February 27, 2013

Mode + Audience + Voice = Organization

The problem with rote memorization of a writing organizational formula is that it has no context.  The kids don't understand why they are using the form.  They just memorize the basics and stumble on. This usually means they know they need five paragraphs: 1 intro 3 body 1 concluding.  Hardly a universal formula for organizing writing. But that's what is usually taught (and often nothing else.) 

Organization is dictated to a large degree by the mode of writing we are pursuing.  Letters, Poetry, narrative, research, persuasive... all of these modes have forms of organization that we should recognize. 

More importantly, the mode is determined by the audience for the writing.  A reporter isn't going to write a poem about a traffic accident. A research paper isn't going to follow the 5 paragraph format.  

Also, keep in mind that the audience and mode also predict the kind of voice a writer will use.

IF our students understand the concepts of voice, audience, and mode, they will have context for the kinds of organization they need to bring to their writing.  This takes a conceptual understanding of writing, rather than rote memorization of an organizational form. 

Can we teach this? You bet!  We are right now!

Does it make sense? ~ Dennis

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