There Is NOT One Correct Way of Writing & Speaking!


Here is a bad idea about writing that really affects America and causes discrimination upon some millions of Americans til this day. The belief of “There is One Correct Way of Writing and Speaking” is a myth that has ruined families, lives, and opportunities around America easily. Living in the United States of America the most dominant language is English followed by many other languages, but Americans are automatically subjected to speak English fluently or they will be looked at as less of American as if they don’t belong in this country. Most high-class or even middle-class Americans believe that English is the only correct way of speaking or writing and that English should be the only language used in America but that’s not true at all.That belief has caused discrimination amongst minorities , lower-class people and students.

Now here’s a better idea although English is the most dominant language in America other forms of communication should be allowed as well. The way people communicate with family, friends, and other students in the comforts and privacy of their homes where they may use “slang” or a language that is native to their culture shouldn’t be considered as “wrong”. A person should not be looked over just because of a person not speaking “correct” English. That should not dim their light.

Discrimination at First Sound

In this article Anjali Pattanayak argues that “There is One Correct Way of Writing and Speaking” is a myth and how this type of discrimination has corrupted America for years. Pattanayak is a minority and speaks for the minorities to shed light on lower-class individuals’ point of view of life where they are constantly discriminated against because of this myth. She explains that there is not one type of way of writing and speaking for those who are influenced by different backgrounds and upbringings. She gives examples of how people who do not speak proper English are looked upon and how others of a higher class or higher authority would not understand the languages minorities and lower-class individuals would use in their culture is also a correct way of writing a speaking depending on the time, place, and audience.

Middle-Class Enterprise

Lynn Z. Bloom, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and holder of the Aetna Chair of Writing at the University of Connecticut articulate the ways in which the cultural values of the middle class are being taught in the writing classroom as objectively good or true and the impact of this mentality. Bloom states in her article “Freshman Composition as a Middle-Class Enterprise” that “Literacy is taken for granted; it sustains the ability to read and write well enough to function as a parent, a good citizen, a wise consumer, a capable employee, and more. We teach students that writing conveys power and authority. We teach them that it is the writer’s responsibility to control the language and consequently its message and its effect on the audience, lest that authority be dissipated.” Literacy is a very important and is used daily to communicate and yes English should be spoken articulately everyone does not have the opportunity to go to school to come across the article. Some lower-class people do not have the support at home to go to school to learn proper English or to even take Freshman Composition in school. Yet and still a person that did not have the chance to learn how to speak proper English still is able to be a great parent, citizen, capable employee and more.

Students Rights to Their Own Language.

Editors Austin Jackson, David E. Kirkland, and Staci Perryman-Clark compile short articles for and against the resolution called “Students’ Right to Their Own Language. “In 1974, the Conference for College Composition and Communication passed the resolution Students’ Right to Their Own Language. In this time since it passed, there has been a great deal of discussion around the wisdom of that resolution.” “The Conference on College Composition and Communication first adopted a statement affirming students’ right to “their own patterns and varieties of language. The dialects of their nurture or whatever dialects in which they find their own identity and style.” Literacy and education are not only for middle class or high-class people. Students speak and communicate with each other using “slang” and other forms of English which is their own language but that does not mean they are illiterate. Students having a right to their own language was created for the culture and just for the sake of being young but yet inspired as a student. It gives students something to stand on to let them know they have a place and say so in this country and they will not be ridiculed for the way that they speak. Students having their own language also helps teachers understand and connect with their students to build everlasting relationships with one another.

In Conclusion 

So, to answer the question of if there is not one correct way of speaking and writing? The answer is No, as stated previously, there are many ways to communicate for all people minorities, middle-class, lower-class, students and etc. Some may not speak proper English, but it is still a form of communication and is not wrong. To judge people based on the way they speak is discrimination and to believe there is only one correct way of writing and speaking is simply absurd. English is the language we speak but it is not the only language we communicate in. As we go older and time moves on different languages and ways people communicate increases. In 2019 the usual isn’t usual anymore.


Pattanyak,Analji. “There is One Correct Way of Writing and Speaking.” Bad Ideas About Writing, Cheryl E. Ball & Drew M. Loewe. 2017.Digital Publishing Institute,

Bloom, Lynn Z. “Freshman Composition as a Middle-Class Enterprise.” College English, Vol. 58, No. 6 (Oct., 1996), pp. 654-675, National Council of Teachers of English,

Fournel, Jenna. ” Students’ Right to Their Own Language.” National Council of Teachers of English.Jenna Fournel Publisher, 19 March 2015. Web.

