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Academic Discourse

Powerful Essays
Academic Discourse

In Peter Elbow’s, Writing for Teachers, he states, “Teachers are one of the trickiest audiences of all, yet they also illustrate the paradox that audiences sometimes help you and sometimes get in your way.” A teacher’s experience can give a student author valuable insight to the development of his writing, while at the same time offer criticism that may prove beneficial. Unfortunately, the relationship between a student and his teacher is a very difficult one that often poses more problems than can be resolved.

In order to become a more proficient writer, a student must be able to write in numerous voices, or at least develop one to use as a platform. In order to find and utilize his voice, an author must be able to specifically identify his audience and then determine the type of discourse that would prove most effective. This can become an impossible task when a student views a teacher as his audience, while the teacher is determined not to be the audience.

A teacher’s decision to be nothing more than a proofreader is based on sound reasoning. With a teacher as the intended audience, a student will attempt to change his style in order to receive a higher grade. Not only is it uncomfortable for the author to write in a voice not his own, but when a teacher returns his essay, he is certain to be disappointed by his mark. A teacher would find his paper awkward as a result of his unsure voice. This is only more frustrating for the student, who believed that his paper was what the teacher wanted. Furthermore, the student is questioning his own ability to produce an essay that expresses his own beliefs rather than those of his teacher.

The opposite type of student can pose an equally destructi...

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...g. By doing this both students are learning: one is coming to an even greater understanding of the principle which he is trying to explain, and the other is learning a technique he has never encountered before.

The relationship between teachers and students is one that can not be solved easily. Each teacher is different and has his own methods of conveying information to students. The only practical way to become better at writing for teachers is to get to know the instructor then adjust your own work habits so that both of you can make the most of your time. Overall, this will produce a less stressful working environment and both the teacher and the student will be more willing to accommodate each other. Ultimately, this will resolve the dilemma between the instructor and the author while providing an increased understanding of literary techniques to the student.
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