Bad ideas about writing by Cheryl E. Ball
Bad Ideas about Writing
The author-god, according to midth-century language theorist Roland Barthes, embodies the Romantic notion of the artist to whom brilliant epiphanies come to be written down. In fact, at times throughout history, the best authors were believed to have been chosen and directly inspired by God himself. The idea of the genius author perpetuates the bad idea that some people are just born good writers while others are not. Many institutional reasons exist for holding on to an untroubled concept of genius authorship: degrees, jobs, grades, salary, promotions, tenure and awards often depend on it. And writing is hard work; we feel a sense of pride at what we have accomplished and having our name attached to it.
According to cultural theorist Steven Poole, bad ideas are like zombies. These bad ideas threaten to infect our schools and devour the brains of unsuspecting colleagues and students, and it is up to us to rev up the chainsaws and bury bad ideas about writing for good. Organized in eight sections that each focus on a different contagion like mindless meditations on style and ruinous ruminations about ineffective writing teachers, Ball and Loewe plunge us into the epidemic and provide sixty-one antidotes—short chapters that help us take out one bad idea at a time. The chapters are roughly five pages each, pint-sized but potent, and they help both the novice writing teacher and the experienced writing program administrator to identify particular walkers, to understand their origins and appeal, and to slay them with recent, relevant research in rhetoric and composition. We scanned the table of contents together as it provides a microcosm of research areas in the field of Writing Studies.
Academic journal article Composition Studies. Bad Ideas about Writing, edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Open Access Textbooks, This open-access digital book edited by Cheryl E.
Bad Ideas About Writing counters major myths about writing instruction. Inspired by the provocative science- and social-science-focused book This Idea Must Die and written for a general audience, the collection offers opinionated, research-based statements intended to spark debate and to offer a better way of teaching writing. Contributors, as scholars of rhetoric and composition, provide a snapshot of and antidotes to major myths in writing instruction. I recommend it to all my writing teacher friends. The next time you hear one of those misconceptions, head directly to Bad Ideas About Writing. I wish it'd been around years ago. I've been wanting to teach a WAW course for awhile, but I had a hard time finding readings that I thought my students would really get invested in.