Garrett, Tammy, Edith

Writers who are resistant and/or don’t understand the literacy philosophy of the society they find themselves writing in.

Amanda, John, Dre

"Fake" Group Response

A basic writer can be defined easily by applying standards set forth by "the man." This is horribly unjust. Artificial standards cannot be used to quantify someone's skills. Individual attention must be paid in order to diagnose the extent/cause of a lack of writing ability. Intelligence doesn't equate to good or bad writing - an IQ test will not determine whether someone is a basic writer.

By the way, am I completely off-base in believing that a simple definition of basic writing exists? Basic writing courses teach composition skills to students who have not reached the mandated (either internally through a program or externally by a government) standards for their academic level.

There can’t be any literacy skills that aren’t partly defined by the ethos of the society in which they are emerging out of. So essentially, there are no “objective” literary skills, no magical, quantitative fix-all that will gauge the progress of a basic writer.

I thought it reaffirmed my belief that there are more similarities with composition than scholars would like to admit: “it is crucial for teachers to help students in basic writing courses situate their work within the broader contexts surrounding those courses” (61).

If there is this much variation between the classes, how can we possibly expect to really reach the students? How do we develop a standard way to address the variety of issues that cause writers to be basic? I know that I seem to be asking more questions than I actually answer, but that is how I feel about basic writing. There are many different reasons that a person might be labeled as a basic writer, so how can we address all those possible issues in one classroom.

It is also an "introduction to college literacy," basically teaching underprepared students what they need to know in order to be successful college writers. This is pretty much what we have been saying in class...that basic writers are mainly underprepared for only one thing": writing for the university/academic style.

The answer, in their own words, is because they "have chosen to end our study with a review of syllabi in order to remind ourselves that basic writing, no matter how theorized or how studied, is fundamentally a classroom-based enterprise" (97). I liked this response because I feel there is not one answer to the questions "who is a basic writer" or "what is basic writing."

It seems that everyone sees, even if they do not agree, that, coming out of a basic writing program, students ought to be able to both think and write critically in standard English and express their own views in their own language, so I wonder why a balance of the two is not more talked about in our readings.

“basic writing itself is portrayed as everything from a place to learn better spelling to a place to learn life skills” (87). I do agree that “basic writing can have a powerful social influence on students as well” (98). I have seen this from some students and really do believe that they need some motivation to improve on their writing skills, so that it will serve them good when the times comes to serve or impacting the community.

The authors of this book are saying we want to help them have their cake and eat it, be able to successfully execute academic writing while understanding that it’s only a mask (or a tool, to use their metaphor) of which one puts on for the right situation and takes off and tucks in a drawer so as not to compromise his or her individuality and freedom of expression in all other situations. I think that’s certainly ideal, but I still say it’s ambitious.

I enjoyed the fact that Kasner and Harrington say that “basic writing seems to resist definition, other than [being] “a course for people who need more help””(84). Without attempting to be politically correct or to be delicate so as to not hurt someone else’s feelings, that statement does seem to be the best definition of a basic writer that I have come across thus far.

Sean, Tammy, Dre

  • intl student
  • rehab
  • motivated & for different reasons
  • ages varied
  • assumption that they don't have writing experience
  • communication issues, perhaps uncomfortable w/language

Ben, Jennifer G, Christine, Liza

  • Traditional age
  • Couldn't pass THEA
  • "unprepared"
  • 305/306/307--230 on THEA
  • don't have basic skills, competency, coherence to express thoughts clearly,

confidence, trouble understanding audience/purpose

James, Jennifer M, Darcy

  • can't communicate effectively in writing in whatever genre,
  • can't get ideas across
  • topic sentences not up to whatever par
  • "underprepared" for academic writing

Joanna, Edith, Michelle

  • based on reliable test
  • "become a poor writer"
  • not prepared for college writing

Holly, Garrett, Amanda

  • A writer who can't write outside the box


Jennifer M., James, Jennifer G.

The definition changes with departments, instructors, times, norms, values, conventions, and state mandates and requirements.

Christine, Liza, & Darcy

Sean, Joanna, Holly >>>>>>>