Monday, March 22, 2010

Truth is within ourselves, it takes no rise
From outward things, whate’er you may believe.
There is an inner centre in us all
Where truth abides in fullness; and around
Wall upon wall the gross flesh hems it in

That perfect, clear perception which is Truth.
A baffling and perverting carnal mesh
Binds all and makes all error, but to know
Rather consists in finding out a way
For the imprisoned splendour to escape
Than in achieving entry for a light
Supposed to be without.
-Robert Browning

After reading the Goldstein article this week, which was chock full of decent information and many early-primary parallels, I kept going back to the first full paragraph on page 67. Here, the author discusses the interaction of factors that can inform the reception and perception of commentary and revision. In short, the demands of life prevented the student from making the revisions her teacher thought necessary...aaand, the teacher "believed the student to be lazy". Certainly, these demands can be myriad. Goldstein went on to say that we need to be very conscious of what we do -- and why we do what we do -- when we comment on our students' writing. While "grammatical and lexical expertise" (65) have their necessity and merit, concentrating on their virtue could suffocate the voices of multilingual and non-standard English speakers and writers.

Enter, Elizabeth's blog posting. Hooray!

As teachers of writing, we are afforded opportunities to validate the honest voices of our students. Sometimes, perhaps more frequently as the face of our nation joins the larger "mestizaje", those voices will sound less and less like the Western Canon. We are called to consider the beauty and relevance that lies outside the box. Robert Browning would call that beauty "truth".

The two texts, For Colored Girls and Borderlands -- which I have linked at the top of this posting -- were some of the first personal (writing) affirmations I ever encountered.

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