Challenges Of Students In Peter Elbow's 'Writing For Teachers'

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In his article, Writing for Teachers, Peter Elbow talks about the many difficulties a student faces when writing for a teacher, and also the obstacles that both the parties involved must overcome. Elbow points out that students are often asked to write for the teacher but are supposed to address a general audience – “a creature blessed by intelligence, a certain amount of education (“general”), and an open mind”, but one whom they have no information about. They are rarely ever told the specifics of the audience, such as its opinion on the topic, the age group, the setting in which the audience might be reading, or any other specifics which would help them formulate a strong argument.
Additionally the assignment is never really to persuade
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This is especially true when the teacher has to read multiple papers on the exact same topic that they assign to check whether or not the students know what they think the students should know about specific material covered in class. Writing papers of this kind is a painstakingly miserable task for both the student and the teacher, especially if assigned for a similar purpose multiple times. For the teacher who assigns a paper very frequently will regret assigning the paper when he sees the stacks of papers he has to grade making sure each student meets his expectations of how much material each student should thoroughly understand. It is a quite similar situation for most of the students as they lack the passion and interest to write on many of the assigned subjects.
Many teachers believe that assigning papers frequently is the way to improve students’ writing, but as Elbow points out this is rarely ever true. By writing for the same audience (that one teacher) students figure out the techniques, vocabulary, style, etc. that the teacher likes and use them to their advantage for a higher grade; this technique also limits how much the student can improve their writing because they lack a range of readers of different skill sets that can point out various faults in their

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