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Risky Writing: Self-Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom


reviewed by Greta Vollmer — 2003

coverTitle: Risky Writing: Self-Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom
Author(s): Jeffrey Berman
Publisher: University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA
ISBN: 1558493387, Pages: 312, Year: 2001
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Risky Writing: Self Disclosure and Self-Transformation in the Classroom could just as easily been entitled “Risky Teaching,” for author Jeffrey Berman advocates an approach to the teaching of composition that is both demanding and controversial.   Berman tackles head-on what he sees as a deep-seated prejudice against the use of personal narrative and self-disclosure in composition classrooms, a focus that has been dismissed as sentimental, narcissistic and solipsistic by many of its critics.  The author makes a case for creating a safe classroom environment in which students can write on issues deemed “too personal” for academic writing such as depression, divorce, alcoholism, and sexual abuse.  As the final volume in a trilogy that explores reading and writing about traumatic subjects, Risky Writing offers case studies from 5 sections of Expository Writing (taught by Berman between 1995-1999) which focused on personal writing with the explicit goal of “exploring the educational, psychological and pedagogical implications of self-disclosure” (p. 13).   Berman notes that there is little scholarly inquiry into the topic of classroom self-disclosure, and much... (preview truncated at 150 words.)


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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 105 Number 4, 2003, p. 595-598
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10963, Date Accessed: 12/11/2017 4:05:48 PM

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About the Author
  • Greta Vollmer
    Sonoma State University
    E-mail Author
    GRETA VOLLMER is Assistant Professor of English and Applied Linguistics at Sonoma State University, where she teaches courses in composition pedagogy, grammar, literacy acquisition and basic composition. She is active in the National Writing Project and serves on the advisory board of TESL-EJ (Teaching English as a Second Language/Electronic Journal). Her research interests include second language composition, classroom discourse analysis and critical literacy.
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