The homestretch & #DigiWriMo / #WhyIWrite Twitterchat (12/6, 6-7pm ET)!

3a3ff37It was wonderful to have such a rich post-Thanksgiving discussion during class this week. Thanks Katherine for walking us through the question of research and writing, as well as the paradox of the formulaic paper with “Why the Research Paper is Not Working“ by Fister, and “The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (and Why We Need to Resist)” by Wiley.  It seems that the academic research paper has inadvertently contributed to thwarting authentic student inquiry.  Young researchers have heard the mandate to emphasize precedent scholarship over their own intellectual curiosity.  But the best research is a beautiful weave of both – a kind of dialogue between the writer who contributes new knowledge to a conversation by considering the preceding arguments that have directed the field of inquiry thus far.  Students seem daunted by such a task, and their tangible fear of mistakes in this context is a clear result of a methodical emphasis on formal citation.  On the other hand, a culture of attribution is a key aspect of intellectual integrity, and the fair attribution of ideas somehow seems lost on many a young student (despite their research anxiety in the academic context).  We discussed a kind of spectrum: intellectual curiosity verses intellectual integrity – and we considered the ways some research paper processes have situated students (problematically) along this fault line of concerns.

Regarding our discussion of formulaic writing, we acknowledged the significant limitations of approaching writing via a step by step protocol.  But we also acknowledged that some young writers really need set of instructions to refer to. The analogy of training wheels seems apt here.  Many felt that as long as there was a moUnknownment where the formula could be overcome (i.e. the training wheels are no longer needed), then the emergence of a more authentic writer might have a chance to blossom.  But the key question (asked early on by Stephanie) is:  When do we really know when the proverbial “training wheels” (formulaic writing) can be removed?  And how can we manage this transitional moment in a classroom context (i.e. each writer needs their “training wheels” removed at different times in a developmental spectrum)?  These are significant challenges for classroom writing instruction.

What is up for next week:

Our last seminar-style presentation for the class will be by Hope.   She will cover a video (with resources) called “Writing as Making/Making as Writing by Connected Learning TV“.  She will also discuss the article “Writing Assessment in the Early 21st Century” by K. B Yancey.  Please read/view and blog on this material for next class.   

In the second half of class we will conduct our #DigiWriMo & #WhyIWrite twitter chat:


We have prepared our questions for our twitter chat, and we will use tweetchat in order to manage our conversation.  This tool makes it easier to follow the our tweet stream and it automatically adds the #digiwrimo & #whyiwrite hashtag onto each of your tweets.  I look forward to our open, networked discussion on writing in the digital age!

Update on the final project:

Your final project is nearly finished!!  This week you should all be sure to post your final edited material in the project website.  The information you need in order to accomplish this is in  the shared folder pertaining to the collaborative #whyiwrite project.  Each of you has a partner who you should be checking in with, in order to make sure you both have successfully posted your material into the site (you can help each other in this task during class next week if needed).  The only outstanding item not yet completed for the final project website is the “ABOUT” page – a short description of what the project is, and in what context it has been produced.  It seems we will have to do this together on our final class party evening (12/6).

Our final class party will be on 12/6 and it will be a potluck dinner.  I have started a google doc here so we can sign up for what we plan to bring (food-wise) – that way, we can get a sense of what might be on the menu.

We are on the homestretch guys!

Hang in there,

Dr. Zamora

 

Researching Headaches and Quick Fix Mistakes

Why the “Research Paper” Isn’t Working
By Barbara Fister
I enjoyed the article by Fister. Fister begins by discussing her return from the 4Cs and makes the statement that composition teachers and librarians are trying to instill skills students will need after college, however she questions if we are simply trying to “get them through college”. She also references the severity of correct citations, asking:  “Is the whole point to get students to confess what they don’t know?” (Fister) This part particularly got me thinking about other articles we read this semester regarding students catering to the teacher. How when the teacher asks questions, it’s for the student to answer accordingly based off of the teacher’s preconceived idea of what the answer should be.
She also discusses how the research paper is supposed to original and creative, yet students need research and other people to back up their ideas as evidence. As a middle school teacher, we require our students to write a Thesis Research paper as a culmination of their middle school experience. I also find that I struggle with pulling out the creativity in student’s writing. They are so concerned about plagiarizing, that they cite everything. I also find that they take the lazy approach and use the evidence as their ideas. They almost forget that they need ideas of their own and the evidence only supports that. Fister also states, “The other and, sadly, more frequent reference desk winch-making moment involves a student needing help finding sources for a paper he’s already written” (Fister). This is another problem I encounter with my students. They do not see the value in using evidence to form their opinions, they only view it as a criteria to include in their paper. I also agree with her sentiment that clearly what we have been doing has not been working. It’s time for a change to figure out what that change should be. Can we get our students these skills in a more meaningful way?
The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (And Why We Need to Resist)
By: Mark Wiley
Wily begins by stating that he discuss, with high school teachers, what colleges expect of writers and states, “While I enjoy these conversations, I am disturbed that too many teachers are looking for quick fixes for students’ writing problems.” I find this to be ironic since he then launches into an explanation of the Jane Schaffer approach to writing, which is formulaic and appears to be a “quick fix” if I’ve ever seen one. Shaffer’s approach also appears to be one in which the students are dependent on the evidence. Even though she discusses commenting on the evidence, it sounds as if the students are just required to explain it, rather than be creative. While I disagree with the formulaic approach presented here, I understand that it is not the ONLY strategy and that there are others to be explored. I also agree that as a teacher, it is enticing to have a set of materials at the ready to use to teach writing.

