Praxis Blog on Ed White

White says (74) that one of the biggest problems” in grading is the fear that it will “discourage students from taking creative risks.” Yeah. And Emory students seem perhaps even more bent this way. I love Peter Elbow’s method of solving this in *A community of Writers*. He starts the students doing “genre seeds”–writing in many different genres, writing little bits and pieces of things. No grades, just sharing and exploring. Then he has them look over these explorations and create a collage–a piecing together of some of the bits and pieces, writing more or doing some visual things, audio things, using white space–but somehow making a whole, revising it, presenting it. That then can get a grade–that polished piece after the exploration. When I teach this, the students do this and another paper. I allow them to pick which one is polished and developed into the “graded essay.” It’s a nice four weeks of writing without worrying about grades, but rather just experiencing the joy and frustration of generating words, ideas, etc.

One thought on “Praxis Blog on Ed White

  1. I wonder, though, if Emory students might have an issue with postponing grading for a prolonged period of time, as well. I like the idea of having students experiment with genre seeds. Where do those seeds come from? Do students look at different texts?

    How does the instructor end up grading the collage? What are some of the suggested criteria?

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