As soon as I read the title of this reading I became very curious. I thought I had finally found proof of what my parents thought was a very poor way of studying when I was in high school. I used to read my Social Study, Biology, or Literature books, synthesize, analyze, create diagrams, and in the process I would managed to re-write 3 pages of material into a 6-9 page product. My dad thought I was nuts! and warned me of how hard college would be for me if I kept that nonsense up. I feel like I finally have proof that I wasn’t too far off, and that my method of studying although EXTREMELY time consuming, did help me learn. Of course now I realize that my dad was right, and that had I not learned other ways of studying, I would not be in a graduate program never mind in this class… can you imagine re-writing all these readings!?!?!?!? (I am not whining).
Emig thus points out the multiple reasons as to why writing is definitely a mode of learning. She uses a great deal of evidence from Vygotzky to Piaget, to Gardner, she utilizes rather well known theories not only into the physiological process of the brain when people write and learn but also in production of learning through writing. Furthermore, Emig offers a nice list of differences between writing and talking. Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of them; for example, the thought that “… the spoken word has for the most part proved ephemeral and treated mundanely” (124), I believe may have the tendency to ignore the scares that words leave in the minds of individuals that are verbally abused, most of the differences mentioned are right on to what I have seen and experience.
I became particularly drawn by the idea that writing supports learning simply because of the fact that it reinforces its cycle through the use of the hand, the eyes, and the brain (125), which is a very complex and intertwine process. It is so complex, that some of us may think too fast for our hands, and in fact, often have to go back and erase because we start to write a word that should go after some that we skipped. The necessity to establish a connection between all these processes requires of a series of skills that are guide writing as well; for instance the ability to coordinate, subordinate, superordinate, establish causal relations, and possibly narrate and describe (126).
Finally, Maslow pyramid of needs proves once again true as Pirsig, cited by Emig, states that, “The quality which creates the world emerges as a relationship between the man and his experience. He is a participant in the creation of all things” (126), and it is undeniable, that human beings create, support and nurture relationships that meet their own needs, from the need to survive to the need of belonging. Therefore, writing as a creation, also facilitates the genesis of relations that meet our human needs. Thus writing may be inspired by the need of expression or the need of getting an A in a composition class. I wonder how man composition instructions and students think of writing that way.