Blog 3: Responding to Student’s Papers

Blog 3: Responding to Student's Papers
I personally thought this was the best set of readings of my semester so far. I was truly engaged to the core especially with Response to Writing by Richard Beach and Tom Friedrich. I had a lot of side notes on the readings so I had to pick and choose what to mention here.

I agree that "A primary purpose for responding to students' writing is to help students improve the quality of their writing."(222) Student's truly get to benefit from and grow from comments that teachers give them. The article also stated that, "Focusing on final-draft errors only encouraged students to attend to matters of sentence structure and mechanics."(222) In college, I have had a tendency to only fix errors on a paper that were mentioned in the notes on the paper and not actually do much else. It makes me seems like the comments are the most important things and there is nothing else wrong with the paper.
"Consistent with the "process" model then in favor, teachers shifted away from  simply giving editing feedback to responding to students development of ideas and drafts."(223) I agree that this is the better way to improve students writing process. Students don't just need feedback they actually need constructive feedback.

"Students may interpret a teacher's feedback as reflecting a negative perception of themselves as writers."(224) This has personally happened to me. When I have misinterpreted what a professor means by the comments on my papers, it makes me not want to look back at my paper for a good while. I feel like giving up. I've always been worried about my professor's giving negative feedback about something I write because of their own biases. I have started to wonder how would I react if I myself as a teacher were in their shoes.

When I read the statement that "Teachers can also provide feedback by taping comments on casettes or digital tapes" (225), I disagreed. I think that's very outdated at this time. I think the best way to give feedback to students is through Google Docs or in one on one conferences. I do take into consideration that teachers have time constraints and they may find somethings very inconvenient to do.

I loved the Writing Comments on Students' Papers article. I could relate with the students experiences that Bean described. It is interesting to see that what I have been suspected could definitely be true. Bean stated, "We become harsh or sarcastic. We let our irritation show on the page. Sometimes we do not treat students' work in progress with the same sensitivity that we bring to our colleagues' work."(317) I do not appreciate when professors don't consider the student's feelings when they are leaving comments because personally what I write is my baby. I gave birth to my writing and it came from the core of my being. I am guilty of what Bean states: "Often, however, students are bewildered by our comments, and they sometimes read into them a tone and a meaning entirely different from our intentions." (318) I think maybe a part of me thinks that if my writing is good then I should have no comments on my paper. Overall, Bean was able to examine why teachers comment the way they do and how students react. He gave solutions to help solve the problem. At first when I read the sentence "If you comment on drafts, you'll probably need to do so at least a week before students are to submit their finished," (321) I was astonished. I'm not sure if he was talking about a draft's due date or a final paper due date. I think a student should have comments on their paper way in advance before its due primarily mid semester. I do not like when I have to rush to correct things because the due date is right around the corner. I like to have plenty of time to reflect and rethink my points.

Blog 3: Responding to Student’s Papers

Blog 3: Responding to Student's Papers
I personally thought this was the best set of readings of my semester so far. I was truly engaged to the core especially with Response to Writing by Richard Beach and Tom Friedrich. I had a lot of side notes on the readings so I had to pick and choose what to mention here.

I agree that "A primary purpose for responding to students' writing is to help students improve the quality of their writing."(222) Student's truly get to benefit from and grow from comments that teachers give them. The article also stated that, "Focusing on final-draft errors only encouraged students to attend to matters of sentence structure and mechanics."(222) In college, I have had a tendency to only fix errors on a paper that were mentioned in the notes on the paper and not actually do much else. It makes me seems like the comments are the most important things and there is nothing else wrong with the paper.
"Consistent with the "process" model then in favor, teachers shifted away from  simply giving editing feedback to responding to students development of ideas and drafts."(223) I agree that this is the better way to improve students writing process. Students don't just need feedback they actually need constructive feedback.

"Students may interpret a teacher's feedback as reflecting a negative perception of themselves as writers."(224) This has personally happened to me. When I have misinterpreted what a professor means by the comments on my papers, it makes me not want to look back at my paper for a good while. I feel like giving up. I've always been worried about my professor's giving negative feedback about something I write because of their own biases. I have started to wonder how would I react if I myself as a teacher were in their shoes.

