Between Talk And Teaching
Reconsidering the Writing Conference
Publication Year: 1998
Published by: Utah State University Press
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THE ENGLISH DEPARTMENT OFFICES WERE ON THE THIRD FLOOR OF the library, on the end near fraternity row. I climbed slowly up the stairs, planting each foot deliberately on the worn marble treads. At the top, to the left, was the secretary's desk. It was a few minutes before five. I stood quietly in front of her, happy to let seconds pass as...
ONE: Conversation, Teaching, and Points in Between: The Confusion of Conferencing
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I BEGAN STUDYING MY OWN CONFERENCING PRACTICE MANY YEARS ago, while I was still a graduate student. I'll admit that I chose that particular project for my research course because I was smug in my belief that any examination would show the professor and my classmates how fair, honest, critical, thoughtful, reflective, and even nurturing I was. It would show that...
TWO: Power and Talk
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MANY OF THE PROBLEMS THAT OCCUR BETWEEN STUDENTS AND teachers in conferencing arise because of the difference in power between participants. In classrooms, that power difference is indicated in many ways--for example, in the geography and use of physical space. In most classrooms, one teacher occupies the front third of the classroom, while in contrast...
THREE: Gender and Conferencing
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RECENTLY, A GROUP OF STUDENTS IN MY FIRST-YEAR COMPOSITION class ran a game in which three teams competed for a prize of candy by correctly answering questions about grammar. Members of each team signaled their readiness to answer by shouting "Bing!" There was no penalty for a wrong answer except that another team could then try. I realized, as I watched a team of all women competing...
FOUR: Cross-Cultural Conferencing
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Ben finished telling me about his plans for writing the upcoming paper. Then, before I could speak, he leaned forward and in a rush of words beginning with "because," he justified all that he had just told me, earnestly supporting each of his arguments. Perhaps I had drawn one of those breaths that said I would challenge him; maybe I squinted my eyes in one of those...
FIVE: The Affective Dimension
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I LOVE TEACHING. I LOVE TO READ BOOKS, I LOVE TO READ STUDENT papers, and I love to read, period. As a undergraduate, I "hated" Portrait of a Lady, but I "loved" McTeague. T.S. Eliot and Wallace Stevens interested me, but Robert Bly, Sylvia Plath, and William Stafford moved me. I was embarrassed by my writing in an introductory fiction class, to the point...
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I SETTLED BACK IN THE BIG GREEN CHAIR AND READ THE TRANSCRIBED words of students and teachers. I read my own words in journals and old transcripts. I looked at data sheets and columns of numbers. Then I asked myself a question that surprised me, that was deceptively simple: What do I want to happen as a result of my conferencing? I realized that I had hoped when I began to research conferencing...
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Publication Year: 1998