Haswell claims, "The transformative argues that in most bottom students these negative capabilities are mixed, and are further mixed with positive capabilities, such as . . . devotion to the pursuit of ideas, and a fondness for the play of verbal wit" (p. 278). Do you agree that "basic" writers can benefit from being "shown they are better than other students in some ways" (p. 279)? How does this avoid being perceived as empty flattery?

  • Not better than others, but possessing a different set of strengths.
    • This levels the playing field as far as bad writing is concerned. No better or worse, just different.
  • Students are jaded from previous writing experiences.
  • Acknowledge and commend their use of personal voice, personal style
  • Students are judged a "global" set of skills
  • “Form and expression travel step in step, one aiding the other” (247)

Haswell argues, "The writing teacher can hardly aspire to a more respected image that that of the good mechanic" (p. 341). Is it possible to create a "diagnostic guide" for teachers of freshman composition or basic writing that will "train" all of us to this role? What kind of ideas can you take from this text to help you diagnose a student's writing?

  • Yes
    • Interaction with students will allow the teacher to give feedback
    • Interim model-10 principals of construction (324-329)
    • Go against classically trained English instructors
    • "Focuses not on subject area but on the individual student".
  • No
    • Dependent upon the teacher and their dedication/own personal commitment to the field

Haswell presents us at the beginning and end of his book with the idea that as teachers we are moving away from the experience/position of the FY student. How do we cross that divide & communicate with our students? (p. 352)

  • Repeated experience within the field keep you "in contact" with the student
  • "Each of us contain the key to the other" (352)
  • "The key is perspective..."(352).