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Recognition,  Representation,  and  Revision,  Berthoff     I   really   liked   the   story   with   which   Berthoff   begins   his   essay.   At   last,   an   academic   essay   that   starts   with   a   simple   everyday   observation   of   how   an   average   graduate   student   goes   about   the   task   of   writing.   It   notes   the   different   kinds  of  challenges  faced  by  undergraduate  and  graduate  students  and  how  our   conception   of   revision   stands   in   our   own   way   when   it   comes   to   writing.   He   argues  that  composition  teachers  need  to  start  teaching  differently  what  revision   is.   For   Berthoff   like   for   Sommers,   revising   is   neither   correcting   nor   polishing.     Composition   is   not   a   dialectical   process.   A   new   kind   of   composition   teaching   is   required,  which  encourages  students  to  be  actively  engaged  during  all  the  steps   of  the  process,  and  use  language  dynamically—to  think,  to  create  new  meaning.   It’s  precisely  such  engagement  that  relies  on  the  writer’s  experience  and  makes   the  text  come  to  life.     I   was   especially   interested   in   Bertfhoff’s   take   on   perception   in   philosophy   and   the   sciences   and   how   it   involves   matching   and   reordering,   and   how   vision   is   a   matter   or   revision—or,   in   other   words   plain   seeing   is   contingent   upon   reseeing.  A  really  eye-­‐opening  paper.  Especially,  because  it  gives  the  composition   teacher   suggestions   to   get   students   to   understand   the   writing   process   and   revision  differently.  I  thought  the  most  helpful  of  these  suggestions  was  to  teach   them   to   observe   perspective   and   context   and   think   about   how   these   might   become   ideas   to   think   with.   In   other   words,   to   use   the   world   as   text,   and   understand   language   as   their   relationship   to   such   dynamic   world.   This   also   involves   a   new   understanding   of   the   imagination,   which   is   essential   in   the   revision   process.   Berthoff   ditches   the   cleaning-­‐window   metaphor   often   used   to   describe   such   process   and   replaces   it   with   the   image   of   forming—that   is,   “seeing   relationships,   recognizing   and   representing   them.”   A   very   helpful   take   on   revision  for  both  teachers  and  writers.             •


Recognition  
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