February 15, 2008

The Legend of Deterioration

As a society that strives to be the best, we obsessively measure everything -- success, power, speed, knowledge, literacy, size, phalli -- but are the measurements accurate and do the results truly tell us what we think they tell us, or do we hear only what we want to hear?

What does the Legend of Deterioration say to us as composition instructors? I think The Legend reminds us that students continue to grow and learn in the ways that they and their experiences deem necessary. As composition teachers who juggle the balance between teaching students to write and making sure students pass the portfolio review, we find that there is little time to stop and remember that academic composition is not the only useful genre.

Perhaps if we -- and our obsessive society -- can see the results for what they are and not what we think they are, we will be able to recognize our students' ability and give them credit for maturing into competent writers even if they defy composition textbook rules.


Chris Hall said...

I definitely think you touched on something interesting in Haswell's discussion of the various "interpretive tales' underlying much of teaching practice today. I don't know that I have the clarity of mind to put it clearly (let alone elegantly) at present, but here goes.

Part of what you're saying, I think, has to do with the commodification, not only of knowledge, but of learning, that we find in a materialistic, exploitative, system. As a result of the related preoccupation with results, teachers sometimes lose sight of the dynamic, unpredictable, and unquantifiable process of human growth.

Yep. that's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Me likey da bloggey.

Chris Hall said...

I should have omitted the comma after "exploitative" in the above post. I offer my humble apologies for this egregious error.