Michael J. Salvo (
Wed, 24 Jul 1996 14:25:40 -0600

this freewriting exchange is exciting. but leave it to an academic
writing teacher to think so ;-)

i'm more concerned with students finding and describing, becoming
critically conscious, of their own suite of writing processes. i often
describe my own writing processes in class, but i am careful to emphasize
the necessity of them finding their own. of course folks emulate what i
say ... and when they do, i interrogate their reasons for doing so.

i guess this is one reason for my problems with heuristic devices. they
pattern *one* writing process, limiting the successes to those that can
relate to that process. so too am i suspicious of personality typing
for its reliance upon structualist love of catagories.

rather than asking our students to emulate us, how can we use our own
stories of our processes to enable students to build their own
narratives of their own voice? and here, i want to carefully skirt by
expressionist/essentialist pitfalls while maintaining focus on voice,
that is, the multiplicity of voices and writing personae our fractured
selves are able to enact in our writing.

so, i think the whole project of applying our processes to our students
should be moot. can we share our stories without prescribing our
processes? can we model without imposing our own cognitive styles? to
what use can we put our narratives?

i believe our narratives are professional confessions, and as such, can
only be helpful as *de*scriptions, stories about what we have done.
what's been missing from our debate so far is how we open up spaces for
our students to use their voices. how can we narrate so that our
students begin to recount, recall, share their own? if we collect our
own stories and leave our wonderings to getting some sort of false
grail-like goal of "true" narration of a "model" writing process, we have
lost possibility for student self-determination. this self-determination
i hold as the goal of *my* writing classroom.