Last week we discussed "negotiation" and dealing with basic writers. Horner talks about this in "Representing the Other," but he focuses on the editing process rather than allowing "negotiation" as autonomy for the student. I believe that peer editing is a good opportunity for basic writers to critique the work of other students. The reason I believe it is good is because when students have an exchange of words and ideas, when they see the positive or negative development of a basic writing fellow student, when they are just simply emerged in another aspect of the writing process, it allows them to inherit knowledge, realize that they are not the only students who make mistakes, and see how their papers can improve with proper attention to detail while editing. Horner states, "How might we teach editing as such a process of negotiation? My suggestions fall into two categories: practices in conferences or small groups with individual students, and more general practices in writing assignments and class discussions" (158). As graduate students in a class in which group discussion is a familiar tasks, I think we can all agree that this method helps us better understand the topics we cover--I know it does for me. We have a certain allowance to negotiate in discussion, and we should allow basic writers the same benefit. Conferences, small groups and writing assignments also help students better understand the writing process as mentioned earlier. I'm glad Horner made this statement because I believe we should always keep his suggestions under advisement. We may use them ourselves one day.
Horner, Bruce, and Min-Zhan Lu. Representing the "Other". Urbana, IL: National Council of Teachers of English, 1999.