A RhetNet SnapShot Reply:
THE GRADING VORTEX
This rings true to me as well. Actually, I could tell you what a topic sentence was--a result of years of Warriner's-based grammar instruction. But I didn't learn what revision was until a magazine editor sent back my manuscript with comments and suggestions, saying, in effect, that I wouldn't get paid until I revised accordingly. That's when I learned to write. It wasn't in school.
I think a lot of writing teachers will tell similar stories. But Bill raises a set of issues that I don't think the profession has adequately addressed. At one point, the profession was interested in "cognition"--in how students learned to write. More recently we seem to have become more interested in how academic discourse and institutional structures marginalize student writers. While I support this latter effort, I worry that our scholarship isn't necessarily helping us understand better what it means for students to learn to write and read.