When I read the statement that "Teachers can also provide feedback by taping comments on casettes or digital tapes" (225), I disagreed. I think that's very outdated at this time. I think the best way to give feedback to students is through Google Docs or in one on one conferences. I do take into consideration that teachers have time constraints and they may find somethings very inconvenient to do.

I loved the Writing Comments on Students' Papers article. I could relate with the students experiences that Bean described. It is interesting to see that what I have been suspected could definitely be true. Bean stated, "We become harsh or sarcastic. We let our irritation show on the page. Sometimes we do not treat students' work in progress with the same sensitivity that we bring to our colleagues' work."(317) I do not appreciate when professors don't consider the student's feelings when they are leaving comments because personally what I write is my baby. I gave birth to my writing and it came from the core of my being. I am guilty of what Bean states: "Often, however, students are bewildered by our comments, and they sometimes read into them a tone and a meaning entirely different from our intentions." (318) I think maybe a part of me thinks that if my writing is good then I should have no comments on my paper. Overall, Bean was able to examine why teachers comment the way they do and how students react. He gave solutions to help solve the problem. At first when I read the sentence "If you comment on drafts, you'll probably need to do so at least a week before students are to submit their finished," (321) I was astonished. I'm not sure if he was talking about a draft's due date or a final paper due date. I think a student should have comments on their paper way in advance before its due primarily mid semester. I do not like when I have to rush to correct things because the due date is right around the corner. I like to have plenty of time to reflect and rethink my points.

Own it. It’s yours.

fight-for-your-write

I really connected and engaged with  “On Student’s Right to Their Own Text: A Model of Teacher Response” by Brannon and Knoblauch this week. from the start of this article, I immediately felt the authors advocating for student writers and arguing the fact that they should be given a bit more credit than normal in terms of their capabilities and competency when it comes to writing. I thought it was very interesting when the authors mentioned the fact that readers never really question an author one they have an impression of their credibility in mind, but instead put blame on themselves in regards to the quality of a piece of work. I never really thought about that before, but that is very true. Most readers will say they must’ve misunderstood something rather than chalk it up to an author needing to re-write. The idea of authority is prevalent when it comes to teachers and student-writers in the sense that a teacher will think twice about the moves a student makes because they are novice writers and still need to be told what to do and how to do it rather than believing they work with some sort of purpose or logic that mirrors someone that is more established.

I remember saying the word “ethos” over and over again in my mind while reading this article because that is very much what the first half of the article is about… credibility. However, as I read through to the end I got the sense of a student’s voice being diminished in their own work as well. Students will get the wrong idea about their work not having any value and sometimes even lose interest in writing altogether, but the key is to find a way to guide them to see the significance in their work rather than tearing them down. Student need to feel like their words and what they are writing about has value to another to establish a sense of responsibility. I questioned the work I do in the writing center towards the beginning of the article because I felt that we, in some way, approach every session with an “what can I help this student fix” kind of attitude as if we know what they should be writing and help help to get them to a version of an Ideal Text. I do think there is a way to move even farther from this idea, but I do believe that our purpose is alluded to by the end of the article when the authors suggest that a better way of handling the issue is by getting students to think carefully about the choices that they make in their writing and to not tell them what to do.

I feel this topic is really important because it adds to the conversation of how much a teacher can either build up or tear down a student’s sense of self-efficacy. I like how the authors tackled the idea of how writing is taught. This concept is crucial to then understanding what is wrong and how it can be rectified.


