Title

Sudden Possibilities: Porpoises, Eggcorns, and Error

Department

English

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

3-2011

Abstract

[...] the keys to their development as writers often lie hidden in the very features of their writing that English teachers have been trained to brush aside with a marginal code letter or a scribbled injunction to "Proofread!" (5) A punitive emphasis on correctness, Shaughnessy argues, can actually have the opposite of its intended effect on basic writers, stifling their experiments with language for fear of failure (8). A reflection on the rationale of error-making must extend beyond a student's apparent inability to memorize and apply a rule, toward deeper considerations: "a teacher who would work with [basic writers] might well begin by trying to understand the logic of their mistakes in order to determine at what point or points along the developmental path error should or can become a subject for instruction" (13).

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