The Writing Center Today
An Interview with Gerd Bräuer
New Books Network 2021
Listen to this interview of Gerd Bräuer, Head of the Schreibzentrum, the writing center, at Freiburg University of Education. We talk about the place of the internet in writing development, we talk about views on writing in German higher education and more widely in German society and culture, and we talk about Bert Brecht's journals.
Tnterviewer: "What part does a person's biography play in their writing? And I mean the academic writing students do, or also, the academic writing we publish, and not just literature and memoir."
Gerd Bräuer: "Well, in the writing process, there's something we call writer-based prose. And here the writer would really get the chance, from the institution and from the instructor, to pay attention to this first phase within the writing process, where the writer struggles with his or her own thoughts and ideas and also reconnects to what he or she has learned through the writing––or however else they've learned it––and the writer gets the chance to be always trying to figure out what to explore and how to explore it, before he or she starts to think about how to say it to a certain audience within a certain text genre. This writer-based prose is focused on immediate work with knowledge, with creating new knowledge. Peter Elbow, an American writing researcher that I admire greatly––he speaks about cooking, about letting your ideas boil and simmer, and then tasting to find out whether you like it and what to change. And all this I see as part of biographical work. You work on your biography as a learner, and that phenomenon, learning, is lifelong and includes everyone. So, with every single new writing assignment you get a learning chance. But of course, the institution or whoever assigns the writing would also have to provide the framework to make this learning happen."
Daniel Shea, heads Scholarly Communications, a Special Series on the New Books Network. Daniel is Director of the Heidelberg Writing Program, a division of the Language Center at Heidelberg University, Germany. Just write Daniel.Shea@zsl.uni-heidelberg.de