These Theories are Comp-licated — Discussion Lead Response

“Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century” by Richard Fulkerson
“On Student’s Rights to their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response” by Lil Brannon and C.H. Knoblauch

The most effective way to teach writing to students has been up for debate for a long time, as detailed in “Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century,” by Richard Fulkerson. Fulkerson’s article is an updated look at the field of composition studies from his last assessment of the field in the early 90s. In the twenty-plus years that have passed, new fields have risen up and changed the nature of the field in important ways, but these changes require assessment.  Twenty years ago, people were not as interested in cultural studies, including topics such as race, feminism, and the LGBTQ+ community. However, interest in these fields, among others, has boomed in recent years and added many new chapters to composition studies textbooks. This is most impactful in the sense that composition studies is no longer limited to the English classroom, and instead is pertinent to many other fields of study as well. For this reason, it is interesting to study what has changed in recent years in terms of teaching methods for these new groups of students. Fulkerson opens his essay by proposing four questions which dissect different methods of teaching composition axiologically, by process, pedagogically, and epistemologically.

The purpose of these questions is to examine the different approaches to teaching college writing with the inclusion of new fields of study. For example, the cultural studies field melds well with composition studies because both seek similar ends, most notably, liberation from traditional discourse. Fulkerson also discusses expressivism, a methodological way in which writing is moving away from the traditional. Expressivism gives the writer in any field a large amount of room to respond to topics they feel passionate about through freewriting and journaling, and to seeks to “‘foster [. . .] aesthetic, cognitive, and moral development,’ not to improve written communication or encourage critical thinking” (Fulkerson 667). The composition studies community appears to be torn between adopting the newer methodologies or sticking with the traditional, process-driven methodologies, and Fulkerson ultimately concludes that opinions differ, and there is no way of proving one methodology to be superior over another.

I didn’t expect these two articles to tie together but, interestingly enough, they do. In their article, “On Student’s Rights to their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response,” Brannon and Knoblauch present a compelling argument detailing a new way for teachers to respond to student writers, which would certainly not be considered a traditional methodology. The writers make a case for why teachers should approach students’ writing with as much respect as they would approach the thoughts of any other author. To understand this argument, the reader is asked to consider the examples of a textbook, or a newspaper article. Brannon and Knoblauch argue that, when reading these mediums, we tend to automatically assume that the writer has done his research and that he is educated on the topic he is covering. And, even if this proves to not be true, we still give the writer the benefit of the doubt and assume that the lapse in quality was a moment of weakness. However, when it comes to students, the assumption automatically tends to be that “the student [has] not yet earned the authority that ordinarily compels readers to listen seriously to what writers have to say.” (Brannon 3). Regardless of whether or not this proves to be true, the automatic assumption of students inferior intellectual status is demeaning, and may lead them to care less about their assignments, going on the assumption that their work will be grammatically picked to pieces and the reliability of it will be questioned. Brannon and Knoblauch do not set out to argue that student texts are authoritative, however they do encourage teachers to move away from their concept from the “Ideal Text.” Instead, they recommend focusing on conferencing with students and working with them to communicate their ideas in a more effective way. By doing this, the hope is that students may learn to better explain themselves and feel that their writing is being graded on quality of argument, rather than an arbitrary “Ideal” standard.

I found Fulkerson’s article to be loaded to overflowing with heavy theoretical talking points and references, and had to read through it several times to ensure that I understood what he was trying to convey. He attempted to fit many different points into one paper which got confusing and was often hard to tie the arguments back into the thesis. The paper mainly served as an analysis of the newer methodologies in comparison to already established tradition and, while excellent points were expounded on, Fulkerson ended the paper with an ambiguous summation of both: “composition studies is in for a bumpy ride” (681). So it would seem. That all being said, I did enjoy the walk-through of the history of composition studies, as well as the introduction to expressivism, and I look forward to a discussion of its merits and faults, standing against the established tradition.

On the other hand, I enjoyed Brannon and Knoblauch’s article immensely because I thought it raised very valid points regarding how teachers respond to student writing. In one of the footnotes, the writers make a comparison to reader-response criticism, a mode of literary criticism with which I am familiar. Reader-response focuses a great deal on the authority of the writer within the context of their writing, and I think this is very interesting to apply to students’ work. I thought the case example of John’s written response to the Lindbergh baby prompt was an excellent way of illustrating this point. I think that, while this article offers wonderful theoretical advice, it might be problematic in execution because teachers have such limited time with students. For this reason, I feel that the teacher taking this advice into practice might have to adapt it to fit his or her own classroom. That being said, I still feel that the awareness promoted in this essay is crucial, and could change a student’s response to a writing assignment.
 




