Certain habits and methods of constructing an essay are fairly common when one works with basic writers. As I was reading the Bartholomae article. I found myself “sorting” the students into the classes that they would take in the CSU system. I didn’t realize that I was doing it at first; therefore, I am a bit surprised at how much I have internalized that system.
I always tried to find a rationale for the basic writers’ habits in order to best address the pieces that they had not learned yet. I understand the bewilderment of students on how to enter the academic discourse. Graff’s They Say, I Say (template phrase and sentence system—like Bartholomae mentions (541) is (for me) very helpful in my freshman comp level classes, but the lower level writers needed more scaffolding or templates like the four- or ten- sentence rhetorical précis. However, one thing that I never got is why all the “yous?” I feel like I am having a massive lightbulb moment after reading that Batholomae says that the use of “you” is another way for students to evoke authority. Now, I have to figure out what to do with that piece.
Question(s): Bartholomae concentrates on timed placement essays and what they reveal about basic writers, and the use of commonplaces seems to be standard within timed placement essays. What can replace timed essays as placement devices? I have to add a caveat to this question: students who have gone through NCLB systems and passed the standardized tests generally will place themselves at college level reading and writing when they have not learned the skill set needed in college. How can self-directed placement work without the students being aware of the needed skills?
Question: What do you all think of template use in the classroom? Does it create goobledegook sentences or help students enter Burke’s dialogue?