This paper was originally presented at MLA in 1992.
This is the conclusion written and given in December of 1992.
After this paper was composed and submitted to MLA, I taught technical writing three more semesters.
Summer class aberration
The class I taught this summer had two papers in it which contradict two of the gender issues compiled from a review of past major paper assignments. One of the papers was from a male student who dealt with a female stereotypic topic: How Family Affects Work. Kenny explained his topic by saying, â€œFamily areas such as marital satisfaction and child care responsibilities have an impact at work. Some effects that family can have on work include decreased productivity, increased pressure on supervisors, and a need for an expanded family policy. This report investigates these effects and what employees and organizations can do about them.â€
Another student used personal anecdotes as a method of persuasion in his paper on job loss. Drew chose the topic because his father had been out of work for over a year. He quoted some research on psychological affects of job loss and wrote, â€œMany can hide the symptoms of dissatisfaction and low self-esteem. However, with my father, the signs are present if you look deep into his eyes.â€
I do not have any explanation for why, in the summer of 1992, two students wrote papers which by-passed the gender differentiated approach to writing assignments.
I do not think that these two papers discount the significance of the issues I noted through examining approximately four hundred student papers. Rather, they offer a new avenue of questioning to pursue. Are they the start of a new generation of students who are not only able to be females using male strategies but also males using female strategies? If they are not, then their aberration from the norm is worth examining. What makes them different and how can we pass the differences on to other students?