I was assigned a summary of Sommer's article "Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers," for my 591 class. Never one to do anything normal, I created a series of short panels to summarize the article and arranged them in a power point. Now I will share them with you, dear readers.Sommers describes the linear concept of writing. First there are ideas, which are transformed by words and through a rather mysterious, nebulous concept of revision, finally become the essay.
Sommers describes student's emphasis on writing as they speak instead of as a separate form of communication. She differentiates the two in that speech, unlike writing...
cannot be revised.
Sommers had her inexperienced writers write three essays and then revise each twice, for a total of 9 products. (Think about it for a second. It does actually work out to 9. It threw me the first time too).
She then tallied each type of revision they made, breaking them down into categories. She never brings this up again, but apparently it was important at some point.
More interesting is her interviews with the students, in which she noted their revision strategies were shallow, word or sentence level. Often they were weary of admitting it was revision, calling it something else such as 'scratching out and doing over.'
She also found that the inexperienced writers stressed the ease of writing when they were inspired by something.
However, this inspiration could lead them to become too attached to their topic and ignore more...ahem...global problems with their paper.
Enter the Experienced Writer. Unlike the Inexperienced Writer, he is not easily influenced or over-enthused by his own writing.
What it really comes down to is outlook.
The inexperienced student has a short term goal which, when accomplished, gives him a feeling of success. For the experienced writer, revision is an endless process.
Sommers attributes this to motivation. While the inexperienced writer is being told to accomplish a short term goal, the experienced writer is attempting to please an immense, nameless "Readership." The trick, therefor, is to develop a language which impresses the importance of revision on a student, even without this larger form of motivation.
So, there you have it. This is where all my time has gone in the past few days. Now it is time to write poetry, which is a good time.