From Adolescence To Adulthood: Writing At The College Level, By Nancy Sommers: Article Analysis

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From Adolescence to Adulthood: Writing at the College Level Well known for her research and publications on student writing, Nancy Sommers—now Harvard’s Expository Writing Program Director—discusses revision strategies in the journal College Composition and Communication. Throughout this essay, I will be focusing on three articles: “Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers” (1980), “Between the Drafts” (1992), and finally, “the Novice as Expert” (2004) which she wrote alongside Laura Saltz. Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers (1980) juxtaposes through a case study the revision strategies of first-year college students and experienced writers. Between the Drafts (1992) narrates Sommers’ …show more content…
She and Saltz explain in their 2004 article that to be a novice, one must be open to instruction and feedback, as well as be ready to take risks on selecting courses and paper topics. So, through practice and guidance, students can meet the writing expectations of college (p. 134). Sommers explains that the advantages of approaching revision and writing as a novice “allows students to be changed by what they learn, to have new ideas, and to understand that ‘What the teacher wants’ is an essay that reflects these ideas” (p. 134). Sommers primarily recommends students approach revision as learners so that they are open to new revision strategies, that will enable them to revise more critically, and meet college-level writing …show more content…
Throughout their article, they demonstrate the results of a study they conducted in which they followed up with 400 Harvard students across their college education. Sommers shares and comments on the experience of a student on page 131: “She commented that in her first-year of college, she felt as if she were being asked ‘to build a house without any tools’…freshmen are required to become master builders while they are still apprentices” (pp.131-132). Sommers finds this is a suitable metaphor to describe how students feel during their first encounter with college writing assignments, as they try to use the methods taught in high school. Moreover, by sharing this testimony, Sommers shows that students do not write well because they do not have the appropriate knowledge and experience. In her 1980 article, she adds that students will be able to use the given tools when they begin to question what their essays need as a whole to have the appropriate form, balance, and rhythm to communicate the desired message (p. 386). Sommers and Saltz acknowledge that students may feel overwhelmed with meeting the writing expectations at college; nonetheless, they will be able to meet them once they understand that the purpose of their essays is to properly communicate through

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