Reflection: Unit Planning The Role of Narrative in Writing - Section 3: Conceptual Discussion: "All Writing is Autobiographical"


The students understood the point Murray makes about all writing being autobiographical through the poetry and personal narratives he uses as examples, but didn’t really make the leap to more academic writing. . . so I did.  I specifically asked them how the rhetorical analysis essay they wrote a few weeks ago, for example, could be autobiographical in some way.  They were a little dumb-founded by this question, so I answered it myself by going back to Murray’s text where he writes about voice—that in any piece, he has a unique way of putting words together developed from his unique set of life experiences.  I went on to emphasize this point further by telling students that any writing is theirs first—they own it, and to think of it that way as they put words on the page.  If it simply an act of putting words down for a teacher to see, they probably won’t come across as well as consciously recognizing their own academic voice. 

It was the end of class by then, but thinking back, I think next time I teach this, I will have the students do some free-writing, reflecting on their own academic voice and what goes into it—how, in fact, academic papers are autobiographical, so they can better own the concept.  I may even have them take a look at a piece they wrote in class and identify areas that are uniquely them.

  Owning Their Writing
  Unit Planning: Owning Their Writing
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The Role of Narrative in Writing

Unit 6: Thematic Unit: Gender and the Rhetorical Power of Narrative
Lesson 6 of 12

Objective: STWBAT explore the role narrative and personal anecdote plays in developing arguments through analysis of Donald Murray's essay "All Writing is Autobiographical."

Big Idea: We all put part of ourselves in everything we write.

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donald murray
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