Stifling of Language and my Discourse Community

ENG306 – Paper One Prompt
Stifling of Language and my Discourse Community

Throughout our years of schooling, most of us have been taught many approaches to writing. Most of those approaches involve a set of “rules” to follow. In “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language,” Mike Rose discusseshow some of these approaches bring students to a dead-end in their writing process (p. 793). All too often, students let the rules of writing drive their entire writing process. In other words, they let HOW THEY SHOULD write become more important than WHAT THEY COULD write.
Even more troubling is just how conflicting writing rules can be. Many students have had the experience of having one teacher say, “You should never do [X]” while another teacher says, “You should always do [X].” How are student writers supposed to determine what “rules” to follow?
In this paper, you are being asked to engage in some observational research. You are being asked to choose two “rules” or pieces of writing advice that you have found yourself struggling with in the past, and determine how your academic discourse community follows (or doesn’t seem to follow) the them.
For example, assume I am like Maria in Mike Rose’s study, and I often get hung up on “hooks.” I have read explanations like those given by the Tutoring Center at George Brown College whowrite on their website:
The first sentence of your introduction is the first chance a writer has to capture the attention of the reader. Some people call this a “hook” because it captures a reader’s attention with interesting statements and ideas just like a fisherman will use a shiny lure to get a fish on his or her hook.
Historically, I have begun all of my papers with a question. Something like “Have you ever wondered why [X]?” But, I’ve also had professors who have told me not to do that. So, what is theconventionalapproach in my discourse community? If I were writing this paper, I would select ten articles written by members of my discourse community, and I would see how they each begin those articles. Do I sense they use a particular kind of “hook” or is there some other description I can give for the way my discourse community opens their papers? Why do I think they do or do not follow the rule/advice?

THE ASSIGNMENT RULES
FORMAT AND LENGTH: I’m looking for a minimum 4.5-page MLA paper (meaning I want your work to bleed onto half of the fifth page). **Any paper that is not at least 4.5 pages long and in proper MLA will not be accepted and will not be given the opportunity to revise**
AUDIENCE: Imagine your paper is being read by a panel of writing instructors from various college campuses, and they are unfamiliar with this prompt. How can you give them enough information, early on, in order to understand your paper’s purpose?
METHOD: To do this paper well, you will need to have a substantial number of peer-reviewed, scholarly articles to explore. We will discuss how best to approach your particular project, but keep in mind that if you avoid the campus databases, you may not be able to do this paper very well.

Works Cited
George Brown College, Tutoring and Learning Centre. “Hooks and Attention Grabbers.” 2014. PDF document. www.georgebrown.ca/uploadedFiles/TLC/_documents/Hooks%20and%20Attention%20Grabbers.pdf.
Rose, Mike. “Rigid Rules, Inflexible Plans, and the Stifling of Language.” Writing about Writing, edited by Elizabeth Wardle and Doug Downs, Bedford/St. Martins, 2016, pp. 787-802.

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