Here’s a Bad Idea: Texting Ruins Grammar Skills


This semester, I designed my Engl 1101 research projects around the book Bad Ideas About Writing, edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe.  Students had to choose an essay from that book, find that essay’s sources, and then that source’s sources, and write an answer that answers this question: What’s a better idea (than the bad idea) about writing? As you can see in this blog, there are a variety of interesting answers. I hope that you enjoy them and learn something!

My honors sections also have to do a group project related to the research project, and my section this semester decided to have a text dialogue about Scott Warnock‘s essay “Texting Ruins Grammar Skills.”  They recorded their group chat and made it into a video that is both interesting and enlightening:



Only Geniuses Can Be Writers


In today’s society there are a lot of unrealistic rules and ideas that are we are implemented into thinking are actually true. Barriers that stand in the way of many people from doing things because of these unrealistic rules and ideas.  A lot of these unrealistic rules and ideas are found when it comes to writing. There are numerous works of literature that talk about these unrealistic rules and ideas, one of them being Bad Ideas About Writing.One particular bad idea about writing specifically is that “Only Geniuses Can Be Writers.” This bad idea applies not only to published authors or poets who earn a living from their writing, but also every-day writers such as students. Teaching our students that you don’t solely have to have preternatural intelligence or talent to succeed as a writer is a better idea.                                                                             

   In their literature classes our students are consistently exposed to writers that have been labeled as geniuses of thought such as Shakespeare, Orwell, and Emerson.  They are taught that these are truly writers whose work is illustrates writing as something that should flow freely and easily. When in reality, writing is hard. It is a better idea to discourage these unrealistic expectations and to instead teach our students that you don’t have to be a genius to be capable of coming up with an original thought. When students are implemented with these unrealistic expectations that you have to meet certain requirement in order to be a writer, they fall short of being able to realize their full potential. In The Irish Times, author and musician Josh Ritter writes about he struggled with the image of these genius authors. He writes, “Never mind that for my entire writing life I’d been writing at my kitchen table, with my guitar on my knee and a pen and notebook handy, if I wanted to be a real writer, I would need a desk. […] And without the desk, how could I write my novel?” Ritter comes to the conclusion that grand writing tables, remote cabins, and candlelit sitting don’t accurately represent what writing actually looks like for anyone. Instead now writing is more of a collaborative endeavor in which writing requires asking for your colleagues’ help or finding ideas and inspiration in others’ writing. The education our students are receiving should embrace this model of writing of collaboration over isolation.  As stated in the essay, “As both history and contemporary practice demonstrate, writing has always required deep social engagement and influence, and no writer has succeeded solely due to pretern
atural intellect or talent. The pervasive idea of the reclusive author and genius birthing prose free from influence must die—and in its wake, a renewed idea of productive and meaningful collaboration (with other writers and their texts) will thrive.” (Bad Ideas About Writing, 69)                                                                                                                                                

If our society stopped implementing these unrealistic expectations on what it takes to truly be a writer, would there be more published authors today? Those who because of these unrealistic expectations hold back on seeking to become writers because they believe their creativity doesn’t meet the standards and they’re hesitant the quality of their work because they don’t consider themselves geniuses like Shakespeare.  If our students were stopped being taught these bad ideas about writers and taught them that yes, writing is hard, but geniuses aren’t the only ones that can be writers.  

Edwards, Dustin and Paz, Enrique “Only Geniuses Can Be Writers”, Bad Ideas About Writing, Digital Publishing Institute, 2017.

Ritter, Josh “Paperback Ritter”, The Irish Times, June 1, 2012. 

Are Good Writers Born or Made?


           There is a well-known myth that talent is something people are either born with or without. Successes in careers and skills of all kinds are too often attributed to natural talent. This is especially true with the ability to write. Many people believe that well-known, successful authors were just the lucky ones who were born with talent. The idea that some people are born good writers, while well-intended, actually does much more harm than good. It discourages people who want to learn to write and teaches those who find it easy that they don’t have to work to improve. A more practical idea is that good writers are made through perseverance, humility, and the right mindset.

