chapter  6
5 Pages

The What, Where, When, Why, How of Classroom Genres

ByClassroom Genres Aviva Freedman

In Writing Without Teachers, Elbow (1973) recommended that, after periods of intense inquiry, writers prepare "little summings-up" (p. 35) as a way of moving toward a center of gravity amid the seeming chaos of their thinking and writing. This chapter is one such attempt, on my part, to stand back and sum up: to find an emerging center of gravity or to make some provisional overall sense of what research, theory, and experience have been so far suggesting about how students learn to write, and consequently about how we might best serve them as teachers. My qualms about the presumptuousness of this task are somewhat mollified when I recognize the degree to which any of the insights I present here are not so much mine as Bakhtinian (1986) "dialogic" responses to, modifications of, and often "ventriloquations" (Wertsch, 1991) of utterances made by colleagues, adversaries, and fellow questers after some firm ground on which to base a theory of writing.