Tobin writes that Ken Macrorie "argues for writing freely, for telling truths, and for finding your authentic voice" (3). In all honestly, how is one supposed to compose in such a way when our academic institutions rarely appreciate this kind of writing? We are always expected to write in such a way that pleases our professors so that we might earn an 'A' so that we might feel our education and hard work has been worthwhile. I also ask how would educational institutions meaningfully shift away from emphasis on product to emphasis on process, writing freely and authentic voice when much of the funding for any school and in any field is based on the evaluation (products such as final grades, standardized testing grades, etc). It seems so hopeless...
Response from Caleb
Chelsea, I understand your pain. There is a very robust emphasis on quantitative numbers, statistics, and physical evidence as evidence of education, yet what can a piece of paper with these measurements actually measure? If the shift to process over product is to ever take place, assessment would have to take on a whole new meaning. Sadly, I don't think the education realm will ever be a completely honest persuit with all the money that is wrapped up in it, as it seems that everything in our nation revolves around the all mighty dollar. Despite these educational lacks and lapses, thankfully we still have some classes where we can discuss and disect these problems, though it's sad that you have to wait till your a junior in college before you can start writing with your own voice. If they keep plugging teachers/students like us into the educational equation, then one day it might be different.
Response from Samantha
I had mentioned last week that my eighth grade GT English teacher gave our class a list of 25 elements that should always be included in the writing for the then TAKS test. Some of these elements were metaphor, simile, and a quote. We memorized the list and used them in all our practice writings and the actual test. It worked because the majority of the class got the highest grade possible. Then in high school, our teacher taught us to write research papers by finding quotes, writing them down on a notecard, and taping/gluing them to notebook paper. We were to write the transition and descriptive sentences in the space above and below the notecards and then we would type it out as is. We had to turn in the notebook, copies of each page of research from which we took a quote, and the paper at the end of the term. When I took my ENGL 1301 and 1302, the instructor told us not to use any of the things we had been taught as far as how to write, and she gave us total liberty to do what we needed to get a good paper. Each is a very different process, but they all were based on product. I feel the same the same way in regards to the idea that shifting the importance from product to process; how could anyone put a grade on how something that is so individual and personal?