I like how Yancey open up the article by describing her class activity and characterizing the conversations and the students that made up her narrative composition class. The beginning of the article read almost liked a journal entry and I was convinced that would be the tone of the whole article. However the article changed form when she introduced the research study conducted in the 70s and 80s that asked the question “how do students learn to write.” Yancey stated that this question aroused because teachers who taught writing didn’t know much about the process. She stated, “We didn’t know much about the very thing we were supposed to be teaching: writing and the process that create it. We certainly didn’t know much about it from the point of view of those we were daily practicing upon: The students.” Yancey also discussed the writing process’s shift from traditional to current theories. She briefly discussed these theories and stated that reflection played a very small role in their histories and out of theses popular practices in composition she asserted that only one single article was able to link reflection and composing together and this article was published by Sharon Pianko. In this article Pianko wrote, “The ability to reflect on what is being written seems to be the essence of the difference between able and not so able writers from their initial writing experience onward.” Although, both Pianko and Yancey admitted that reflection is a critical component of learning and writing, their descriptions of reflection is a bit different. In Pianko’s 1979 article, reflection was described as the author’s pauses and rescanning during the writing process and 20 years later in Yancey’s class room, reflection is “not defined behaviorally as pauses and rescanning, but as a means of going beyond the text to include a sense of ongoing conversations that texts enter into.” Further along the article Yancey clarified the term reflection in her text. “What I’ll mean in this text when I say reflection will be 1) the processes by which we know what we have accomplished and by which we articulate accomplishment and 2) the products of those processes.” Through out the article she continued to define and discussed reflection as a necessary body of practice that can help enhance the developing writer. Yancey does this by quoting others like Donald Schon, Brookfield, Dewey, Vygotsky and Polanyi.
Yancey ended her article by introducing 3concepts that she applies to teaching and learning of writing and they are reflection –in-action, constructive reflection, and reflection in presentation.
Yancey’s article was very encouraging in that it discussed how reflection can enhance student’s learning of the writing process, however I had to trudged through it because its was not only boring, it felt very repetitive, wordy, and even a bit disorganized. I though too much emphasis was put on defining reflection rather then exploring how to apply it during the writing process and more importantly how to apply to teach and into the classroom.
I though Nancy’s article shed a light on a not often mentioned topic in education. As Nancy stated in the beginning of her article commenting on student’s paper is needed because “as writer we need and want thoughtful commentary to show us when we have communicated our ideas and when not, raising questions from a reader’s point of view that may not have occurred to us as writer,” however its not always clear that students learn from teacher’s comments on their writing. In my educational experience I don’t ever remember getting insightful feed back comments from my writing teachers that had help me to better evaluate my writing, I mostly remembered making the changes that my teachers requested so I can get a good grader and also to follow directions. Now that I’m a teacher I try to add thoughtful commentary to students writing and at times to the point of hinting to them what to add to their text, however I haven’t really put too much attention on whether they truly understand some of the comments. As the article stated this is an area teachers truly lack training in and I appreciate Sommers’s article because although there’s not really a right or wrong way to response to student’s writing, unlike Yancey, Sommers provided practical guideline teachers can use for commenting on students paper.
Regarding the final project I thought the handbook idea where everyone share their expertise in a subject is exciting, however like many have already stated the right audience and grade level need to be established before moving forward. Also, the idea of going digital vs. print is a good one to ponder on, but I would prefer a printed book because for me as an educator if the book is physically present I am more likely to read it and retain the information in it. But that’s just me though, others may see it differently. In any case we can always combine both.