A Justice Site
CSUDH - Habermas - UWP - Archives
Practice Module on This File
California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Soka University Japan - Transcend Art and Peace
Created: September 22, 2002
Latest Update: September 22, 2002
Site Copyright: Jeanne Curran and Susan R. Takata and Individual Authors, September 2002.
"Fair use" encouraged.
Many of you have not had a great deal of experience at writing responses to questions or requests, even when you know the answer. The blank sheet of paper is scary to some of us. Others of us have been writing all our lives. That difference in level of practice makes a tremendous difference in the results we get in written essay tests.
As you know, for the most part, Susan and Pat and I don't believe in tests because they are poor measures of the actual learning that goes on in the classroom. For one thing, few classes teach writing; it is simply an unstated assumption that if you learned something then that learning will be evidenced by your written essay. All of you who have had occasion to sit with me as I write material for this site know from watching that the very skill of putting things into words, the right words, within a reasonable amount of time, is almost like magic. And though I tell you that it's not magic, and though I insist that I can teach you to write, we all know that as far as mastering it in a semester or two, it is so magic. Ask Marlene to tell you about writing program pieces, or ask Pat to tell you about pulling together teaching essays, or ask Susan what it's like when we take the whole site apart and put it back together.
No, it isn't magic. But it is long, long years of experience, plus doing something that I'm lucky enough to be gifted at. That doesn't mean that you can't learn to do it. Over the last few years, students write more and more of Dear Habermas. It's just that it's a lot easier to edit and to deconstruct and rewrite than it is to start out on your own.
That's another part of the magic. I'm not starting from a blank sheet of paper on my own. I'm busily climbing up the shoulders of giants who have gone before (Merton. On the Shoulders of Giants.) I'm taking an idea from Habermas, mixing it up with another from Bakhtin, then another from Maria Pia Lara, and so on. That's another way in which you learn to write over time, over a long period of time.
As I continue to put up your comments I will occasionally try to do an entire essay on how to write for an essay test. One such essay is at Powerfully Imaginative Speech Donna M. Woods' comments on imaginative force needed to gain attention for the recognition of harm. This example should help you through this first stage of my accounting for learning evidence submitted for grades. jeanne. September 22, 2002.