If You Are Not Averse to Using More Technology in the Writing Process…

Students can correct some of their written grammatical errors (misspelled words, verb tense, punctuation, wrong-word errors) by reading aloud their drafts, as mentioned in “The Study of Error” (1980) by David Bartholomae (261-262) and in Engaging Ideas (2011) by John C. Bean (75-76).  I wonder if similar results can be obtained (i.e., fewer errors on the page) if a student were to use an iPhone, laptop, or computer to record his/her thoughts (arguments) about the topic of his/her paper and then transcribe those words.  When listening to the recording, it can be strange to hear one’s own voice, but the student can use this unsettling feeling to his/her advantage: view those words as someone else’s argument—this can help the student to be more objective when judging whether or not the argument really works.  And for students who feel stuck but for whatever reason do not take the step to discuss the essay topic with someone, talking out his/her ideas this way can be helpful in clarifying or generating ideas.  Sometimes an idea is formed or nixed when we hear ourselves trying to figure out something out loud.

 

It’s possible that students would find it annoying to stop the recording every time they are mulling over what to say next (in order to avoid long pauses in the recording and/or to save space in their iPhones, laptops, or computers).  Students might also say that remembering to stop the recording interrupts their chain of thought.  So would not hitting the pause/stop button help push the student to be quicker in coming up with the next statements for the argument in his/her essay draft?  He/she can always give this voluntary pressure a try.