The basic writer is can either be a struggling student or a good student who adamantly works on the ideas they are trying to develop. In Basic Writing, Otte and Mlynarczyk shine the light on several educators and their ideas to untangle the confusion of unyielding students as well as students who were stumped from the beginning. Shaughnessy advocates for the teacher’s role as a Practioners and to infuse lore in their lessons. Lore, she explains, is the ability to bring different perceptions to the same passage of writing (79). Lore is also thought to be the first and last resort for basic writing instructions (90). There are three pivotal points of concern in basic writing: error, assessment, and teaching.
Regarding the issue of errors, Otte & Mlynarczyk identify seven needs: complexities, tolerance], correctness, process analysis, interpretation, negotiation, and consensus. Shaughnessy addresses a need for complexities-- that she doesn’t want students to be intimidated by the lessons, but not at the expense of being oversimplified (82). The same is true with Fasold and Shuy’s idea: not “eradicating the English playground, but to help the switch comfortably from one setting to the next. Another need I took notice of was that of interpretation. The authors found that Bartholomes work showed the common errors in their writing when students that read aloud and answer questions. He finds that these errors can be linked to a sense of intention and context (86).
Assessments are another area of concern where gauging students educational process is the target, though often missed. Assessments vary from teaching to the test, teacher’s resistance to institutionally imposed test-taking, and state mandate testing. Though these attempts tried to bolster the academic achievement scores, the downside is grave, by bringing assessments closer into alignment with specific curriculum teaching goals and McNenny?’s phrase, the context determines our choices (99).
Lastly, teaching is a major concern simply because we rely on the pilot to successfully transport us to our final destination—writing comprehension. Otte and Mlynarczyk note the importance of syntax of competence-- its rich attention to processes. I found it thoroughly interesting when Perl mentions the benefits of “composing aloud”. My academic issue that has anchored me to the cause is that I tend to disrupt my composing process with editing concerns. Linking the basic writers and writing processes discussed in Otte and Mlynarczyk’s book, the sixth assumption, in Bernstein’s book, identifies assessments as a force that drives pedagogy. This type of assessment demonstrates systematic validity, though it is often done means of multiple choice questions; this corresponds least to good writing. This assumption seems severely problematic because students are not given ample time to reflect, receive feedback, read on the subject, nor revise—distorting the image of what writing is (375). I believe basic writing’s arch nemesis is the political rhetoric that surrounds its uses/functions rather the masses to create substantial change.