The threshold concept “Writing Enacts and Creates Ideologies and Identities” we read for class this week thoroughly intrigued and surprised me. Based on the title, I went into the reading feeling pretty confident I would be familiar with all the different concepts that would be discussed throughout the chapter due to many conversations in previous classes regarding identity and ideology and how it pertains to writing. However, there were a few concepts that really stuck out to me and it made me consider a lot; Namely, the concept regarding writing being linked to identity or who we are. This section, written by Kevin Roozen, can be summarized by looking at a line in the first paragraph,”The act of writing, then, is not so much about using a particular set of skills as it is about becoming a particular kind of person, about developing a sense of who we are”(51). I love this quote and it makes a lot of sense to me, but when I read it I realized that I am sure this concept may not make sense to a vast number of people, and these people may not see writing as anything more than menial task that needs to be completed for a grade. They don’t consider the larger purpose of writing and that writing has the possibility to help a person discover who they truly are. After all, I do not expect many students to consider this concept, because it can be very daunting to consider our own identity and it is a very complicated subject. Here a brief Ted Talk which goes over the complicated nature of identity and personality.
While it may be hard for students to grasp, looking at writing as a means to discover for about ourselves and the world around us, rather than having students view writing as simply a grade, offers an amazing perspective for students to consider. Kevin Roozen describes this concept in the section “Writing is Linked to Identity”, he writes, “For teachers and learners, it foregrounds the need to approach writing not simply as a means of learning and using a set of skills, but rather as a means of engaging with the possibilities for selfhood available in a given community”(51). Personally, this is something I hope to implement myself in my future classroom. I really want students to leave my class at the end of the semester with having learned something new about themselves, and hopefully with a newfound love or appreciation for writing.
This concept makes me wonder how many potential writers we have lost because they had a bad teacher or had a teacher who did not highlight the true importance of writing. For some writers, perhaps writing came very naturally and they did not need anybody to tell them why writing is important. However, for others, without having key moments in life from teachers, friends, or family that opened their eyes to what writing can do, they may not have ever considered becoming a writer in the first place. I think it is imperative that teachers, throughout any level of school, place more emphasis on the cathartic and healing nature of writing, rather than making students view writing as nothing more than an assignment to be completed and just another class to pass.
Roozen, Kevin. “Writing is Linked to Identity.” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, edited by Linda Adler-Kasner and Elizabeth A. Wardle, Utah State University Press, 2016, pp. 51
“Who are you, really? The Puzzle of Personality-Brian Little.” Youtube, uploaded by TED, 19 Jul 2016, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYvXk_bqlBk.