Saturday, September 24, 2005

More on Murray

"We may need to, for example, to reconsider our attitude toward those who delay writing. We may, in fact, need to force many of our glib, hair-trigger student writers to slow down, to daydream, to waste time, but not to avoid a reasonable deadline" (Murray, Learning to Teach, p. 39).

This quote reminds me of a former professor's work on Personality and the Teaching of Composition. Teachers need to realize that everyone's personality does affect how they go about writing. I have an article written by Jensen and Hinnen called "The Dynamics of Teaching and Learning." I have not read it yet, but looking at the biblio. I see that they cite Murray, Macrorie, and Elbow. I'll have to read this article and comment on it.

I loved Murray's snippets of writing in Ch. 7. Here were some quotes I especially liked:

"I have students who don't know the rules, but nobody ever stands up to denounce goody-goody students who follow the rules right over the cliff, taking their writing with them" (p. 47).

A friend and I were talking about a student like that last night. She was an extremely hard worker, but she could only do it "right" and the "way the teacher wanted it." Now for 99% of teachers I'm sure that is a dream. I found it painful because she could not think for herself.

"My students do not need to study form to know form. form is not made, then poured full of information" (p. 47).

"I hope my students feel the twice-lived life of the writer, know the double experience of this kind of living" (p. 46).

Murray has a memoir called My Twice-Lived Life.

"Often I have to write badly to write well. My students want to write too well, too early. I have to get them to put something down on the page, no matter how bad it is, so they can see and hear what they have to work with" (p. 49).

This quote is very Elbow-ish, isn't it?

One of the items on his canon is "write fast." Another bow to Elbow.

Writing and Images--I guess I was thinking about this because Dr. Fox's article referenced how thinking of language as visual is really important. I saw hints of these ideas in Murray's work:

"The visual aspect of discovering writing is important," although Murray goes on to say that hearing is more important than seeing.

"Too often, when we teaching writing, we give our students the misconception that we plan writing, that we intend what will appear on the page. They are frustrated when they are not able to visualize before the first draft what will appear on their page. The students think they are dumb. We must be honest and let them know how much writing is unconscious or accidental. You do not think writing; you write writing."

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