Questions:
#1. Do you think that Critical/Cultural Studies(CCS) classes are effective ways of teaching writing to students? Why, or why not?
#2. Discuss the differences between the dominant tradition of composition and current cultural studies/expressivism/CCS.
#3. Do you think that Brannon and Knoblauch’s model is realistically possible to apply in a traditional classroom setting? And if not overall, how could certain elements be utilized?

These Theories are Comp-licated — Discussion Lead Response

“Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century” by Richard Fulkerson
“On Student’s Rights to their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response” by Lil Brannon and C.H. Knoblauch

The most effective way to teach writing to students has been up for debate for a long time, as detailed in “Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century,” by Richard Fulkerson. Fulkerson’s article is an updated look at the field of composition studies from his last assessment of the field in the early 90s. In the twenty-plus years that have passed, new fields have risen up and changed the nature of the field in important ways, but these changes require assessment.  Twenty years ago, people were not as interested in cultural studies, including topics such as race, feminism, and the LGBTQ+ community. However, interest in these fields, among others, has boomed in recent years and added many new chapters to composition studies textbooks. This is most impactful in the sense that composition studies is no longer limited to the English classroom, and instead is pertinent to many other fields of study as well. For this reason, it is interesting to study what has changed in recent years in terms of teaching methods for these new groups of students. Fulkerson opens his essay by proposing four questions which dissect different methods of teaching composition axiologically, by process, pedagogically, and epistemologically.

The purpose of these questions is to examine the different approaches to teaching college writing with the inclusion of new fields of study. For example, the cultural studies field melds well with composition studies because both seek similar ends, most notably, liberation from traditional discourse. Fulkerson also discusses expressivism, a methodological way in which writing is moving away from the traditional. Expressivism gives the writer in any field a large amount of room to respond to topics they feel passionate about through freewriting and journaling, and to seeks to “‘foster [. . .] aesthetic, cognitive, and moral development,’ not to improve written communication or encourage critical thinking” (Fulkerson 667). The composition studies community appears to be torn between adopting the newer methodologies or sticking with the traditional, process-driven methodologies, and Fulkerson ultimately concludes that opinions differ, and there is no way of proving one methodology to be superior over another.

I didn’t expect these two articles to tie together but, interestingly enough, they do. In their article, “On Student’s Rights to their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response,” Brannon and Knoblauch present a compelling argument detailing a new way for teachers to respond to student writers, which would certainly not be considered a traditional methodology. The writers make a case for why teachers should approach students’ writing with as much respect as they would approach the thoughts of any other author. To understand this argument, the reader is asked to consider the examples of a textbook, or a newspaper article. Brannon and Knoblauch argue that, when reading these mediums, we tend to automatically assume that the writer has done his research and that he is educated on the topic he is covering. And, even if this proves to not be true, we still give the writer the benefit of the doubt and assume that the lapse in quality was a moment of weakness. However, when it comes to students, the assumption automatically tends to be that “the student [has] not yet earned the authority that ordinarily compels readers to listen seriously to what writers have to say.” (Brannon 3). Regardless of whether or not this proves to be true, the automatic assumption of students inferior intellectual status is demeaning, and may lead them to care less about their assignments, going on the assumption that their work will be grammatically picked to pieces and the reliability of it will be questioned. Brannon and Knoblauch do not set out to argue that student texts are authoritative, however they do encourage teachers to move away from their concept from the “Ideal Text.” Instead, they recommend focusing on conferencing with students and working with them to communicate their ideas in a more effective way. By doing this, the hope is that students may learn to better explain themselves and feel that their writing is being graded on quality of argument, rather than an arbitrary “Ideal” standard.

I found Fulkerson’s article to be loaded to overflowing with heavy theoretical talking points and references, and had to read through it several times to ensure that I understood what he was trying to convey. He attempted to fit many different points into one paper which got confusing and was often hard to tie the arguments back into the thesis. The paper mainly served as an analysis of the newer methodologies in comparison to already established tradition and, while excellent points were expounded on, Fulkerson ended the paper with an ambiguous summation of both: “composition studies is in for a bumpy ride” (681). So it would seem. That all being said, I did enjoy the walk-through of the history of composition studies, as well as the introduction to expressivism, and I look forward to a discussion of its merits and faults, standing against the established tradition.

