Thursday, April 08, 2010
Writing Class, examples
For the last couple of days in my class, Writing in Psychology, we’ve been talking about rewriting. I’ve always enjoyed rewriting myself; sometimes I think I like it better than “writing.” But I notice a real reluctance in many students to rewrite. I believe it stems from a bit of laziness. It was enough work to get the sentence down the first time. Rewriting it is just a bunch more work for little payoff.
Of course, what I tell them, but what they don’t always understand, is that writing and rewriting are really synonymous. It’s not like laying bricks, where you get one down and you don’t want to tear it up again for anything. Words put down in writing are always “approximations.” They’re placeholders, and tearing one up to replace it is part of the process.
One of the things I have my students do during this section of the class is practice rewriting poorly designed sentences and paragraphs. I actually give them examples to rewrite of actual papers handed in for grades to me during previous semesters. Of course, I leave off any identifying names. Here’s some of the ones I’m giving to them today. Except for putting them into quotations, these are reproduced “exactly” as they were first handed in to me in my classes. Are you amazed? Traumatized? I know I was.
1. “When they are hungry or want to be held or need to be clean babies respond in there own way by crying or screeming.”
2. “Lying is also used to conceal real truths,,escape punishment, to save face, and to also shun responsibility.”
3. “Suppression is the avoiding of thoughts that are stressful or negative in some sort of way by substituting them with other thoughts that are not so hurtful to the person.”
4. “Some people can get by one just a few hours sleep while others require eight nine or more.”
5. “Some point in life, an individual face a loss of memory.”