Monday, January 22, 2007

What is Basic Writing?

Basic Writing sounds fairly self-explanatory if you just look at the term: writing done at a basic or intro level, rather than an advanced level. When I signed up for the course I assumed that we would be discussing writing pedagogy aimed at high school students, community college students, ESL students, and/or learning-disabled students. And granted, that is probably what we will be talking about most of the time. However, as I discovered tonight, apparently it is much more complicated than that. Janell asserted that her 621 class spent much of the semester trying to determine a specific definition for a basic writer. This suprised me to some extent, because, as I said, it sounds fairly obvious. But I can only imagine that the point of the course is to look at basic writing and what constitutes basic writers from several different perspectives. For example, a graduate English student may consider any less accomplished writer from another academic field to be a basic writer. An undergraduate may consider a high school student to be a basic writer. A high school student may consider an ESL student to be basic writer. Much of what constitutes a "basic writer" most likely depends on who is considering the situation. As for my own opinion, I am going to say that a basic writer is someone who is able to form complex thoughts and ideas, but is unable to completely articulate those ideas and transfer them onto paper. Most likely, a basic writer is also someone who has difficulty organizing their ideas and struggles with some aspects of grammar, i.e. what constitutes a complete sentence. In other words, a basic writer is someone who has potential to achieve their personal writing goals, but simply needs some extra individual attention.