Completing the Paradigm Shift

In Samuel Totten’s article, Completing the Paradigm Shift to Process Writing: The Need to Lead, he deals with some of the misconceptions about where we are in the shift to process writing. Totten says (and I agree) that we only have one foot in the door toward process writing. There still seems to be a lot of hype about process writing all these years after it came to the forefront of writing methods. Don’t get me wrong; it deserves any hype it garners. But it seems that the parade celebrating process writing has lasted foreverrrrrrrrr and we are still awaiting the arrival of the last car in the cavalcade, which actually signifies that the guest of honor has arrived.

I think all of us in this class approve of process writing and some of us think it’s the cat’s meow (I’d probably be in the latter category). As teachers, we will have to show students that we value it. We will have to be their process writing model. We will have to write. Like Vicki says, we are writers that are teachers and teachers that are writers. The two are inseparable.

I think that the twelve principles which Hairston said were features of process writing are right on. I want to post them here because I think they are worth reading again. That, and they are good things to aim for.

12 Features of Process Writing

  1. It focuses on the writing process; instructors intervene in students’ writing during the process.
  2. It teaches strategies for invention and discovery; instructors help students to generate content and discover purpose.
  3. It is rhetorically based; audience, purpose, and occasion figure prominently in the assignment of writing tasks.
  4. Instructors evaluate the written product by how well it fulfills the writer’s intention and meets the audience’s needs.
  5. It views writing as a recursive rather than a linear press; prewriting, writing, and revision are activities that overlap and intertwine.
  6. It is holistic, viewing writing as an activity that involves the intuitive and nonrational as well as the rational faculties.
  7. It emphasizes that writing is a way of learning and developing as well as a communication skill.
  8. It includes a variety of writing modes, expressive as well as expository.
  9. It is informed by other disciplines, especially cognitive psychology and linguistics.
  10. It views writing as a disciplined creative activity that can be analyzed and described; its practitioners believe that writing can be taught.
  11. It is based on linguistic research and research into the composing process.
  12. It stresses the principle that writing teachers should be people who write.

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