I also agree that structure is important. I cannot remember writing classes I took in undergrad, so I cannot draw on my experience writing papers there. However, I can relate to how I teach in the middle school. As much as I rebelled against Shaffer’s approach, I do believe that students, in the early grades, need to learn structure in order to gain the liberty to deviate from it. We use a formula called RACE in order to structure each body paragraph. The students must restate their idea in support of their claim, “answer” a.k.a. Explain your ideas, cite evidence to support your ideas, and elaborate on how your evidence proves your idea. I find that this structure allows students the opportunity to express their ideas and then use evidence. However, I still find that students focus too much and just supplying evidence to have it for their grade rather than using it correctly.  This ties into Fister’s ideas about finding other methods to incorporate structure into our writing classrooms.

Researching Headaches and Quick Fix Mistakes

Why the “Research Paper” Isn’t Working
By Barbara Fister
I enjoyed the article by Fister. Fister begins by discussing her return from the 4Cs and makes the statement that composition teachers and librarians are trying to instill skills students will need after college, however she questions if we are simply trying to “get them through college”. She also references the severity of correct citations, asking:  “Is the whole point to get students to confess what they don’t know?” (Fister) This part particularly got me thinking about other articles we read this semester regarding students catering to the teacher. How when the teacher asks questions, it’s for the student to answer accordingly based off of the teacher’s preconceived idea of what the answer should be.
She also discusses how the research paper is supposed to original and creative, yet students need research and other people to back up their ideas as evidence. As a middle school teacher, we require our students to write a Thesis Research paper as a culmination of their middle school experience. I also find that I struggle with pulling out the creativity in student’s writing. They are so concerned about plagiarizing, that they cite everything. I also find that they take the lazy approach and use the evidence as their ideas. They almost forget that they need ideas of their own and the evidence only supports that. Fister also states, “The other and, sadly, more frequent reference desk winch-making moment involves a student needing help finding sources for a paper he’s already written” (Fister). This is another problem I encounter with my students. They do not see the value in using evidence to form their opinions, they only view it as a criteria to include in their paper. I also agree with her sentiment that clearly what we have been doing has not been working. It’s time for a change to figure out what that change should be. Can we get our students these skills in a more meaningful way?
The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (And Why We Need to Resist)
By: Mark Wiley
Wily begins by stating that he discuss, with high school teachers, what colleges expect of writers and states, “While I enjoy these conversations, I am disturbed that too many teachers are looking for quick fixes for students’ writing problems.” I find this to be ironic since he then launches into an explanation of the Jane Schaffer approach to writing, which is formulaic and appears to be a “quick fix” if I’ve ever seen one. Shaffer’s approach also appears to be one in which the students are dependent on the evidence. Even though she discusses commenting on the evidence, it sounds as if the students are just required to explain it, rather than be creative. While I disagree with the formulaic approach presented here, I understand that it is not the ONLY strategy and that there are others to be explored. I also agree that as a teacher, it is enticing to have a set of materials at the ready to use to teach writing.

I also agree that structure is important. I cannot remember writing classes I took in undergrad, so I cannot draw on my experience writing papers there. However, I can relate to how I teach in the middle school. As much as I rebelled against Shaffer’s approach, I do believe that students, in the early grades, need to learn structure in order to gain the liberty to deviate from it. We use a formula called RACE in order to structure each body paragraph. The students must restate their idea in support of their claim, “answer” a.k.a. Explain your ideas, cite evidence to support your ideas, and elaborate on how your evidence proves your idea. I find that this structure allows students the opportunity to express their ideas and then use evidence. However, I still find that students focus too much and just supplying evidence to have it for their grade rather than using it correctly.  This ties into Fister’s ideas about finding other methods to incorporate structure into our writing classrooms.

