Re: Freewriting

Albert Rouzie (rouzie@CCWF.CC.UTEXAS.EDU)
Tue, 23 Jul 1996 15:52:22 -0600

Marcy's exercise sounds great and I plan to try it out. I have a "but"
though. I wonder about stressing the problem of readers' understanding the
draft as the major focus of content-oriented revision. Sure, it's
important, but I've read scores of drafts that were quite understandable
that were shallow, obvious, what have you. The greater need seems to get
students motivated in revision to move their thinking about their topic
beyond the first pass. That's what they have trouble understanding about
revision. They get the part about revising for reader comprehension, but
not for pushing the thinking. I am not sure how to bring them to that
understanding, although I suspect that the variety of comments yielded in
Marcy's exercise might lead students to notice that they need to rethink
their argument while giving them specific places where readers noted a

Marcy wrote
>I bumbled on to an activity last semester that worked _extremely_ well in
>that regard. On the day that drafts were due, I had everyone read as
>many as they could in the two-hour class period. Instead of offering any
>kind of formal response to the writers, they essentially "inkshedded" the
>drafts -- they underlined stuff they agreed with, or wrote marginal
>questions or short one-line refutations ("But what about X?"), which they
>initialed. The point was to respond to _content_, not style; I also
>wanted people to have their papers read by as many people as possible,
>and for it to be relatively easy for people to respond. (Lengthy
>responses tend to get perfunctory, I've noticed.)
>Then, after people's drafts were responded to, I met with them in
>conference. I asked them about the patterns of the responses they got,
>and if there were any that were troublesome to them. We talked about how
>what people had written might be an indicator of what they had & hadn't
>understood in the paper. Lots of, "Why do you think she made that
>comment?" kinds of questions. I was _really_ pleased with the results of
>these conferences. People were thinking up revisio strategies based on
>what the evidence told them they had & hadn't gotten across to their
>readers, not on some vague notion about how to make the paper "better."
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
> Marcy Bauman
> Writing Program
> University of Michigan-Dearborn
> 4901 Evergreen Rd.
> Dearborn, MI 48128
> Web page:
> email:
> =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=

Albert Rouzie
University of Texas at Austin
Soon to be at: Ohio University, Dept of English, Athens, OH. 45701
(614) 593-2838

Home: 386 Rolling Hills Drive, Athens, OH 45701
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