English 518 Course Blog

February 20, 2007

Writing: Form and Content

Filed under: Uncategorized — sophiesun @ 4:09 am

After reading several articles about writing and technology, I realize that what we concern and have discussed most  about  writing are three  factors: form, content and purpose. We get much information and inspiration of writing content and form in these articles.

Let’s first take a look at content.  For example, in Dr. Tryon’s “Writing and Citizenship”, I got the idea “Writing to the moment” and writing the controversial topics of the ongoing events (131); in Geoffrey Sirc’s “Box Logic”, he suggests that students can write clothing (why we wear, what we wear, the history of fashion, issues of clothing manufacture, designers, etc) (134), they can also write topics like music(138), old school, cultural roots, gender, violence, etc. (140). These are good ideas, for they can not only attract students interests,widen their sight, deepen their view of some issues, but also practise their ability of doing research and ability to learn a thing comparatively completely.

In terms of form, we know blogs, wiki, Wysocki’s visual rhetoric, Sirc’s box genre etc.  We apply technology to writing teaching and learning.  These technological forms offer more opportunities and space for both teachers students explore their potentials, to practise writing better. The point for us to think about is how to use these methods properly according to different cultures, different conditions, and different topics; how to modify them and make good use of them. For example, the cultures and school conditions are different between China and America, so we have to modify them and then adopt them in our teaching in China.

Next element is the goal of writing teaching and learning. Is writing for personal expressions or for academic document? This is a long discussion. But as I am thinking, no matter what the final purpose of writing llearning and teachng is, when we teach writing, we should learn that the abilities of students to accept knowledge at different ages and in different periods of learning writing are different, so the way of teaching them are also different. Like Sirc said, his goal of teaching writing is to enrich students’ imagination, creativity as well as their expressions of personal experience and life. Inspired by him, I think when students just get to know writing, teachers can use what Sirc suggested to attract students attention, help students have an easy entry into composition. As students know more and have some basic skills of writing, they can learn more academic writing skills and rules. Teachers may use different forms to fulfill the topics and the purposes.

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