On the other hand, I enjoyed Brannon and Knoblauch’s article immensely because I thought it raised very valid points regarding how teachers respond to student writing. In one of the footnotes, the writers make a comparison to reader-response criticism, a mode of literary criticism with which I am familiar. Reader-response focuses a great deal on the authority of the writer within the context of their writing, and I think this is very interesting to apply to students’ work. I thought the case example of John’s written response to the Lindbergh baby prompt was an excellent way of illustrating this point. I think that, while this article offers wonderful theoretical advice, it might be problematic in execution because teachers have such limited time with students. For this reason, I feel that the teacher taking this advice into practice might have to adapt it to fit his or her own classroom. That being said, I still feel that the awareness promoted in this essay is crucial, and could change a student’s response to a writing assignment.
 




Questions:
#1. Do you think that Critical/Cultural Studies(CCS) classes are effective ways of teaching writing to students? Why, or why not?
#2. Discuss the differences between the dominant tradition of composition and current cultural studies/expressivism/CCS.
#3. Do you think that Brannon and Knoblauch’s model is realistically possible to apply in a traditional classroom setting? And if not overall, how could certain elements be utilized?

Student Ownership of Writing

On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response
By Brannon and Knoblauch

This article begins by making the connection between professional and student writers, claiming that “The incentive to write derives from an assumption that people will listen respectfully and either assent to or earnestly consider the ideas expressed” (158). The authors claim that people will stay with a more intricate text, deciding that the text is difficult for them and become frustrated with the writer. The text claims that this “connection between a writer’s authority and quality of a reader’s attention is altered because of the peculiar relationship between teacher and student” (158). As a teacher of writing, I immediately got my guard up. I was weary of what direction this article was going to take.
The article continues to discuss how teachers are too quick to “correct” the ideas of a student and are less concerned with what the writer was trying to say. The article believes that the writing becomes more about the reader then and less about the writer’s message. I agree and disagree with this idea. I agree with this idea because we want our writers to see that the teacher isn’t their sole audience. We want them to think about the bigger picture and decide on their own who they are speaking to and what message they want to get across. I also agree with the idea that teachers tend to revise or correct papers to fit their ideas and care less about the students’. Sometimes we can attempt to force our students into a confined space where they need to produce what we expect. It is a fine line between completing an assignment and expressing ideas. This idea may work for college students, but my sixth graders are not capable of viewing their audience as anyone other than their teacher. In order to think in the bigger picture, you must learn the structure first.  It also brought into question the idea of grading. We live in a world where we have to grade students on their work and justify our grades to their ever demanding parents; therefore, we have a curriculum to follow. How do we assess students if it is all about what they want to produce? There has to be a compromise.
After reading some of my colleagues blogs, I was pleased to see that I had the same reaction as Sara. I was a bit offended by the articles assumption that we do not give student options. As a Language Arts teacher, we are encouraged, and evaluated on, our availability of student choice in our classroom. Students may have to produce the same type of content, but they are given options on what they want to produce and how they want to get there. My job is to coach them within the realm of the assignment, but to encourage them to find creative ways to do so.

Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
By Richard Fulkerson

Fulkerson’s article was a bit difficult for me to read. I found that I was getting lost in the translation of vocabulary and had to constantly reread sections of the text to create meaning. I found that this article pertained to college composition, which was maybe one reason I struggled to relate. I appreciate the theoretical lens Fulkerson used to express the shift in composition studies into different disciplines; however, I felt that it was drawn out and over explained. The article poses interesting questions about what is good writing and why are we teaching it? The article discusses how there is a different answer to these questions depending on your profession: teacher, dean, parent, and ultimately it’s the students who suffer from our lack of a coherent answer.
I did enjoy when Fulkerson discussed the Critical/Cultural Studies discipline being about liberation for a writer to develop tools to help them challenge cultural inequalities and to question their role in society. As a Language Arts teacher, I strive to expose my students to texts and variety of ideas that help them question the world we live in. However, this raised the idea of working across disciplines, with the social studies and science teachers, to expose our students to writing to make sense of the world in other classes as well. The article brings up this point and states that this work and this writing does not need to occur in solely the English Department, but history and sociology departments as well. I believe it is important for students to view writing as something they do outside of an English course, which most do not. Upon talking to my friend about his experience with writing in college, outside of his freshman English class, he took one other writing course, in technical writing for engineering majors, which he found beyond practical for his career. I think it is important for students of all ages to see writing through different lenses and through different disciplines, but all are important.


Student Ownership of Writing

On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response
By Brannon and Knoblauch

This article begins by making the connection between professional and student writers, claiming that “The incentive to write derives from an assumption that people will listen respectfully and either assent to or earnestly consider the ideas expressed” (158). The authors claim that people will stay with a more intricate text, deciding that the text is difficult for them and become frustrated with the writer. The text claims that this “connection between a writer’s authority and quality of a reader’s attention is altered because of the peculiar relationship between teacher and student” (158). As a teacher of writing, I immediately got my guard up. I was weary of what direction this article was going to take.
The article continues to discuss how teachers are too quick to “correct” the ideas of a student and are less concerned with what the writer was trying to say. The article believes that the writing becomes more about the reader then and less about the writer’s message. I agree and disagree with this idea. I agree with this idea because we want our writers to see that the teacher isn’t their sole audience. We want them to think about the bigger picture and decide on their own who they are speaking to and what message they want to get across. I also agree with the idea that teachers tend to revise or correct papers to fit their ideas and care less about the students’. Sometimes we can attempt to force our students into a confined space where they need to produce what we expect. It is a fine line between completing an assignment and expressing ideas. This idea may work for college students, but my sixth graders are not capable of viewing their audience as anyone other than their teacher. In order to think in the bigger picture, you must learn the structure first.  It also brought into question the idea of grading. We live in a world where we have to grade students on their work and justify our grades to their ever demanding parents; therefore, we have a curriculum to follow. How do we assess students if it is all about what they want to produce? There has to be a compromise.
After reading some of my colleagues blogs, I was pleased to see that I had the same reaction as Sara. I was a bit offended by the articles assumption that we do not give student options. As a Language Arts teacher, we are encouraged, and evaluated on, our availability of student choice in our classroom. Students may have to produce the same type of content, but they are given options on what they want to produce and how they want to get there. My job is to coach them within the realm of the assignment, but to encourage them to find creative ways to do so.

Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century
By Richard Fulkerson

Fulkerson’s article was a bit difficult for me to read. I found that I was getting lost in the translation of vocabulary and had to constantly reread sections of the text to create meaning. I found that this article pertained to college composition, which was maybe one reason I struggled to relate. I appreciate the theoretical lens Fulkerson used to express the shift in composition studies into different disciplines; however, I felt that it was drawn out and over explained. The article poses interesting questions about what is good writing and why are we teaching it? The article discusses how there is a different answer to these questions depending on your profession: teacher, dean, parent, and ultimately it’s the students who suffer from our lack of a coherent answer.
I did enjoy when Fulkerson discussed the Critical/Cultural Studies discipline being about liberation for a writer to develop tools to help them challenge cultural inequalities and to question their role in society. As a Language Arts teacher, I strive to expose my students to texts and variety of ideas that help them question the world we live in. However, this raised the idea of working across disciplines, with the social studies and science teachers, to expose our students to writing to make sense of the world in other classes as well. The article brings up this point and states that this work and this writing does not need to occur in solely the English Department, but history and sociology departments as well. I believe it is important for students to view writing as something they do outside of an English course, which most do not. Upon talking to my friend about his experience with writing in college, outside of his freshman English class, he took one other writing course, in technical writing for engineering majors, which he found beyond practical for his career. I think it is important for students of all ages to see writing through different lenses and through different disciplines, but all are important.