Bad Ideas About Writing
Cheryl E Ball
Drew M Loewe
Copyright Year: 2017
Publisher: A.T. Still University
Conditions of Use
This book is easy to follow, offers great directions, and moderate vocabulary. read more
This book is easy to follow, offers great directions, and moderate vocabulary.
The authors of this text are experts in their field
This text is timeless and can be used for decades in writing courses.
The authors took great care to reach students and teachers alike. This text is clear, helpful, and will be of great use in the classroom.
This text was designed to touch on so many topics involved in teaching writing. However, it can also be used to teach students to practice metacognition.
This text can be used for in class writing, citation work, and in research.
The text is organized in a clear, logical fashion.
The text is user friendly!
I did not see any grammatical errors.
This text does not include any cultural bias.
This is a text that I will incorporate into my classes as well as my own future research.
This is exactly the type of book I've been waiting for! After nearly two decades of teaching writing, finally a book acknowledges what we call know: people make mistakes when they write and that's okay. I also appreciate that the text... read more
This is exactly the type of book I've been waiting for! After nearly two decades of teaching writing, finally a book acknowledges what we call know: people make mistakes when they write and that's okay. I also appreciate that the text comprehensively unpacks why we need to rethink the way we teach writing and includes all voices - students, writers, teachers. It is unafraid to take on the sacred cows of rhetoric and genre which can only help to bring more voices into the conversation about who writers are and what writers write.
The book is accurate and error-free, but there is, but its very nature a bias. You can't entitle a book "Bad Ideas About Writing," and not have a strong point of view. For me, that is a good thing because the point of view of this text is a curative to the teaching of traditional FYC which, in my experience, doesn't work very well. I also like that the text offers me additional resources.
This book will basically never be obsolete because, unlike so many FYC texts, it's not stuffed full of example essays that will lose relevance much faster than the anthologies of yesteryear because of the explosion of social media. In essence, today everyone with access to a keyboard is a writer and this book addresses the very real need to rethink what we mean when we talk about "serious" writing or academic writing.
The writing is accessible and clear and each essay is thoughtful in that it approaches the reader and ask them to participate in the conversation, to work through the ideas for themself. The inclusion of critical vocabulary is a positive move, but I would want it at the beginning of the reading and with working definitions included. Providing definitions on the spot for critical vocabulary can be helpful for students who struggle with language.
The text, terminology,and framework are successfully constructed with meaningful consistency to address the needs of busy students. The consistency eliminates the potential stress that can interrupt learning if a students feels that the material is a moving target.
The modularity of the text makes for easy reading and, as a teacher, easy lesson planning. Would I assign every single essay in the book? Probably not, but within each module there are multiple examples of essays that would allow me to easily differentiate instruction.
The book is well-organized and flows easily. I also agree with the order of the subject matter addressed because it acknowledges that the reader's ideas about writing will evolve during the time spent with the book. Again, my only caveat would be to better address the handling of critical vocabulary.
There is a whole lot of prose in this book and nothing visual. I think the addition of the ideas presented visually would help support all learners. I understand that it's textbook, but many students need the additional support or scaffolding of something visual to address concepts with which they may be struggling.
I did not find any significant grammatical errors in the text.
One of the things I like about the book is that it, like me, acknowledges that language is fluid and as a result, writing is fluid and the ways in which we define what is "good" and what is "poor" must be reworked and flexible.
I think it's a terrific book that's been needed for a long time.
This edited collection would be ideal for a graduate-level pedagogy course, professional training for Rhetoric and Composition faculty, or for multi-disciplinary faculty trainings designed to explore and challenge commonly-held misconceptions... read more
This edited collection would be ideal for a graduate-level pedagogy course, professional training for Rhetoric and Composition faculty, or for multi-disciplinary faculty trainings designed to explore and challenge commonly-held misconceptions about the production, teaching, and assessment of writing. The collection is, by design of the editors, also meant to be a way to communicate insider discussions about these myths to a broader, public audience. The book is divided into sections that are designed to address many of the common misconceptions that still circulate about writing: overall conceptions about what “good” writing means; challenges to ideas about who can/not be a good writing; style, usage, and grammar issues; writing techniques; genres of writing; writing assessment; technology; and misconceptions about those who teach writing. There is a clear index of sections and essays, and the grouping of the essays is logical and useful. It is set up so that one section could be used for a training session or course segment. Individual essays could be used for public education about key ideas.
The essays are written by a wide range of scholars in the field, representing diverse ideas, viewpoints, and backgrounds. Not all of them are clearly written for a lay audience, but many of the essays would be useful for that purpose.
Since the misconceptions are widespread and long-lived, historically, one hoped-for outcome would probably be that the book would eventually render itself obsolete. Given that this is unlikely, it would be easy to update by adding new/revised essays around the general themes.
All of the essays are well written, with clear goals and support for key ideas. They range in terms of their level of accessibility to a lay audience, so some would be more useful for an insider audience and others are more suited to public education.
The essays all draw from ongoing discussions in the field, addressing research and practices that inform the teaching and assessment of writing and rhetoric.
The subtopics are clearly organized by key ideas, and could easily be used for assignments as described above. Flagging some essays as particularly friendly for lay-audience use could be helpful.
Each section has a range of essays representing different key ideas and voices. Some of the sections are more robust than others, but all are clear and well-represented.
