Inclination and Institution


Foucault and the Freshmen Writer: Considering the Self in Discourse was a very difficult piece to understand, but I really enjoyed it. I still do not completely understand it, even through a lot of discussion in class. As a future educator, this article was very interesting because it made me think about my own teaching style. I particularly enjoyed section II because it discussed language and education in depth. Spellmen describes,

“Writers seduced by Inclination will find that their freedom of expression is not respected, or even tolerated outside of Freshmen English, yet those who yield too obligingly to Institution by trusting in order they need not, or cannot, test against their own experiences-against the “thought from outside” also eliminate the tension that makes language into discourse, and discourse into knowledge.”

I think this is absolutely brilliant, and it’s right on target. When I was in English Composition I and II, I felt like my opinion truly mattered. My teacher wanted all of us to be able to freely express ourselves both in class and through our writing. I really valued this, as I am an Inclination writer, and I learned a lot about myself through my writing. I entered my higher-level English classes with a lot of confidence, but then that confidence was shattered in my higher level English classes. I would express my opinion on certain texts, and I would be told I was completely off-base. From then on I would not talk in class because my opinion no longer mattered. Our class was not based on Institution, not Inclination.

I think the best way to manage a classroom and teach is through both Institution and Inclination. I think Spellmeyer, in a very elaborate way, is saying the same thing. Students need to be able to freely think and express themselves, but they also need a good foundation in order to do so. Without a good foundation, writing would be unorganized and sloppy, but we cannot solely focus on Institution. I think of this in the form of state standards. Teachers are required to teach to the state standards, but they need to go beyond this and embrace Inclination. This is the best way for students to realize and embrace their strengths, as well as strengthen their weaknesses.


One thought on “Inclination and Institution

  1. I agree with your ideas on instructors needing to go beyond the state standards. I feel like right now teachers are more concerned with their students regurgitating information back on state tests rather than actually learning it. Instead of telling students what is truth, they need to allow each student to stumble across these ideas for themselves. A great instructor is one who guides their students to knowledge rather than forcefully leads the way for them. I think once an instructor realizes this this are on the path to becoming a great teacher. I hope there are more of you out there 🙂

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