The Chipman/Urstein Article

A significant portion of our class recently has been¬† the discussion of the Chipman/Urstein article and the revision of the academic probation letter. While revising the letter I have noticed a change from group to group of the overall psychology of the letter.¬†Because everyone has their own way to phase things, and this letter is largely concerned with word choice, it can be hard to revise. That said, I believe that sometimes we get too caught up in the psychology of word choice; sometimes is simply doesn’t matter, or it doesn’t carry as much weight as we expect it to. After having spent significant time with multiple versions of the letter I believe that the changes we made were in our own benefit rather than anyone else. I suspect that if everyone individually were given slightly different iterations of the letter their revisions would all turn out slightly different. If we redistributed those revised letters throughout the class and had to re revise those, I suspect that by and large the newly revised letters would be very similar in word choice and overall psychology to everyone’s original revision. I also suspect that this exercise is done every year and that every group comes up with their own unique letter. Soon we have hundreds of letters that all attempt to share the same message with slightly different word choice. Which letters are right? Which are wrong and need further revising? It’s hard to tell, and everyone is likely biased in their own way. In that way, as Urstein makes an argument for changing the psychology of the letter, I believe that everyone will interpret it slightly different, regardless of how its phrased. In that way, the revision process is never actually finished. It just stops moving.

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