            In her essay “Some People are Just Born Good Writers,” in the book Bad Ideas About Writing,  Jill Parrott says that “good writing instruction… can only occur if the person believes that they can become a good writer” (74). Without the core belief that improvement is possible, there is very little chance that a writer will progress. This is the foundation of the growth mindset. Developed by psychologist Carol Dweck, growth mindset is the belief that intelligence and skills can improve ( The right mindset is fundamental to anyone who wishes to become a good writer. When people are taught that writing ability is set in stone, one of two things will presumably happen. If someone believes they were lucky enough to be born with this natural talent or ability, they are not likely to work at it or seek out opportunities for improvement. On the other hand, if they believe that they were born without it, they will feel discouraged and never even make an attempt, leaving them stuck where they are. With a growth mindset, an aspiring writer will focus on their improvements while embracing challenges to improve on weaknesses.

            It can almost be guaranteed that everyone learning to write will be told not to give up more times than they can count. It’s probably the piece of advice heard the most by aspiring writers. It is often said as if it is simple or easy to follow, when it can actually be one of the hardest aspects of developing a skill. Picking oneself up after failure and persevering through challenges is a never-ending struggle, but according to writer Jeff Goins, it makes all the difference. In his article “The Difference Between Good Writers and Bad Writers,” Goins says, “Bad writers quit. Good writers keep going. That’s all there is to it” ( As stated before, this is much easier said than done, but he makes a valuable point. That is, if you keep working, taking the time to practice, you will advance in your writing. Goins believes that bad writers do not improve because they believe their writing has “achieved a certain level of excellence” ( They settle for whatever they have written so far, and do not challenge themselves to write something better. ‘

            Probably the most overlooked quality of good writers, humility is a key aspect of becoming a good writer. While confidence is often viewed as an important characteristic of successful writers, humility is rarely mentioned. Without humility, a person would not think to ask for feedback on their writing. Instead of seeking out and listening to constructive criticism, they are closed off and ignore what others have to say.

            This reluctance to accept feedback often stems from a fear of rejection or failure. Katharine Brooks, a provider of career services at numerous colleges throughout the U.S., believes this fear is what holds most people back in their writing. In her article “Writing Anxiety and the Job Search,” she says her colleague, Neil Johnson, sees a lot of “fear of rejection. Fear of not doing a good job. Fear of writing in general” ( Once those learning to write can let go of that fear, they can learn to be humble and to use their setbacks as learning opportunities to progress. Editing, revising, and rewriting are all crucial parts of the writing process, but bad writers decide that they do not need these. Skipping these steps leaves their writing mediocre and scattered.

            A concept not discussed here, but equally important to improving writing skills, is the concept of metacognition. Metacognition is the awareness and understanding of one’s own thought processes, or, simply put, thinking about thinking. Improving metacognitive skills requires reflection on one’s work and their thoughts about that work. Anyone learning to write, at any age and at any point in their writing journey, can benefit from learning about metacognition. To learn more about metacognition and strategies to improve it, visit



Works Cited

Parrott, Jill. “Some People are Just Born Good Writers.” Bad Ideas About Writing, edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe, Digital Publishing Institute, 2017, 71-75.

Goins, Jeff. “The Difference Between Good Writers and Bad Writers.” Goins, Writer, 24 Nov. 2014,

Brooks, Katharine. “Writing Anxiety and the Job Search.” Psychology Today, 30 Jul. 2010,

“Decades of Scientific Research That Started a Growth Mindset Revolution.” The Growth Mindset – What Is Growth Mindset – Mindset Works,

SAT Scores Are NOT Useful for Placing Students in Writing Courses

SAT Scores Are NOT Useful for Placing Students in Writing Courses

“The SAT essay is a completely artificial and unnatural piece of writing”- Les Perelman

