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Cody Sallee

ENGL 401
Article #5

Article #2 Response
In Murrays article, he condemns the teaching of writing as a product.
The end product of writing is not what students learn from. Students will go
through the motions, year after year, faking effort until they can be done
with writing. Teachers are not teaching how to improve a process, they are
teaching how to craft a product. Murray states that there are three stages in
the writing process: pre-writing, writing, and re-writing. He states that prewriting should take up eighty-five percent of the writing process. All of that
effort goes into research and daydreaming, notemaking and outlining, titlewriting and lead-writing. The more time put into pre-writing, the better the
Murray argues that writing should be the quickest part of the process,
yet it can be nerve-racking because it commits the writer to their topic. It
can be as little as one percent of the writing process. The first draft should be
quick and unfinished, as it will be broken down and reformed during the rewriting stage. Re-writing is an entire rethinking of the draft. It considers all
angles that can be reformed: audience, form, going line by line and
dissecting it further. This part of the process should make up the remaining
fourteen percent of the writing process.

The teacher must allow plenty of time for each stage of the process.
The students will not improve their writing as the teachers speaks. Ample
quiet work must be allowed so that students will learn. Murray goes on to
discuss ten implications of teaching for the process. Each implication focuses
on the students self-evaluation. The teacher does not tell the student what
is wrong, rather the student combs through own work to assess their
strengths and weaknesses. The student is allowed to develop their own style,
their own voice. The student chooses their topic and is not judged on the
mistakes they make. There are no rules, just writing.
This article is probably the most profound topic we have discussed this
semester. I enjoy the article for its simplicity. Murray confidently insists that
the writing process is what must be valued above all else. There is beauty in
the struggle is a saying that comes to mind. Throughout the semester I
have been convinced that this is the right way to teach writing.
Unfortunately, I do not know that this is possible in the age of assessment.
Everything must be measured to some degree so that educators can
determine where students stand academically. How does one assess the
writing process? Is it based on the appearance of effort each student shows?
Is it fair to assess the writing process? I would say no. I think the only
assessment that can be used is the amount of growth students experience. I
agree that the product is an unfair part to focus on. The culmination of effort
that students put into creating a finished product is extremely undervalued.

Is it fair to give a student a C on a paper after they tried so hard to put their
thoughts into words? Should a students grade be torn down by a few
unchecked boxes? I really want to incorporate Murrays musings in the way I
conduct my future classes. There must be some way to find a happy medium
between assessing the product and encouraging the process.