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FAQ: What is the role of personal writing a basic writing courses?

By members of Dr. Susan Wolf-Murphy’s graduate class at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi: Spring 2007

  • Heather Dorn
  • Erica Rangel
  • Anne Ries

As a part of Dr. Susan Wolff Murphy’s graduate Basic Writing Theory and Pedagogy course, we decided to combine our various interests in personal writing and collaborate on an overview of the role of personal writing in the Basic Writing classroom. The result was a compilation of the many differing views of scholars in the field, as well as the theories that inform these views. In addition, we were able to compile an overview of class plans that may help teachers who are interested in implementing personal writing into their classroom.

While the debate over the use of personal writing and academic writing is extensive, we have dealt primarily with personal writing in the basic writing classroom. In the book “Writing With Power,” Peter Elbow writes, “writing with no voice is dead, mechanical, faceless” (287). Elbow recommends frequent and regular freewriting to help students revise for voice. On the other hand, David Bartholomae argues that we must invent the university “by assembling and mimicking its language” which seems to focus on format over voice. Who is right? What role does personal writing truly have in the basic writing classroom? We have compiled our information in three general categories under which we address the arguments, theories, and best practices of scholars who use personal writing in the basic writing classroom.

The conversation over the use of personal writing in the basic writing classroom is by no means over and, therefore, our compilation of scholarship will never be wholly complete. However, we hope that the research we have provided will help you in your exploration of the use of personal writing in the basic writing classroom.

Arguments for Personal Writing and Theories that Support these Arguments

Use of Personal Writing in BW Classrooms - Best Practices

Interdisciplinary Connections to Personal Writing in BW Classrooms

Works Cited

We would like to thank Dr. Susan Wolff Murphy and our peers from our Basic Writing course for their help and support in the development of this project.

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Page last modified on July 27, 2007, at 11:05 PM