It is said that the SAT is considered to be a standardized assessment which is supposed to determine a students readiness for college but in many instances it is a source of stress, insecurity, and anxiety for some students, parents,and educators. Because of this the SAT may give a false assessment of a students abilities and academic aptitude. The essay portion is supposed to give an estimation of where a students writing ability falls in the academic arena. It has been found that the test scores are basically comparing one test takers scores to others in a group. There are many variables that could affect the outcome.
The SAT, considered to be a “norm-referenced” exam is designed to rank students rather than measure what they actually know. These types of exams compare students to other test takers. There needs to be a means of determining a students writing level and ability that is not based primarily on speculation involving predetermined criteria.
“So, there are at least two reasons for rejecting SAT scores as a substitute for placement testing. One is that a test’s validity depends on its intended use, and since the SAT was not designed as a placement test, it lacks validity for this purpose. The second reason is that the SAT is a norm-referenced test not aligned with a particular curriculum, while a college writing placement test is a criterion-referenced test with results linked to specific course content. “ (Gennaro 294)
Socioeconomic situations of students also play a huge role because it influences what students were taught and exposed to within their respective schools. This could give an unfair advantage to a certain group of students.
Todd Balf discusses the conversation between David Coleman and Les Perelman in his NewYork Times article “The Story Behind the SAT Overhaul.” They had a two hour long conversation and Perelman admitted that he was not against the essay portion, if it was structured in a better way. It caused intense student anxiety, teachers felt that the test was not representative of what was being taught in class, and a more serious charge against the test was that it gave an unfair advantage to students of higher socioeconomic status. Coleman summed it up best :
“The achievements of children from affluent families were tainted because they “bought” a score; those in the middle class cried foul because they couldn’t get the “good stuff” or were overextended trying to; and the poor, often minority students, were shut out completely.
Clearly children of more affluent families could afford to pay for expensive tutors, and test prep classes which heightened their advantages of securing higher test scores. This unfair advantage does nothing to equalize the playing field for students to be placed in the correct classes. The ability to be placed correctly should not rely on how much money a student’s family has to secure them elite placement. It has been found that students with good high school scores were able to perform very well even though they had low SAT scores.
According to Joanna Weiss in her article The Man Who Killed the SAT Essay, Les Perelman was a writing professor at MIT that participated in a conference on college composition grading and researched information regarding the SAT scoring component of essays.
“He discovered that the longer the essay, the higher that it was scored. Perelman approached the SAT with a writer’s skill at well-worded persuasion. He also had logic and data on his side. On the face of it, the SAT essay was always absurd: How many of us could write coherent deep thoughts in 25 minutes or less?…Perelman looked into the actual components of good scores, then came up with a cheeky, widely circulated guide for students. Write long, he advised. Use big, fancy words — “myriad” is a winner — and don’t worry about using them correctly. Include a quotation, even if it has nothing to do with the subject at hand.”
The concept of “ the longer the essay the better the score” Seems unbalanced because a student could have written an exceptional essay in a concise matter and was scored lower than one that threw bunches of words together probably rambling at some point but by the amount of words in their essay, they scored higher. An interesting concept, it seems that it wasn’t necessarily what you knew to be true, just fake it until you make it.
Karyn Holis shared an interesting interview with Les Perelman, the man referred to as the “ Man Who Killed the SAT”. The discussed several subjects such as his criticisms of the SAT, as well as his research at MIT. He discussed discrepancies such as only an affluent minority can afford test preparation. They also looked into his somewhat controversial stance on his criticism on automated writing tests and Automated Essay Scoring (AES). Perelman stated an important motivation for testing mania is corporate greed. The assessments are a cash cow in a sense. Testing is more profitable than textbooks today. These companies provide he textbooks, instructions for the tests and online resources as well as remediation resources which are multiple income streams. He also spoke of those who influenced him the most: John Searle, Mary Pratt, and Ross Winterowd, as well as what he considered as intellectual giants that he met MIT, the late Don Schön and Noam Chomsky, He also offered advice for young scholars and researchers that could be beneficial to them going forward. When asked his opinion on making the writing portion of the SAT optional , he stated that it is a good thing, he was asked to provide some input regarding writing assessment , but doubts” that the College Board will produce a writing assessment that will measure such skills as the abilities to synthesize information from texts and critically assess the underlying assumptions of an argument.”( Perelman )

