In Bartholomae’s “Inventing the University”, found at http://wac.colostate.edu/jbw/v5n1/bartholomae.pdf, Bartholomae discusses the writing of college students. Bartholomae argues that most college level students are “basic writers”, and that a student must learn to be an “insider”, one who understands what type of writing is expected of them at the university level and is able to mimic the style in their own writing.
Bartholomae’s article is intended for an audience of teachers. He is saying that the students must learn to basically please their teachers by writing as they do and with the same language and style.
With my future field being accounting, I am going to have to learn many advanced terms that most of my clients will not understand. Most accountants are perceived as manipulators because of this. I believe that a better way to communicate with the client would be to help them fully understand everything I tell them and to explain it on terms that they would actually understand. The relationship with my clients would then become greater because they would feel that they could trust me. Customer relations is important in almost all fields. However, I must also know the advanced terms as an accountant. I will need them when consulting with my colleagues, or in meetings with my supervisors and other higher officials in my firm. If I were to speak to them with simpler terms I would not be taken as seriously, and may be perceived as not as intelligent. Since they, too, would know the same accounting terms, it would be best to use them when talking with other accountants to create a more educated sort of atmosphere. I believe that a good accountant would be able to properly communicate with those who are and those who are not familiar with the terms in my field.
I am setting goals, as you might say, for what I need to do in the next four years in order to become the best me I can be in my field. Having read Bartholomae’s article, I feel like I better understand the message he addressed. In order to be successful I am going to have to understand what is expected of me and how to recreate the expectations in my own work. I would personally argue that this could be the key to school. The quicker you learn to give them what they want, the faster you will succeed. You must learn to be an insider and be able to speak the language and style that your teachers expect from you.
Growing up I was taught that there was one way to write an essay and one way only. It was MLA format. Specific points had to go in specific spots, thing had to sound a certain way, and certain language had to be used. While I agree with teaching that way, I do not agree that it should be the only thing that was embedded into my young mind. Once I got to college, I learned that there are many ways to do the same thing. Each professor is going to be different and expect different things. It is not as important to learn to write the way an English teacher writes, for that will not help me be a more successful accountant. I need to learn what accountants do. How they write and how I can become better at that. I need to learn about my future and how I can succeed after I walk across the stage in four years; not how I can succeed in writing as an English teacher.
This whole aspect of school was not even brought to my attention until I took Professor Griffiths ENG 121 class. I never realized that students would each need to write in different ways, and she wants us to write that way versus all of us writing in the same unhelpful way.