The Writing Process Elbow Style
According to Elbow the emphasis should be on writing and responding. I think what he is saying, is that writing is a process. People are given a literacy process in schools that begins with the act of listening to a language, following grammar rules that many exceptions, phonics that help only in the beginning stages, and all of these conventions culminate in the act of physically writing the language. Due to these kinds of restrictions; people, do not like to write. In the article “Thoughts on the Teacherless Writing Class,”Elbow takes us on a journey through the process of teaching writing, or not utilizing a teacher. Maybe having a facilitator to guide the process is not such a bad idea. As educators of writing, teachers in the traditional sense, put a lot of emphasis on Planning the form, including the content; perfecting the grammar, and style. Reviewing the results of Academic processes in our public school system, we can see that there has not been a lot of stock put into the suggestions Mr. Elbow’s process, although…we do use portfolio’s…from time to time.
Elbow implies that teaching writing is a complex task. If it was easy, then some academic would have figured out a process to teach people to write a long time ago. Elbow alludes to the fact that writing needs to be handled on a step by step basis. He uses a math analogy to try and demonstrate his point,”Learning X and Y, but you can’t do X till you can do Y, but you can’t do Y until you can do X (135). He wants writers to learn to walk before letting them run. Writers have many skills to polish while they are trekking toward that all elusive,”Coherent Paper” that everyone strives for. Elbow states that writing progress is not evident right away. He says,”Nothing budges till everything budges” (135). His insight toward discernable evidence concerning writing was notable, so why is his doctrine not being followed by everyone? He thought that writing should be shared by colleagues. His philosophy on peer reviewing makes a lot of sense. His desire for writers to experience the give and take of sharing amongst colleagues is radical, yet effective in the writing realm of Rhetoric.
In conclusion, I believe Peter Elbow sums it up by saying, “no piece of writing pleases everyone” (126). The writing process is tough. I am just now, a graduate student, learning to write: really write. The examples of the complexity and difficulty of the writing process that Mr. Elbow gives are accurate: I am experiencing the same difficulties this semester as I write, and write, and write. I have really learned about writing because of the feedback I have received from colleagues; fellow grad students. There is nothing like the first hand experience of writing and learning how to write; so we will empathize with our students as they struggle through the process.