Thursday, November 15, 2007

Doctrine: noun

"These students are, with one exception, all traditional, fresh out of high school, students. Fresh out of the public K-12 education system which indoctrinates all students in The Writing Process (Yup, it's capitalized, and singular) in which there is a right and wrong way to do everything from come up with an idea to presenting the final, five-paragraph, product."--Ali's blog.

Main Entry:
Middle English, from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French, from Latin doctrina, from doctor
14th century

1 archaic : teaching, instruction
2 a: something that is taught b: a principle or position or the body of principles in a branch of knowledge or system of belief : dogma c: a principle of law established through past decisions d: a statement of fundamental government policy especially in international relations e: a military principle or set of strategies

Courtesy of Merriam and Webster's online dictionary. Thanks guys.

I don't know the doctrines of the K-12 writerly education program. Why? I have not one small ounce of experience with them. Until I was eighteen years old, I didn't have the smaugiest idea what sort of thing might be taught at a school about wording. I wasn't curious, because I was doing the dandy dance on my own, and with help from friends and family whenever I found myself at a loss for word choice, as it were.

How, then, did I learn what subtle nuances and such strangities for to constitute the written wording? Reading, mostly. And listening--spoken stresses associated with grammar and punctuation are telling. Then through a great deal of emulation. Emulation being the important step. Through it I learned accuracy and what style is. After learning, therefore, this accuracy and the constitute parts of style, I could begin on this lengthy, bredthy, wigging quest for that remarkable creature: originallity.

That was my wording education. Gee, it was fun. Honing, I'm on the honing stage now, I think. I inherited from my grandfather--a writering chappy as well--a good many college textbooks of grammar and such. I have been going through them, and learning names for things. Quite educating.

This process will not work for everyone. Some people are dunces, and need doctrine. Some people are dunces, and should leave writing well enough alone. But this worked for me.

A strange datum: Elseplace in the blog that Ali wrote, which I have quoted above, she said something about these same indoctrinated dunces writing brainstorming papers in paragraphs. And I found myself confused. My brainstorming takes the form of paragraphs, some of the time. About half the time. Most of the brainstorming sessions I have which I write down are written in paragraphs. The ones on only one or two or three or four subjects are divided into paragraphs. My worry went thus: does my tendency to divide logical divisions of my thinking with a paragraph break make me an indoctrinated dunce?

Answer being, with some strange balance of crazy and logical: no. I have never recieved a doctrine, not when I was young and impressionable anyway. And afterwards, doctrines on wording all appeared little more than opinions. Opinions of the opinionated, who were getting paid to preach.

So yeah. That was weird.


Ali said...

Ahem, I never called them dunces. I am not insulting the students, but remarking on the K-12 experience (as it currently stands).

As for my criticism of the paragraphs, your question is good. I'll answer it later today.

Whittaker Luckless said...

Of course YOU didn't call them dunces. I called them dunces. It's a term of endearment...yeah...

Nickel Halfwise said...

Dunce really is not the appropriate term. The politically correct would be Neuronically-Challenged Person.

As for Grammar, forget it. The politically correct is Ethnocentric White Patriarchal Restructuring of Language.

(See here)

Oh, and in case anyone was inclined to wonder, term of endearment is the politically correct term for an insult.