RE: Interesting Article about Student Writing Proficiency

Subject: RE: Interesting Article about Student Writing Proficiency
From: Kim Roper <kim -dot- roper -at- pixelink -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 18:38:30 -0400

Susan W. Gallagher asked:

> Did anyone on this list have to struggle to learn to write?
> Or, for that matter, not show much interest in writing until
> out of school?

For me, it was a pragmatic choice. I was forced into a nasty situation by
my (now) ex-husband. To make a long story short: Just before we split up,
he tricked me into agreeing to move to city in which -he- had an offer of
employment but -my- job prospects were poor. I'm here for the sake of my
son. So, I went back to college to leverage (HAH!! That word does have a
meaning!) my R&D-based engineering degree (which would have been marketable
in Southern Ontario or New Jersey) into something that would pay the bills
in Ottawa.

Technical writing isn't all writing--not by a long shot. In my case, the
writing is often an expression of the knowledge gained or applied in the
non-writing parts of the job, and my background has served me well there.
It's a continual learning experience, and I'm enjoying it.

During my last years of high school (in the early 1980s), I was fortunate to
have an English teacher that recognized my interest in, and aptitude for,
sciences and mathematics. She allowed me to make the most of this in her
class. She also introduced me to good science fiction, and I am eternally
grateful to her for her enthusiasm and encouragement.

One of the things that stuck with me is that she encouraged me to study
linguistics. I can't help but think that if she had known about technical
writing at the time, she would have tried to steer me in that direction.

(Oddly enough, when I met my birth family in 1990, I discovered that my
grandfather--who is an electronics designer--is fluent in at least five
languages and conversant in a few more, simply for the love of language.
You haven't experienced "Jabberwocky" until you've heard it in German. :)

Cheers ... Kim
kim.roper at

"The thing to remember about learning languages is that the first six are
the hardest."
-- Grandpa Bob


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