“Tests are being widely used and misused to evaluate students, teachers, principals and administrators.” Bracey
Gerald Bracey offers a plethora of information on Assessment Literacy. He explains statistical terms and “ introduces some statistics that are essential to understanding testing concepts and for talking intelligently about tests.”, the terms of testing or a glossary which provided definitions on various aspects of and kinds of tests. Which is helpful for analytical people and those interested in what the purpose is for the various test. It is interesting information. It provide concise information on what terms for testing mean, what they evaluate or assess, how they are developed and what their validity is. He sums it up by answering “Why Assessment Literacy?”There is obviously a need to know and understand why these tests are being developed and what purposes are they being served.
On a similar thought pattern is the NCTE-WPA White Paper on Writing Assessment in Colleges and Universities. This is a statement on writing assessment in postsecondary education.
It speaks of connections, of how “writing instruction and literacy education at all levels are formal ways in which societies build citizens, and in which citizens develop reading and communication behaviors and competencies in order to participate in various communities.” In other words the way that societies educate and inform their citizens set a benchmark for them. It seems that there is a lot of research involved and that “ research argues that literacy and its teaching are socially contextualized and socially constructed dynamics, evolving as people, exigency, context.” This paper also discusses that principals should be in place to establish and ensure effective forms of writing assessment. The information should be appropriate for the situation,fair, valid, containing a reliable form of assessment.
By looking over the various documents it confirms that there are pro’s and con’s regarding whether SAT scores are reliable and should primarily be used to place students in writing courses. It has been believed that the essay portion is supposed to give an estimation of where a students writing ability falls in the academic arena. However the SAT may give a false assessment of a students abilities and academic aptitude. Clearly there needs to be a means of determining a students writing level and ability that is not based primarily on speculation involving predetermined criteria. SAT scores are not useful in my opinion for correctly placing students in the correct writing courses.

American English?!?!?!?

      Imagine being placed in a strange place; because of an attempt create a better life for yourself and your family and being forced to learn the native language as well, without any prior knowledge, or help. In Steven Alvarez’s essay, “Official American English is Best”, he attempts to paint this picture, and explains one of the main arguments against making American English the official language. The growing belief that American English should be the official language is a bad idea, because it does not take into account of the history, cultural differences, or cultural shock someone coming from another country with no prior experience. The world is a constantly growing, and changing, place due to a multitude of different cultures and unique perspectives. While I understand the logic of some people wanting to make English the official language of America. I still believe it is not ethical and downright discrimination to some people. It punishes those who are not at fault to them or having any control of where they are from. The short film Immersion (2009) illustrates the struggles of a 10-year old boy named Moises that has immigrated to America from Mexico he faces challenges when he has to take a test and cannot understand it because English is not his natural language. The video below illustrates the tradition and culture that Alvarez attempts to drive home when mentioning what is being missed out on.

     Chairman Mauro Mujica’s interview on Fox News was enlightening. Initially, browsing thru the website, I had preconceptions of what the interview was going to be like. I thought it would be an interview about hating to hear about immigrants that can’t speak, and them speaking their native language instead of English. Instead the interview was about Mr. Mujica wanting English to become the official language because he has seen its productivity in different countries where, in essence, the new country teaches how to become a “productive member of that society”. He uses the examples of “whatever the country is” how they don’t let you work for 3 months, and pay you to learn the language they set you up to actually be productive and not failure.

     The original idea that “Official American English is Best” is not politically correct, and completely opinion based, can be said that it is one of the most spoken languages in the world. As time has passed native languages have begun to diminish in America. “Although ethnic identities may survive in some form into the third and fourth generations or even beyond, immigrant languages generally suffer early deaths in America. This demise occurs not because of an imposition or compulsion from outside, but because of social, cultural, economic, and demographic changes within linguistic communities themselves. Based on an extensive study of America’s historical experience, sociologist Calvin Veltman concluded that in the absence of immigration, all non-English languages would eventually die out, usually quite rapidly.” (Rumbaut and Massey p.142)

     As the world changes, and evolves, so has the number of immigrants that have converted to using English; they have used it more frequently based on the age of their arrival to the U.S. as shown by the results of the study by the American Community Survey “English Proficiency of Immigrants by age of arrival education and Decade of Arrival”. The study shows that as time has passed the English proficiency prior to 1990, between the ages of 0-12 the rate was around 65%, between 1990-1999 the rate was close to 80% and between the years of 2000-2010 the rate rose to about 82%. As time has gone by English proficiency has increased, particularly the early ages of 0-12 years old. The younger the English speaking transition begins, the more proficient the individual is but as they begin to get holder the English proficiency rate decreased. “Speaking a foreign tongue at home does not necessarily imply a lack of fluency in English, of course; but given the nation’s well-established reputation as a graveyard for immigrant languages, the prospects for stable bilingualism in the United States appear slim.” (Rumbaut and Massey p.147)

     There is no such thing as a best language; there simply is a notion of being the right language at the right time based on the circumstances. Being able to speak English very well in Brazil, for example, will not be of any good because that is not the native tongue of the land. A better idea would be that learning English is essential if you would like to have more adaptability in today’s ever-changing world. This added adaptability increases the chances of becoming successful and adding to the growing bilingual community around the world. Using English as the official language of the United States is not a totally bad idea, as long as there are procedures put in place to ensure that all immigrants are given the necessary tools to become successful members of society, while still holding onto their natural traditions and culture. If the time ever comes what will you vote towards; making English the official language of the world or keeping things as they are?