Creating a New Environment 2016-11-28 21:25:00

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice

Group’s Project

Opening Statement;

My part of the group’s projects reveals how was inspired to level of self-awareness. It also allows me share my view on “Life”.

BIO;


I am currently working on venturing into the next chapter of my life.

I am interested in writing inspirational books for children.

My current goal in life is to earn a Master’s Degree sand become an educator.

Presently, I am enjoying my personal growth as I continue to be inspired.

IMAGE FOR YOUR PIECE….same

DRAFT URL FORM

COVER IMAGE…same

TITLT   Continuation of Self Growth

Learning Experience;
                                                  
                                                     ” Continuation of Self Growth”

When I began graduate school it was “the beginning of my end and the end of my beginning”, the end of me settling for mediocre and the beginning of me breaking glass ceiling. My educational learning experience this semester is acknowledging the needed continuation of my personal growth. I am continuing to increase my public speaking and writing skills. Surprisingly my technical skills have improved also. I have created my personal blog, utilized google docs., and created and presented another power point. I have also witness the creation of the group’s email. Every class I learn a little bit more. I am continuing to learn how to think more differently and I have become more inspired. Upon my completion of the program, I am confidence that I will be well rounded. I am confident I will be prepared to become an educator. In one of my class sessions I volunteered to stand in front of the class, as an educator, and write suggestions of the board regarding the group’s project. It was awesome! I felt so surreal. It has inspired me to work harder to earn the position of an educator. I am feeling more comfortable in graduate school as I nervously register for yet another semester.

Formulaic Writing and the Research Paper

formualic

I thoroughly enjoyed the readings that Katherine has chosen for this week. I felt as though they worked so well together as a unit actually because I found myself referring to one article as I read the other. To begin, I would like to the address the article “Why the ‘Research Paper’ isn’t Working” by Barbara Fister. Her criticism of the research paper resonates so closely to my personal thoughts and opinions about the research paper and its uses. One of the most common criticisms of the research paper is that a student cannot be original, but yet it is looked for almost as a requirement in student writing. When one has a great amount of structure imposed upon them all of the time, they become dependent on it and are not able to release themselves from the box that is created. In addition, regarding the commentary given on citation, I feel there is indeed an immense pressure put onto students when it comes to citations and style, and the question of whether it is most important should be raised.

However, I do feel that how much emphasis is being put on citation at a particular stage in the writing process makes all the difference. If one does not wish to stifle student writers, as well as send them mixed messages about writing in general and what it is, then making sure other concerns are adhered to and locked in place first (before citation is a thought) is crucial to their growth as writers. I think that everything has its place, and while there are parts of writing that are absolutely imperative, there’s a time and a place where it should be addressed. Every situation and writing task will not call for impeccable citation as a high order concern, but it shouldn’t be ignored or pushed aside either.

Moving along, the second article “The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (And Why We Need to Resist) by Mark Wiley was very intriguing. Formulaic writing is an impediment for student writing in so many ways, but I can also see where the advantages are. Jane Schaffer’s Approach, I agree, would be magnificent to implement in ninth and tenth grades and then move beyond the approach by eleventh grade and on. However, if students aren’t making progress in terms of engaging with content and being able to express themselves then how is the Jane Schaffer method really effective? I felt as though Schaffer answered the issue of formulaic writing with a formulaic approach, which doesn’t make sense to me at all. What makes her approach different than the many traditionally influenced approaches that came before hers? The reason that made everyone want to use her approach because it would be “different” is contradictory and renders the approach useless.

While I have so much more to say about the topic, I feel this is a good area to stop and continue in class discussion. I will probably update this blog because it is a topic I found myself very passionate about, which i think has everything to do with my writing background and the my experience as a writing coach.

the problem with "research papers"

Composition 101, Researching and Writing, Expository Writing – whatever the class is called, there will always be freshmen coming to the writing center in a panic and asking consultants on how to help them to get “a good grade” on their paper for the class. These foundation classes are significant in building the student’s writing ability and to prepare them for more papers to come at university; however, it seems to do the exact opposite in terms of “authentically” improving a student’s writing abilities. I’m glad that Katherine chose to do these two articles, because I cannot stress enough how toxic formulaic writing is for students in composition classes – instead of promoting critical thinking skills, original ideas, and individualized voice in their paper, students cling to a pattern in academic writing that has preceded and is expected of them. These students are desperate to follow the formula, regurgitate ideas just to make their argument in a paper “safe,” stress out over every proper citation placement, and constantly ask writing center tutors, “Is this paper good? Does it follow the requirements? Do you think the professor will be ok with this?”

