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Acres of Stunted Environment

Janet Emig's early anecdote (particularly the quote above from a teenager) in The Web of Meaning (1983) contains so many rich words as phrases worth exploring as an educator: never remember, inspired, rewrite (rather than revise), only, and technical.

Among that short list of words, my "favorite" to examine and reflect upon might be only.

When I read The Web of Meaning several years ago (purchased for under five dollars from Amazon), I began to dismantle and examine my philosophy of teaching and learning, my philosophy of reading and writing, and my philosophy of growth. Part of the autopsy included a hard look at how editing marks and an attitude of correction underserves the teenagers in our classrooms.

Not only am I not convinced that an attitude of correction helps people grow as writers, I believe it chokes out the possibility of growth. If all we do is correct papers, if we all we do is emphasize a weeding out of errors, then all we do is spray unchecked pesticides on acres and acres of stunted environment.


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