Works Cited

Alvarez, Steven. “Official American English is Best.” Bad Ideas About Writing, The Digital Publishing Institute, 2017, pp. 93–98.

“a Film about a New Immigrant Struggling in an English-Only Class.” Immersion,

“Chairman Mauro Mujica Talks Official English on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’” U.S. English, 6 Apr. 2017,

YouTube, 5 Apr. 2017,

Rumbaut, Rubén G., and Douglas S. Massey. “Immigration & Language Diversity in the United States.” Daedalus, vol. 142, no. 3, 2013, pp. 141–154. JSTOR,

American Community Survey “English Proficiency of Immigrants by age of arrival education and Decade of Arrival”. 2008-2010 merged files.

Not More Writing Process!

Writing involves a lot of aspects, a lot of steps we must consider for a successful paper. However, the bad idea presented here is the obsession about the writing process over the real purpose of writing, which is the product. In his essay, “The More Writing Process, The Better” published in the book Bad Ideas about Writing (P.109-114), Jimmy Butts believes that a better idea is in the fact that we should focus our attention on the “finished product,” rather than spending tons of hours on the writing process. Doing this will help the writers complete those beautiful drafts, which we are after.

Decorative photo of thread and scissors

Process vs. Product. Credit:


When it comes to writing, we tend to approach it from different angles, different points of view. We all were taught to see writing more as a process, if we want to become good writers. That involves prewriting, editing, revising. Essentially, everyone has an idea of the fact that a paper wouldn’t be a good one if you don’t follow these steps. Undoubtedly, they play a significant role in the quality of our essays. However, the process tends to delay us from our main objective, which is to get things done. Jimmy Butts illustrates this problem when he says “Many embraced a kind of slower process in the teaching of writing that resisted the kind of production-line expectation of written work that can sometimes arise along with a lot of expectations. All of this was good. It was a valuing of the human as a writer, but it began- I suspect- to devalue the written work” (Butts 110). In other words, the fact that we spend too much time thinking about an essay such as prewriting, revising, all those repeated actions push writing or finished drafts into the background and leave out the real appreciation of our essays. Moreover, it is irrelevant to focus our energy and time on the process and forget to get things done. We can’t embrace a slower process if at the end, we can’t produce anything. So, writing doesn’t solely involve a kind of recursive process because, after a while, it takes us away from our main goal. Butts assimilates this activity as “unimportant”. Butts supports his thought when he says that “Revising too much can be unethical, a waste” (Butts 113). We should appreciate the written work itself. For example, in Basketball or football, it is like spending time to appreciate a team’s playstyle but at the end they never win the game. The process is not important if the product of our work is good.

Writing can be a little bit complex if we think about the steps that go from brainstorming to publishing but we should always stay focused and pay more attention to the outcome. Obviously, writing takes time and requires some background work, but writers shouldn’t be obsessed about completing too much process which looks more like a never-ending thing. Instead, writers should appreciate the work done in their normal. In fact, when writers delay the written work, they end up rushing to meet deadlines and more than likely it leads either to a crappy product or they can’t even turn it in at all. That is, Megan McArdle in her essay “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators” dives into that problem. She said, “Most writers manage to get by because, as the deadline creeps closer, their fear of turning nothing eventually surpasses their fear of turning in something terrible” (McArdle 2). In other words, writers spend a lot of time revising their papers, thinking too much about how their paper can look better that they forget the essence of the work itself, which is to produce. For instance, most writers are paralyzed by the fact that they focus all their attention on the process, which is somehow hard to appreciate.

Furthermore, Hannah Sullivan, the author of the book the work of revision explains the link between “a text’s thematic or formal concerns to its genesis” (Sullivan 5). That is, she emphasizes on the fact that the form of a work doesn’t determine its method of composition and revision. She believes that we inherited these virtues of redrafting and rewriting from the modernism. The modernist approach of rewriting, to touch up can sometimes go a little bit too far. In fact, sometimes writers tend to revise a little bit more to justify the difficulty and value of their work.

Finally, Butts ended his argument when he said, “Writing is construction, but thinking about writing is never arriving at what we might create” (Butts 113). Writing should be seen more as a product, something we must achieve. Writing takes time and the process can’t be disassociated to the product, but writing is more complex than that. Students should be taught to get things done, instead of endless drafts. We should complete the work and give more credit to finished drafts themselves.