Students are poisoned with that idea of writing for a grade, and thus try their best to make their paper into a scientific puzzle- “Maybe if I move this sentence here, add a citation after this part, put a quote there, it’ll look like the sample paper our professor shared with us, and then I’ll be ok!” They are so concerned with getting through the class with no other reason than keeping their GPA up and just not failing, and consequently have no interest in writing for themselves. Like Barbara Fister says in her article, “Why the ‘Research Paper’ Isn’t Working,” students are too afraid to express their own ideas and make the paper their own because it won’t “fit” with what the professor wants, or even that there aren’t enough  “sources” to back a completely original argument. Students are concerned with replication, which is why having a standard “research paper” isn’t working. The concept needs to be reworked so that it encourages students to think on their own and tend to their own ideas, instead of doing incomplete, surface-level research just to support a quote for an argument they have no interest in.

Additionally, these standard research papers clash completely with the ideology of the writing center. The writing center works toward non-direct conversations that help the students think and encourage their individuality and confidence in their own writing and voice, as opposed to showing students directly how to “make their paper better.” That’s not what the writing center is about, and having those research papers seem to only promote that mentality of “do as I say,” instead of giving them more freedom to explore their voice. Academic foundation courses in writing need to rethink their methods in teaching, as it is dangerous to the students; ultimately, they will keep repeating this behavior of formulaic writing in their other classes. That habit, consequently, is detrimental to their own learning, and definitely does not help prepare them for their other classes at university that will require original research, original thought, and original voice.

the problem with "research papers"

Composition 101, Researching and Writing, Expository Writing – whatever the class is called, there will always be freshmen coming to the writing center in a panic and asking consultants on how to help them to get “a good grade” on their paper for the class. These foundation classes are significant in building the student’s writing ability and to prepare them for more papers to come at university; however, it seems to do the exact opposite in terms of “authentically” improving a student’s writing abilities. I’m glad that Katherine chose to do these two articles, because I cannot stress enough how toxic formulaic writing is for students in composition classes – instead of promoting critical thinking skills, original ideas, and individualized voice in their paper, students cling to a pattern in academic writing that has preceded and is expected of them. These students are desperate to follow the formula, regurgitate ideas just to make their argument in a paper “safe,” stress out over every proper citation placement, and constantly ask writing center tutors, “Is this paper good? Does it follow the requirements? Do you think the professor will be ok with this?”

Students are poisoned with that idea of writing for a grade, and thus try their best to make their paper into a scientific puzzle- “Maybe if I move this sentence here, add a citation after this part, put a quote there, it’ll look like the sample paper our professor shared with us, and then I’ll be ok!” They are so concerned with getting through the class with no other reason than keeping their GPA up and just not failing, and consequently have no interest in writing for themselves. Like Barbara Fister says in her article, “Why the ‘Research Paper’ Isn’t Working,” students are too afraid to express their own ideas and make the paper their own because it won’t “fit” with what the professor wants, or even that there aren’t enough  “sources” to back a completely original argument. Students are concerned with replication, which is why having a standard “research paper” isn’t working. The concept needs to be reworked so that it encourages students to think on their own and tend to their own ideas, instead of doing incomplete, surface-level research just to support a quote for an argument they have no interest in.

Additionally, these standard research papers clash completely with the ideology of the writing center. The writing center works toward non-direct conversations that help the students think and encourage their individuality and confidence in their own writing and voice, as opposed to showing students directly how to “make their paper better.” That’s not what the writing center is about, and having those research papers seem to only promote that mentality of “do as I say,” instead of giving them more freedom to explore their voice. Academic foundation courses in writing need to rethink their methods in teaching, as it is dangerous to the students; ultimately, they will keep repeating this behavior of formulaic writing in their other classes. That habit, consequently, is detrimental to their own learning, and definitely does not help prepare them for their other classes at university that will require original research, original thought, and original voice.

Creating a New Environment 2016-11-28 18:37:00

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice

Blog 9

                                    

 

                                                    “Proof of Authentic”

         Does researching inspires the use of the library and encourage the reading of multiple books that students may not had read? If someone is being quoted of course the information has be cited. The authentic information must be presented and acknowledge the, but to what extent? Although the composition format may not be used after college it is hugely suggested when in College. I agree with Dan Berrett she write “There’s some value to reminding students about the authority on certain subjects that are not in a digital archive,” she said. “What we’ve forgotten is that libraries were the repositories where people made judicious claims about what sources are worth reading.” and quoting in class.

