(1) I love journals. Whether the journal is for a half-baked creative writing project or for a research project, I often use journals to organize my ideas into a single place. The selection from Inside Out, then, was enjoyable to read because it energized how to use journals more effectively. Before reading this selection, I only knew journals for solo writing (whether academic or creative). Now, however, I see the value in using them as a teaching tool; why I never considered their worth as a teaching tool is mystifying. The journal that I look forward to experimenting with is the Class Journal; properly used, I feel that the journal may be a good methodology for galvanizing student responses to daily readings. Though the selection talks about it mostly in the context of class discussion, I believe that also using it for a series of short-responses is another viable path to encourage active participation.
(2) The system is almost an anti-system. That was what I thought when I read “Getting to Carnegie Hall.” It is a system in the sense that there is a ‘rhyme to its reason;’ the teacher’s job is to teach how to write and makes themselves obsolete. But, it also seems to be in opposition to a system because it is simply this extrapolation—this is what revision is and is not and other than that, there is an open world left to the student to explore. The emphasis on student-centeredness was intriguing not the least of which because the idea that even Shakespeare was once a novice writer is a reminder that all budding writers need to remember. Writers are not born great, they become great through “practice, practice, practice.” Like in mathematics, good writing demands recurrent effort. In my own writing, nothing is handed-in without several drafts. The improvement over the years impossible without a conscious application of principles.