Situated Writing Workshops: Putting Writing Advice in Context
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Even the most brilliant of college teachers can absorb only so much writing theory in a two- or three-day writing-in-the-disciplines workshop. The faculty who register for our writing workshops are typically committed to good teaching and believe in the importance of good writing, but they might maintain a polite skepticism about or impatience with current writing theory. Engineers, mathematicians, journalists, even fellow English professors may be less interested in what composition theory suggests than what Dr. Smith down the hall does or what Dr. Black across the table just said. Our challenge, then, is to balance workshop participants' initial desire for practical, clear-cut advice about “good writing” with our professional responsibility to stimulate a critical understanding of any such advice. What is particularly lacking even among seasoned, award-winning faculty in other disciplines is a rhetorical view of writing: an understanding that writing is not one set of generalizable skills and that most criteria for “good writing” are constrained by the occasion, the audience, purpose, and context.
"Situated Writing Workshops: Putting Writing Advice in Context." The Writing Instructor (2004).
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