There are no issues with the interface; the book is easy to navigate and information is clearly represented.
The text is well-edited, and has a whole section that addresses some of the problems with a fixation on grammar.
The collection is designed to disrupt some of the common, damaging ideas about writing that are grounded in white supremacy culture. Essays are written by writers from relatively-diverse backgrounds and demographics. One of its greatest strengths lies in analysis of some of the many ways that misconceptions about writing and its instruction are grounded in racism, classism, and sexism.
This book presents many short, easy-to-read essays that explore commonly held bad ideas about writing--from the idea that you can write "in general" (without a purpose or audience in mind) to the idea that the five paragraph essay is essential to... read more
This book presents many short, easy-to-read essays that explore commonly held bad ideas about writing--from the idea that you can write "in general" (without a purpose or audience in mind) to the idea that the five paragraph essay is essential to teach. The essays dispel these "bad ideas about writing" and provide readers with research and evidence to suggest why we need to let go of these bad ideas.
The content is accurate and research-based. Essays also include a "further reading" section for readers who want to delve deeper into the topics of each essay.
The content of the textbook is up-to-date. Each essay provides ideas that college students have likely heard about what makes writing "good." Articles in the book look at more contemporary issues, such as the machine scoring of writing, that will help readers think about the importance of human feedback. Another section of the book focuses on technology and the role that it plays in writing.
The text is free of jargon and technical terminology. The prose is extremely accessible and college students should think that it reads clearly.
The book is extremely consistent in that it dispels ideas that people have about what "good writing" is supposed to look like.
The articles are short and do not need to be divided into smaller reading sections or subheadings. Every article is fewer than ten pages.
The book is very well organized. It is divided into clear sections: "Bad ideas about what good writing is," "Bad ideas about who good writers are," "Bad ideas about style, usage, and grammar," "Bad ideas about writing techniques," "Bad ideas about genres," "Bad ideas about assessing writing," "Bad ideas about writing and digital technology," and "Bad ideas about writing teachers." Each section has a variety of articles that are relevant and accessible.
The text is easy to navigate and read. There are no images, graphs, or charts that are distorted. The table of contents makes it easy to navigate to essays that students are asked to read.
The writing in the text is clear and proofread well.
The text does not appear to be culturally insensitive.
This offers a myriad of entry points and perspectives on issues around writing. read more
This offers a myriad of entry points and perspectives on issues around writing.
The different voices/perspectives of this text trouble the notions of accuracy and bias-free writing. Instead, essays play with commonly held beliefs and assumptions around what makes writing, writers, and grammar "good."
The issues, examples, and stories align strikingly with many of the concerns my students grapple with each semester. I can imagine incorporating a myriad of these essays into class discussions to deepen our work on various issues and topics, and I believe these perspectives will remain timely for a long time.
There are significant shifts across the voices of different authors. This will support my students in engaging with different examples of voice and tone.
The organization and structure is consistent.
This is very clearly organized and easy to navigate.
The structure/flow makes a lot of sense.
I did not encounter any issues with this text's interface.
The writing in this text is clear.
I did not encounter any examples of culturally insensitivity.
I plan to incorporate these essays into my Composition courses in the future.
Table of Contents
- Bad Ideas About What Good Writing Is
- Bad Ideas About Who Good Writers Are
- Bad Ideas About Style, Usage, and Grammar
- Bad Ideas About Writing Techniques
- Bad Ideas About Genres
- Bad Ideas About Assessing Writing
- Bad Ideas About Writing and Digital Technology
- Bad Ideas About Writing Teachers
About the Book
We intend this work to be less a bestiary of bad ideas about writing than an effort to name bad ideas and suggest better ones. Some of those bad ideas are quite old, such as the archetype of the inspired genius author, the five-paragraph essay, or the abuse of adjunct writing teachers. Others are much newer, such as computerized essay scoring or gamification. Some ideas, such as the supposed demise of literacy brought on by texting, are newer bad ideas but are really instances of older bad ideas about literacy always being in a cycle of decline. Yet the same core questions such as what is good writing, what makes a good writer, how should writing be assessed, and the like persist across contexts, technologies, and eras. The project has its genesis in frustration, but what emerges is hope: hope for leaving aside bad ideas and thinking about writing in more productive, inclusive, and useful ways.
About the Contributors
Cheryl E. Ball is associate professor of digital publishing studies in the Professional Writing and Editing program at West Virginia University. She is also editor of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy as well as the #writing book series with the WAC Clearinghouse/Colorado State University Open Press, both of which are open-access publishing venues available to anyone with an Internet connection. She teaches the importance of edit-ing content in a digital world, and offers a special thank you to all of the undergraduate and graduate students at WVU who helped with the publication of this book. She also thanks WVU Libraries for its support of the Digital Publishing Institute. Finally, she is grateful to Drew M. Loewe for coming up with the idea for this book and for agreeing to let her work on it with him.
Drew M. Loewe is an associate professor of writing and rhetoric at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, where he also directs the Writing Center. His scholarly and teaching interests include rhetorical theory and criticism, argumentation, prose style, legal writing, writing centers, research methods, and the first-year writ-ing sequence. He thanks St. Edward’s for supporting this project with time and money, and especially thanks Cheryl E. Ball for being the best co-editor anyone could hope for.