Maturity in Writing
Redefining Maturity in Writing
from Learning to Write: First Language
/ Second Language
by Aviva Freedman, et al. 1983. London: Longman
One of the first people to try to establish this relationship
was James Moffett, who equates growth in writing ability with the progression
from a relatively egocentric state (in which one is able to address only limited
audiences about only a few kinds of subjects) to a relatively decentred state
(in which one is able to address a variety of audiences about a variety of
subjects). Moffett’s work has led to substantial improvements in the way
writing is taught. And it has helped us understand the kinds of tasks a mature
(i.e. relatively non egocentric) writer should be able to perform...
egocentric] writer does not consider such questions as these:
How does my audience feel about the subject at hand?
How does my audience feel about me?
How are my audience’s feelings/values/experiences
different from mine?
What justification might my audience have for these
What kinds of arguments might my audience see as persuasive?
...People can change in their view
of knowledge and, consequently, in the ways they think about experience,
feelings, values, and ideas. ...[T]his development is important to one’s growth
as a writer. Indeed, I suspect that what often appear to be ‘writing problems’
may be cognitive problems; at least some of these problems may appear because
writers (at whatever age) have not learned to go beyond their egocentric,
overly simple view of a subject or have not come to understand that their
audience is someone who may not see the world as the writer does and who must,
therefore, be accommodated in a variety of ways.
Recognizing that the audience is
different from himself or herself, [the writer who is not egocentric]...
an appropriate context for his/her statements;
his/her arguments on values the audience is likely to share.
other features of ‘mature’ writing. This writing might show an author trying
and respond to objections/questions the audience is likely to have;
the legitimacy as well as the limitations of other points of view on a given
where appropriate, the limitations of his/her own point of view, indicating
what his/her theories can not explain, taking note of and trying to reconcile
evidence that appears to contradict one’s ideas or feelings.
the complexity of the subject at hand, attending to more than one single feature
of an experience.