Work cited

Butts, Jimmy “The More Writing Process, the Better”, Bad Ideas About Writing, Digital Publishing Institute,

McArdle, Megan “Why Writers Are the Worst Procrastinators”, The Atlantic, Feb 12, 2014,

Sullivan, Hannah, The Work of Revision, Harvard University Press, 2013.


English Professors Require Professional Support

“Anyone can Teach Writing” 

Marjorie Walker

The essay “Anyone can Teach Writing” by Seth Khan speaks about the titular bad idea that anyone can teach writing, the ‘anyone’ in particular referring to the adjunct professors that make up the majority of teachers in a college. Despite their degrees on the subject, however, they not only have less job security, but also have less resources. It’s so bad that they actually don’t get the syllabus for their class to look over and try to come up with a good plan for how the year will go until the week before a semester starts.

These are just some of the problems these professors have to deal with as a result of this idea, but the group who will feel this worst of all is the students taught by those professors, them not being able to get the attention and learn the information they need efficiently due to their “teachers on wheels” (Street et al., 2) travelling from class to class right after the other every day.

A better idea would be that “Any well-trained and supported writing professor can teach writing”.

Effects on Adjunct Professors

One of the reasons I feel this is a better writing idea is that the colleges will be less callous about their treatment of adjunct professors under this field.

The bad idea has been around since the 1800s according to Seth Khan’s “Anyone can Learn Writing” essay, when English Composition was first beginning and was taught by groups considerably varying in skill level, from professors that specialized in it to students that recently graduated under the field (365). Only recently have they started to put in specialized training for writing teachers, though the idea still has its effect on the thought processes of colleges when it comes to paying and their treatment of the adjuncts.

They still have the idea that it doesn’t matter who they hire to teach it or when they do it. They think someone who was hired the day before can handle the ‘simple’ amount of stuff to teach to an entire classroom as someone who has been at the college for years and is somewhat known by the children there. They aren’t even called to participate in college meetings sometimes either.

Therefore, the professors struggle to get their materials together in time for classes to start, and on top of that, they may have multiple classes to travel between on the same day, so students who need some help can most likely be out of luck.

With the mindset the better idea presents us with, colleges may not be as careless and think of an adjunct English professor’s time to be as valuable as a professor with another major. They may send them the syllabi and let them know that they’re accepted to teach at the college at a more convenient time to give them some well-deserved breathing room. They may also give them more access to resources for a better learning experience. A shame that we need to think up a better idea just for those professors to have the resources that they need, but I digress. The teachers are not the only ones that have it hard thanks to this archaic bad idea, however. 

Effects on Students

Another reason I feel this is a better writing idea is because it will ultimately better prepare the students and give them the skills they need to succeed in college as well as beyond.

This is a very important reason, that the students will be able to receive all the help and knowledge they need to prepare them. Laura McKenna’s article “The Cost of an Adjunct” discusses this, having other non-tenured professors like Judy Olsen to discuss their situations, her saying that “her financial concerns may detract away from her lesson planning” as well as quoting other teachers that “are unable to maintain independent research that could otherwise enrich classroom discussions”.

Through improving the teachers’ conditions and keeping them informed on their hiring status, the colleges can promote an overall excellent learning experience for the students there, both the ones that struggle with this subject and those who already somewhat enjoy it.


I think overall the idea that anyone can teach writing is a terrible idea that does not only undersell the skill and effort needed to deal with the true unpredictability of writing, but also hurts those who teach it as well as learn it.

English professors have to deal with terrible conditions such as cramped office spaces and no personal offices to discuss private school issues with their students who need it. The better idea that any well-trained and supported writing professional can teach writing is more likely to remind colleges that professors with English degrees had to go through the same amount of hard work as one with a Mathematics degree or a degree in the Arts, and must be treated as such with better pay, less cramped office spaces, and given more time to look over their information for the year.

This in turn will help the students that need it most, giving them a more consistent place to meet up with their teacher and discuss any issues they might have to have a much smarter group of students.

Of course, it is also up to the students, according to Olson and Maria Maisto from  to look into their colleges and how the adjunct teachers are treated. If the college representatives respond in a way that only someone with the mindset that “anyone can teach writing” has, then try to bring to them the better idea that anyone with the support and training of a professional can really achieve that. 

