Goldie’s response to
Let’s Stop Teaching Writing

After reading “Let’s Stop Teaching Writing,” I find myself only slightly agreeing with some of the arguments that Paula Stacey presents in her paper.

Stacey informs us that the students learn the mechanics of writing such as writing a thesis statement, writing a topic sentence, writing a conclusion, finding details, etc. and that learning these mechanics are not enough. I can only agree with that not being enough. She states, “In our desire to help students engage in the process of writing, we have defined a process that really isn’t writing.”
Well, I had to think about her statement for a moment, because I did not think of the process of writing as “not writing.” My first thought was simply to disagree with her only because that “not writing” claim did not sit very well with me. Then I had to think about it a little more in terms of my own experience as a student, teacher, reader and writer. In my K-12 academic life, if I wrote a sentence that was not clear, the teacher would write “not clear.” I would have loved it if the teacher would have given me some pointers as to what exactly was not clear and how to make it more clear. When I asked for help in making the sentence clearer, I now think I understand why I was told to reread it and figure it out. I think maybe the teacher did not understand or know how to convey the idea of developing writing skills, but only understood how to teach the mechanics of writing.

Moreover, Paula Stacey defines her own style of teaching writing by asking them (students) questions and then asking more. I like that style of writing process because as a student and a teacher I know that it works for me. Even when I write something, that “something” may make a lot of sense to me; however, that one sentence may not be clear to the reader. For example, a cover letter for a job is a way to express how you are the best person for the job. By having someone to review that final draft and ask me questions, I would have the opportunity to see how my potential reader would interpret what I wrote. I view the questioning session as a way to make sure that my paper is clear to me as well as to my reader.