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This research revealed a key feature of growth in writing. In order to have some control over your own ideas you had to stand back from them, turn them into gists or transform them in light of your intentions. Your ideas had to become more plastic and you had to become a more self-conscious shaper. With this and other studies Bereiter and Scardamalia were showing how the young writers they observed were depending almost exclusively on what they called a "knowledge- telling" process. How could instruction, we asked, supix)rt this process or help writers do it better? This work suggests that writersdepend on three major planning strategies — each with advantages and limitations: Kmwledge-driven planning, Schema-driven planning, and Constructive-planning. Each of these op- erates as an executive level planning strategy, which means that it guides and orchestrates how the writer goes about developing not only things to say but goals and criteria for how to say it. In Knowledge-driven planning the writer relies on his or her knowledge about the topic knowledge to generate information, to organize ideas, and to choose what to say. Knowledge-driven plan- ning is a familiar and effective strategy for turning out committee reports, school themes and letters home. It is excellent for demonstrating learning on an essay exam. But it can also lead to writer-based prose that is not adapted to what readers might need. When assign- ments ask writers to transform their knowledge for a new purpose or a reader, a knowledge-driven plan (based on presenting what one knows, structured as one currently thinks about it) will not be up to the job.
That is, they help generate ideas, select the relevant ones, set goals and criteria, and offer not only patterns of organization but appropriate language and phrasing. In Constructive-planning, writers build an original plan which puts knowledge and conventions to use. With this executive strategy, writers must "read" the situation and create their own complex web of inten- tions. They must often consider alternatives and deal with conflicts as they develop a network of subgoals, plans and criteria. The plan and the text develop in a kind of dialectic where each can shape the other. Collaborative planning began, first of all as a response to this prob- lem. This research had defined a set of powerful ex- ecutive strategies that older writers appeared to move about among at will. Could we help developing writers expand their repertoire? But just how do experienced writers construct a plan? The transcript below of a writer thinking aloud shows someexpert strategies we saw in both adultsand good student writers. These writers elaborate a netiuork of both major goals and "how-to-do it" subgoals and plans. They also review those goals during writing, not only to monitor progiess but to review and consolidate (and revise) their plan. They spend their time thinking about not only content, but about purpose, organization and audience. Novices sometimes gave almost no thought to the reader or their purpose. And, on this task, the amount of planning time even predicted the quality of the paper. Extensive planners did a significantly better job on this assignment than minimal planners.
By visualizing ideas filling up blackboards and making links across them, we hopped to make these familiar abstractions more concrete, to help students see their own plan as a conceptual entity distinct from text.
It reflects the kinds of rhetorical concerns composition teachers regularly teach. Although it might give writers a more inte- grated, memorable prompt, my own teaching experi- ence had convinced me that presenting new strategies can open doors for some students, who wonder why "no one ever taught me this before" but it can have little effect on other writers who do not see how or why to incorporate a strategy into what they already do. Why is it students do little buy papers for college constructive planning? To answer this question, we developed a friendly if fictitiouscomputer that would writea paper, but the student had to construct the plan. In this study the computer prompted students with hard questions such as, "Thank you, that was a good plan, but I was always told to consider alternatives. But the bigger surprise was students who emerged from this demanding hour and a hnlf planning experiment say- ing, "This would have helped me buy papers for college on my paper for psychology last week" and "Can my roommate be a subject in the study? If evpr this creaky computer fiction could be such an effective prompt, what more could students do with a live respondent encouraging and prompting their thinking?
Could a partner, whose attention is not consumed by planning, help buy papers for college a writer by (1) prompting her to consider new possioilities and then (2) at the next moment, reflecting back to the writer the shape, the strengths or the problems of her emerging plan? It was out of this exp)erience that collaborative planning took shape. Even more importantly, we wanted students to see planning as a purposeful constructive process, and to see writing as an action people take in a social, rhetorical situation. Therefore the Blackboard metaphor was embedded in the process as a prompt and a goal both partners were aware of. We had seen how the research techniques which were so revealing civil service essay to up, based on observations of writers thinking aloud, could also give students a new window on their own thinking. So we saw collabora- tive planning as a way to make thinking visible. However, this close analysis yielded much more than a confirmation of some hopes. It showed us, for instance, that the ways students talked about purpose were not in Oie personal or rhetorical terms the instruc- tors had imagined, but in terms of generic purposes, in this case tied to the assigned genre of doing a problem analysis.
More disturbing, these tapes revealed that when students discussed buy papers for college audience the audience was often seen as simply a mirror image of their key point— the reader was defined as someone needing or eager to hear what the writer had to say (Petraglia, Flower, Higgins, in prep). It is clearly not enough to know that students are doing an activity unless you can also see how students are thinking and learn how they are interpreting and using that activity.
This step in the story of collaborative planning not only told us about our students, but pointed a way to better teaching that started where the students were.