Now that summer has visited ParagraphCity and it’s possible to think again, we’ve been thinking a bit about the on-going ways the Internet’s wild west of information is affecting our writers. I came across this graphic embedded in a musing by Andrea Lunsford about how well students research online (it’s in Bedford/St. Martins’ BITS ideas for Teaching Composition, here: http://blogs.bedfordstmartins.com/bits/andrea-lunsford/how-well-do-students-research-online/alunsford/?utm_source=socmedia&utm_medium=updates&utm_campaign=tlg )
I hope we are past the hand-wringing-and-calling-down-curses stage of teaching writing now, and instead can use this information about who the students are in front of us (or at least who some of them are). We writing teachers have always started with the students who walk in the door, figuring out their needs and starting where they are. Pretending they are who we think they are supposed to be has never worked. So this is who they are, different probably from who they were ten years ago, different certainly from who we think they ought to be, different probably even from who they think they are, but still teachable. Knowing where to start is what one might call our expertise.