“We get to choose our own film, our own character? We can write what we want?!”
This response is typical in my Composition classrooms. As a writing professor, this reaction alarms and worries me. These young adults learn to construct effective arguments, while simultaneously, they untidily sprinkle their personal opinions and passions all over the internet. Here is the gap.
My students appear disturbingly detached from themselves. If I synthesize my own process of identity construction with what I witness in my students and my own goings-on online, I fathom that the path toward a crystallized version of selfhood, has multiplied. One path runs online, and the other runs in “reality.”
Structured, effective, persuasive argument writing is powerful and elite. Students perform as if trained to suppress their selves in academic/professional writing, while they express their selves freely online. If students continue to practice writing in a divided and contained way, their professional more ‘impressive” writing will exclude their irreplaceable, innovative selves. This carries the potential to oppress authenticity in leadership roles, colleague communiqué as well as in the work force— the power source behind society and social progress.
Authenticity like literacy can be encouraged in Writing and Literature classrooms by including the following elements in writing assignments:
choice of content, choice of genre, tone, development of the writer’s voice, opinion coated in effective argument, personal anecdote as example, student conducted surveys and interviews as research etc.
Please comment if you have any more ideas for how to encourage authentic academic writing!