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The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year

Nancy Sommers and Laura Saltz
College Composition and Communication
Vol. 56, No. 1 (Sep., 2004), pp. 124-149
DOI: 10.2307/4140684
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4140684
Page Count: 26
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The Novice as Expert: Writing the Freshman Year
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Abstract

Why do some students prosper as college writers, moving forward with their writing, while others lose interest? In this essay we explore some of the paradoxes of writing development by focusing on the central role the freshman year plays in this development. We argue that students who make the greatest gains as writers throughout college (1) initially accept their status as novices and (2) see in writing a larger purpose than fulfilling an assignment. Based on the evidence of our longitudinal study, we conclude that the story of the freshman year is not one of dramatic changes on paper; it is the story of changes within the writers themselves.

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