Re: Freewriting

Becky Rickly (becky.rickly@UMICH.EDU)
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 16:31:44 -0400

Like Jeff (and Victor, the EXPERT--glad to know ONE of us is one!), I think
I'm suspicious of trying to impose one model of writing onto a large group
of folks, even if that model is based on some interesting research.
However, Jeff's mention of Flower and Hayes brought to mind an article they
wrote a while back that DID get me to thinking about writing and teaching
writing as a complex, multi-faceted process, and the article wasn't even
*about* was about reading. They used their protocol research
to stop readers every so often to see what was in their minds as they
read/interpreted what they read. They found (if memory serves) that the
less "experienced" or novice readers (hate those terms) simply read
linearly and for information. The more "experienced" or expert readers
would relate what they'd read to other contexts, formulating questions,
considering the impact the author had on what he/she had written, etc.

I remember thinking long and hard about these results and what they implied
for me, a teacher of writing, and wondering if the same kind of descriptive
process couldn't be applied to writers somehow--but not nec. based on
protocols only, but looking at the process of writers who, like the
"experienced" readers took into consideration rhetorical situation,
context, etc. as well as those who wrote without doing so as much (at least
initially). Also, we need to look at writers from a variety of
angles--and, perhaps, in a variety of media (email, paper, moo,
conversation, etc.). Finally, we don't want to generalize to the point of
forcing one process on them after we've gained our multi-layered insights,
but rather think about how we might use those results to consider different
ways to approach the business(es) of teaching writing.

I applaud Barry for bringing personality type into this, but I think it
goes BEYOND that.....including context, biology, past experience, sex-role
affiliation, I'd say yes, let's look at those sources, but let's
not stop there.

There's my quick two cents in between student conferences! (summer? WHAT