Source List

Who Is Professor “Staff” and How Can This Person Teach So Many Classes? vol. 2, New Faculty Majority, 2012, pp. 1–22, Who Is Professor “Staff” and How Can This Person Teach So Many Classes?

McKenna, Laura. “The Cost of an Adjunct.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 26 May 2015, 

Khan, Seth. “Anyone can Teach Writing.” Bad Ideas About Writing, edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe. West Virginia University Digital Publishing Institute, 2017. pp. 363-368

Response with Never Using “I”


    In researching the theory of giving a response and never use “I”, an article by Kimberly N. Parker. I’ve found that this can make students feel silenced. Students are taught this theory early on, but the “Bad ideas About Writing” (pg. 135) article shows no adequate reasoning behind the theory or an deepening understanding as to why. As a young student being taught this, it raised questions I’m sure others are wondering. Well how do I give a correct response out of 1st person? Why leave me out of the response sections? Isn’t personal response your connection to the passage? If teachers could educate students how to leave an authentic response for literature and still make a connection with self, this would instead be a better idea. A response a occurs after reading and somewhere between self and text connect then a student can explain who they got to this conclusion.

The problem with leaving “I”?
    In researching the articles by Kimberly Parker, she wrote the article, she explains Restricting students to write without self can make students not feel the freedom of writing. writing should be about self-expression, while given evaluation of the text. When” I” can’t be represented what else is to say how we connect. It Leaves open that space to say did I really learn anything here is there anything attaching me to what I just read. How can a professor expect students to have a response when “I” is forbidden with no substitution?

Many students will be taught this during their transitions of institutions, that expressing themselves through their lives in response to literature isn’t acceptable. Within in these restricting guidelines often taught early on, Parker continues to explain how writing can become a disembodied task to only complete and devoid any joy or connection of feeling. It can become vague and distant. Student have a disconnect with writing because they feel it’s not about them.



In Bird by Bird, Anne Lamont expresses how she found within her students, they were rather just trying to make an assignment deadline and making sure their papers are perfect for standards than learning and implicating creativity. Its only to finish a standard but not educating them into being experienced writers. This fights against having students learning what their writing style or seeing themselves as their own personal writers. Its them expressing through someone else or writing like someone else. It can cause a delayed chance to develop as a new writer if a student can be told to stop writing as you experience but how the standard is set for you to write. it’s more of a representation to leave yourself out and your voice won’t be represented.

With a lot of these preset standards, student may feel pressure to always stick with these standards to make everything perfect. Anne Lamont speaks on this on pg. 28 of her book, Bird by Bird. She speaks by saying “Perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life course”. Perfection is the robbery of creativity. Focusing too much on the guidelines of structure and standard can leave a paper, sometimes vain. Organization is a key to a great paper, yes, but too much pressure is often applied to the standards of papers, which can cause lack of originality or skills. Allowing your understanding to be open and unrestricted you can discover new treasures about yourself as a writer. Under all the mess and plies, while cleaning things up you can make something new.

So, if we can’t write in first person how do we respond?
Lucy Calkins, Art of teaching reading and writing, Gives us some steps of personal response in an article on pg. 518. Personal response involves first hearing and then now showing how you are affected by it. Reader’s linger over the readings and still bring through a relation of one’s own life. You must get a sense that you first get it and there is a response to give. In order to show how prior experience can serve as a source for envisioning and comprehending a text, a reader can share his or her thoughts.

After taking in the steps when the can answer the questions of:

1. can you tell a story from this?
2. How can you explain seeing it in this way?
3. What does these sections say about these texts?
4. What does the section say about me the reader as a person?

     Writers need options for how to say what they want to say and not be silenced. It is important to help young writers to understand who they are as a writer and help guide them to use writing as a creative process for liberation’s and self-explorations. Anne Lamont also wrote a writer’s job is to see what’s hidden within a page, to see maybe bleak unspeakable things, and turn it into words that will adjoin others into a place of unity in understanding. Writer are first to discover then figure out a way to get their audience on the same page with them. expounding on the journey it took them on and getting them to the same destination

Work cited page:
Parker, N. Kimberly, Response: Never use “I”, bad ideas about writing, wvu,2015.
Calkins, Lucy, Personal Response: The art of reading and writing, New York: longman,2001.
Lamont, Anne, Finding your voice, Perfectionism: Bird by Bird, New York :Pantheon Books, 19