I have trouble with the idea that the "writing-to-know" that occurs in (some) school contexts is somehow "freer" than what can or does occur in workplace contexts - surely the constraints on school writing (even informal writing-to-learn activities) are just as strong and "real" (sorry, couldn't resist!) as on workplace writing activities.  Perhaps more so, given that a typical student-identity seems to call for careful observance of the rules or teacher's expectations, even if we like to think that we are encouraging students to write "freely".

I guess I'm uneasy about another value hierarchy or dichotomy that seems implied in what you say, namely between the (relative) "freedom" of writing-to-learn in university and, by contrast, the lack of freedom in workplace contexts.  I would imagine that the possibilities for trying out new ideas, doing real brainstorming, working collaboratively on "meaningful," "substantive", cutting-edge projects, etc. are very likely greater in at least some workplace contexts than within the traditional, heavy structures of university education.  I would likewise imagine that many workers (i.e. professionals) feel greater personal connection with and investment in the knowledges they are constructing and communicating than many students do.  I suppose this brings us back to the issue of how does one design educational activities that will help to foster this kind of connection and enthusiasm, or "ownership" as Rob puts it, for students?


Philippa Spoel
Department of English
Laurentian University
Sudbury, Ontario
Canada  P3E 2C6
tel: 705-675-1151
fax: 705-675-4870
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