselves with access to students’ thoughts and feelings about many different subjects.  Instructors learn to recognize their students’ “voices”: in addition to favored stylistic/rhetorical maneuvers, students’ ideological and political affiliations also tend to manifest in compositions.  There is consistency.  A pattern develops.  Arguments are strengthened, challenged, changed.  The dialogue that develops between instructor and student can be mutually enriching. 

But sometimes students write material that can cause discomfort.  Perhaps the material is too confessional and personally revealing or perhaps the material expresses negative emotions, bizarre images, and a non-linear thought process.

If one of your students turned in material similar to what Realist has been posting on the Lounge, how would you respond?  Would you comment on a lack of citations/supporting evidence, imagery, or a non-linear presentation of ideas?  Responses will vary.  Some instructors choose not to address such issues in written material.  If you would not address such issues, what criteria/theory do you draw upon to make such a choice?  


Below are several links from Binghamton University, Adams State University, and University of Colorado that may help all CCC instructors to answer questions about how to identify and respond to disturbing student writing.

2 thoughts on “The Read from This Side of Suite 711 (#18)

  1. Why must it always come back to Realist? Who cares about him/her? The assumptions built into your own writing have been questioned repeatedly with little substantiative response. If I received writing from you in a class, I would ask for a clear thesis and would frequently challenge you to acknowledge your own hypocritical comments.

    You should see Dave’s comment to #15s

  2. I have no desire to intervene in the #15 conversation. There’s already too much going on there, but I’ll respond to a point made there. I’m well aware of your prefatory remarks and I’ve accepted that you are going to spend a lot of your own time and HL realestate to make your long, drawn-out point. Whatever.

    But here, in this post, you actually ask (in a general sense) a question that many faculty would likely find interesting: “How do you respond to disturbing student writing?” An excellent question for sure. But, of course, it always leads back to Realist. Your own writing seems more disturbing to me. Just my opinion.

    Why do you always refer to yourself in third person?

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