Essay Educational Theory of Teaching Writing

1834 Words 8 Pages
When I first encountered Paulo Freire’s work, I was struck with the hypocrisy of my own teaching. I had deluded myself into thinking, to a certain extent, that I was creating a democratic and equal space that was free from the influence of. It was a stark reminder last year when I encountered Richard Shaull’s introduction to Peter Freire’s The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. He writes, “There is no such things as a neutral educational process. Education either functions as an instrument that is used to facilitate the integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity to it, or it becomes the ‘practice of freedom,’ the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and …show more content…
At that point in time, I leaned more towards Peter Elbow’s theories of teaching writing. I wanted to actualize the budding writers in my classes, and the philosophy seemed to fit many of the reasons why I entered into the world of teaching. When I first started working in writing lab at a large suburban school, Elbow’s work seemed to work perfectly with the students with whom I was teaching. However, after this large public school experience, I found myself in a small private competitive prep school where there was an emphasis on expository prose. I think that at that phase I was still able to work in some of Elbow’s ideal in conjunction with what the school asked me to do. Then, I came to my current position, and somehow, over the past six years, I have changed as a teacher.

Somewhere along the way, I think I started to lose my own philosophy of grading writing. The pressure to grade competitively at my independent school is palpable, and somehow, I let my guard down and become enmeshed in the opposite of Elbow’s teaching. I found myself talking about the weaknesses that I found in my student’s writing, and I focused on the negative instead of the positives. I became a more challenging grader, and I focused entirely on expository prose work in my upper level classes to the exclusion of including creative pieces. In my evaluations from last year, my honors