Monday, July 27, 2009

Revisions, Revisions

I’ve never been the type of writer who does more than one draft. Mostly because any paper that I started was due within the next 24 hours (gotta love procrastination). When I started this class I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to write authentic drafts and actually take the time to revise “correctly.” I was pleasantly surprised with my first batch of polished writing; I produced authentic multiple drafts of my multi genre piece. It also surprised me how much BETTER my final draft was compared to my first attempts.

As I read chapter 10 in Inside Out, I reflected back on my own academic career and I was unable to point to a time when I was taught how to revise. I was definitely taught to proofread, but I don’t recall any class where we were taught how to look at our papers and how to help other writers. We had the obligatory peer evaluation days once or twice throughout the year depending on the complexity of the writing assignment. Unfortunately, most of these days were unproductive and time was used inefficiently. I think it was because we didn’t know how to ask for help. We were never taught how to ask the questions that would result in a better draft. We proofread and clarified awkwardly worded sections, but never got into the core of the writing or the purpose behind the process of revision.

(Ed. Note: As I think about it, I’m growing increasingly annoyed at my former teachers. I was in Honors and AP English for crying out loud! If we, as the “model students” weren’t taught how to revise, who was being taught this process?)

Now that I’m wearing my teacher hat, I’m brainstorming how to teach this process. I know I definitely need to incorporate the 4 steps into my lesson plans, but is it better to teach this all in one day? Or over the course of a week? Maybe trying a variety of methods of revision throughout the year is a good idea to keep the concept new and interesting… but I can also see the merit in sticking with one method (the fish bowl method mentioned on pg. 135). When students become comfortable with the revision process through a specific method, it could make them more efficient and put them in a revising frame of mind quickly. There are a lot of decisions to make and it seems to me, as with most things I’m learning, that it will depend on the atmosphere of my future classroom.

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