Researchers' first attempts to understand what is now called the writing process began in the early 1970s. Now a key concept in the teaching of writing and in the research of composition studies, "process" scholars were instrumental in shifting the focus of teachers' attention from students' written products to students' writing processes.
Composing process research was pioneered by scholars such as Janet Emig in The Composing Processes of Twelfth Graders (1971), Sondra Perl in "The Composing Processes of Unskilled College Writers" (1979), and Linda Flower and John R. Hayes in "A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing" (1981).
Since writing interrelates with external pressures, students benefit most from writing instruction when it provides them with a sense of how what they write can be connected to the world outside of the classroom. According to Ann E. Berthoff, the job of a teacher "is to design sequences of assignments which let our students discover what language can do, what they can do with language".
The rest of this page will focus on the writing process as a term used in teaching. In 1972, Donald M. Murray published a brief manifesto titled "Teach Writing as a Process Not Product", a phrase which became a rallying cry for many writing teachers. Ten years later, in 1982, Maxine Hairston argued that the teaching of writing had undergone a "paradigm shift" in moving from a focus on written products to writing processes.
For many years, it was assumed that the writing process generally operated in some variation of three to five "stages"; the configuration below is typical:
- Drafting (See Draft document)
- Revising (See Revision (writing))
- Editing: proofreading
What is now called "post-process" research demonstrates that it is seldom accurate to describe these "stages" as fixed steps in a straightforward process. Rather, they are more accurately conceptualized as overlapping parts of a complex whole or parts of a recursive process that are repeated multiple times throughout the writing process. Thus writers routinely discover that, for instance, editorial changes trigger brainstorming and a change of purpose; that drafting is temporarily interrupted to correct a misspelling; or that the boundary between prewriting and drafting is less than obvious.
Other articles related to "writing process, process, writing":
... fact is the least important of the various editing process ... However this is also incomplete with respect to many publishers full process ... The lowest, often called line editing is the stage in the writing process where the writer makes changes in the text to correct errors (spelling, grammar, or ...
... An cognitive theory is focused on gaining insight into the writing process through the writer’s thought processes ... Flower and Hayes’ seminal essay, “A Cognitive Process Theory of Writing” sought to outline the writer’s choice-making throughout the writing process, and how ... Other research has focused on capturing the cognitive processes of writers during the writing process through note-taking or speaking aloud, while some early research by Birdwell, Nancrow, and Ross was done with ...
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