After completing the Haswell reading, I felt a feeling of finally. However, it is not as most people would think. I was not glad the reading was over, well I was but not only that; mostly, I was glad to finally see a “here is an idea of how to structure some of these new ideas.” I love the later references to Shaughnessy and Rose, which helped, again, set up the context of what needed to be looked at, but Haswell actually took that need and suggested a solid, based on empirical research, solution. This solution came from looking in depth at real processes of writing. The look at production in chapter 8 revealed one of my favorite ideas in today’s reading: what causes you to be as you are can change you to be what you want to be (211). I think we see evidence of this in Lives on the Boundary. Rose was molded by who he was, and it pushed him to be who he is; this also encompasses the ideas of individual student voices that are prevalent in pedagogies of writing today. However, it is the practical advice for how to help or different ways to create curriculum in the final chapters that is the most important part of this section.
With the connections we have been making to other readings, Rose and Shaughnessy for their idea of progress through regression and Carter for her discussion of assessment, it is nice to see a way of adapting or working towards a more student oriented assessment and curriculum. The lifework sequence is very student oriented, yet it also allows teachers enough of a leeway that makes it adaptable, the ideas of Haswell’s “interim model” (323). The five ways curriculum influences human development in chapter 13, which move from negative to positive in nature, help to explain why some institutions may not want to make the move towards this theory, yet it is Haswell’s mitigating statement that we should “move students and teachers in a lifework direction” that would help sell the ideal to committees in the learning institution (331). All these ideas move towards the whole assessment idea, which is a sore spot in our discipline. Haswell’s empirical research and solutions based on this research give back to composition the “expertise” that is currently lacking for the discipline to make changes in how schools measure learning and how we accomplish our goals. By application of these theories, I see an opening to “take back” our position as experts from testing companies and government boards. The discussion of diagnosis and pseudodiagnosis in the last chapters show how we can assess our students for the institution without losing the “personal sit down” that the student needs (334). The final statement about the teacher and the student “each contain[ing] the key to the other” proves that there is always a place for the teacher. This reading, for me, took all the discussion I have been processing up to this point and showed the next action for all of our knowledge of what is being done wrong or as Haswell notes throughout, a re-action.