      Different processes and presentations will encourage more productivity. I am not an educator but I totally agree with Barbara Fister when he writes “If you want students to learn about a topic and be able to synthesize information effectively, fine – but don’t call it research. Turn it into a presentation, an informational brochure, or a Wikipedia article. If you want students to make an argument, start from something they know and care about, something that matters to them and about which they can hold an informed opinion. If you want them to read and understand scholarly material, focus on close reading and have the class jointly prepare an annotated edition. If you want them to write academic prose, wait until they know enough about the discipline to know what they’re talking about and how to ask a meaningful question about it” may increase the student’s engagement. Valid opinions verses silence and awkward questions in the classroom. She also shares “But if you want first year college students to understand what sources are for and why they matter, if you want them to develop curiosity and respect for evidence, your best bet is to start by tossing that generic research paper. As for those who will complain that students should have learned how to paraphrase and cite sources in their first semester – we’ve tried to do that for decades, and it hasn’t worked yet. Isn’t it time to try something else?” to encourage better writing skills.

       All formulas are beneficial for certain grade levels. I agree with Mark Wiley as he writes a response of a suborned teacher “Schaffer’s approach does remove the mystery for students about what their teachers expect in their essays. “ Unfortunately, she observed, the method also removes the need for these students to judge for themselves how to shape their essays. Although this teacher’s negative evaluation was in the minority, the majority of teachers did fear that their students might become too dependent on the format,” causing many writings to appear similar. Self-assessment and peer review is important when writing the first draft. A writer must be able to recognize some errors and except criticism. Mark argues “A familiar in of formulaic argument support writings that many struggling writers really need a simple format to follow so that they can achieve some immediate succession in their academic writing” there are some merits to this argument. Struggling writers need lots of carefully structured assignments, but repetitively following the same direction for writing every essay will not help these students advance beyond a kind of “successful” codependency on teachers who have agreed in advance that this sort of formulaic essay will be what they reward. These students are precisely the ones who most need to be challenge” to increase their writing skills.

Creating a New Environment 2016-11-28 18:37:00

Eng. 5020

Dr. Zamora

Writing Theory & Practice

Blog 9

                                    

 

                                                    “Proof of Authentic”

         Does researching inspires the use of the library and encourage the reading of multiple books that students may not had read? If someone is being quoted of course the information has be cited. The authentic information must be presented and acknowledge the, but to what extent? Although the composition format may not be used after college it is hugely suggested when in College. I agree with Dan Berrett she write “There’s some value to reminding students about the authority on certain subjects that are not in a digital archive,” she said. “What we’ve forgotten is that libraries were the repositories where people made judicious claims about what sources are worth reading.” and quoting in class.

      Different processes and presentations will encourage more productivity. I am not an educator but I totally agree with Barbara Fister when he writes “If you want students to learn about a topic and be able to synthesize information effectively, fine – but don’t call it research. Turn it into a presentation, an informational brochure, or a Wikipedia article. If you want students to make an argument, start from something they know and care about, something that matters to them and about which they can hold an informed opinion. If you want them to read and understand scholarly material, focus on close reading and have the class jointly prepare an annotated edition. If you want them to write academic prose, wait until they know enough about the discipline to know what they’re talking about and how to ask a meaningful question about it” may increase the student’s engagement. Valid opinions verses silence and awkward questions in the classroom. She also shares “But if you want first year college students to understand what sources are for and why they matter, if you want them to develop curiosity and respect for evidence, your best bet is to start by tossing that generic research paper. As for those who will complain that students should have learned how to paraphrase and cite sources in their first semester – we’ve tried to do that for decades, and it hasn’t worked yet. Isn’t it time to try something else?” to encourage better writing skills.

       All formulas are beneficial for certain grade levels. I agree with Mark Wiley as he writes a response of a suborned teacher “Schaffer’s approach does remove the mystery for students about what their teachers expect in their essays. “ Unfortunately, she observed, the method also removes the need for these students to judge for themselves how to shape their essays. Although this teacher’s negative evaluation was in the minority, the majority of teachers did fear that their students might become too dependent on the format,” causing many writings to appear similar. Self-assessment and peer review is important when writing the first draft. A writer must be able to recognize some errors and except criticism. Mark argues “A familiar in of formulaic argument support writings that many struggling writers really need a simple format to follow so that they can achieve some immediate succession in their academic writing” there are some merits to this argument. Struggling writers need lots of carefully structured assignments, but repetitively following the same direction for writing every essay will not help these students advance beyond a kind of “successful” codependency on teachers who have agreed in advance that this sort of formulaic essay will be what they reward. These students are precisely the ones who most need to be challenge” to increase their writing skills.