chapter  5
14 Pages

Voice/text/pedagogy: re-reading the writing classroom

One of the metaphoric devices that predominates in current discourses on the teaching of writing - particularly the prescriptive discourses advising on acceptable ways to learn to write - is the metaphor that links 'writing' with 'voice'. So apparently natural is the use of this metaphor that, like many other such discursive devices, it has now become one of the dominant ways in which conceptual understanding of the nature of school writing is framed. Both in textbooks written for students, and in coursebooks written for teachers, the metaphor, and the concepts that support it, have become ways of 'knowing' about classroom writing practices. Elbow, for instance, in his guide called Writing Without Teachers, advises students that:

In your natural way of producing words there is a sound, a texture, a rhythm - a voice - which is the main source of power in your writing. I don't know how it works, but this voice is the force that will make a reader listen to you, the energy that drives the meaning through his [sic] thick skull.