New Applications of Composition Studies– Blog #6

A great deal of American everyday life is based, as least in part, on the knowledge that our country has long been known as "The Melting Pot." This nickname exists because of all the cultures that have shaped (and are still shaping) America, a country inclusive of people of all colors, creeds, languages, and cultures. However, the Melting Pot can run into issues when all of these different cultures come together and struggle to communicate, due to the differences in language. For this reason, a key issue in the field of Composition Studies is the issue of teaching writing to people who speak languages other than English.  

“Teaching Composition in the Multilingual World” by Paul Kei Matsuda discusses the challenges (and importance) of teaching writing to people of different cultures. One of the biggest challenges that Matsuda addresses is the issue of how long it takes to learn the intricacies of a language that isn't your own, and this has a huge effect on how long it will take a student to be able to communicate effectively. Matsuda says that it is entirely possible for a non-native speaker to learn to communicate effectively, but it is a struggle because he is learning writing (which is already considered a language native to no one) in a language that does not come naturally to him. However, a point that I found to be quite interesting was where Matsuda says that, in the long run, knowing more than one language can make a student's composition skills stronger because he or she has the ability to work with "a broader range of linguistic and discursive resources" (40). This is to say, if a person wants to learn, (he or she) can achieve anything that he sets his mind to.

To address the point that learning a new language takes a lot of time, this is true, and a potential way to solve this issue is through providing ESL writing classes in schools, when children are at their most teachable. However, Matsuda also makes note that ESL has not been widely embraced by people who work in writing centers and, by lacking this ability, they are not serving the community in the best way possible. In failing to serve, school communities are losing valuable assets, according to Matsuda, because "second language learners may have expanded their intellectual capacity as a result of the constant demand of working with a broader range of linguistic and discursive resources" (5). In this day and age, ESL is no longer just a job for specialists, and teachers should be aware of how to help students who might have talent, but are limited because of language. Matsuda tosses around a few different ideas for the best ways of integrating non-native English speakers into the world of English composition, and I look forward to discussing this further in class. Composition Studies is certainly a field that should be internationally shared and recognized, because writing is important for everyone, regardless of language and if we need to do this by going out and learning about different cultures, then I say we go right ahead!

-

The second article we will be looking at in this class is "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts," by Will Richardson and this title reminds me very much of the discussions we had in New Media Studies regarding writing in the digital age. It is very obvious that our interests have shifted, and people share their news and opinions in public forums such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Although these sites tend to be more personal hosts for individuals, outlets such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts offer a new way of listening to and retaining information. The digital age offers more reach than has ever been seen before, especially in the recent past when stories and videos have become viral and spread all over the internet. 

It blows my mind that, according to Richardson, as of 2006, there was almost 26 million blogs. That was ten years ago! If this was the case ten years ago, I can't even begin to comprehend the numbers now. Access to the web has changed what it means to be both a reader and a writer, and one field that Richardson notes in particular is the field of journalism. The internet has provided a huge reach for people, and news can be shared and seen faster than the speed of light. If you need information to be communicated, you no longer have to wait for television or the next day's paper, all you need to do is post online. The internet has also put power in the hands on individuals who might not have it otherwise. For better or worse, anyone can be a reporter nowadays and, while this can be risky in terms of quality control, I think it's amazing that the average person has this option. 

One of the biggest issues of the digital age, however, is how it will impact the student/teacher dynamic. After all, the student is the "digital native." How is a teacher who did not grow up with the internet supposed to establish control over a student who has known how to navigate the web, almost like a second language?

We discussed this extensively in New Media Studies, but the topic never grows old because there are so many different ways of approaching the issue, and Richardson suggests that, even given the hardships, technology can be a major tool in the hands of the teacher. Yes, there are issues, most notably, safety, but the internet is too important of a development to be avoided. If students can be taught to navigate safely, there is no reason for them not to make use of this incredible resource. 
The topic of safety brings to mind a past issue that was found with the sharing of information publicly. The Greek philosopher Socrates did not like the idea of writing down and preserving information, I believe, because he felt that the power was in memory, and that recording information would make people lazy. In Phaedrus, written about 370 B.C. he said 
"He who thinks, then, that he has left behind him any art in writing, and he who receives it in the belief that anything in writing will be clear and certain, would be an utterly simple person, and in truth ignorant of the prophecy of Ammon, if he thinks written words are of any use except to remind him who knows the matter about which they are written."
He goes on, but I think you get the point. I bring this up for the purpose of mentioning that people, no matter how intelligent, are always resistant to change and new technologies. The internet is far too big an asset to be discarded in favor of avoidable risks.  The online world, as Richardson notes, has opened us up to so many opportunities, such as shared/collaborative knowledge, open access to any topic, fewer limitations than pen and paper, and the concept of knowledge as a process. It's going to take time to master, but I think it's certainly worth the risks. 

New Applications of Composition Studies– Blog #6

A great deal of American everyday life is based, as least in part, on the knowledge that our country has long been known as "The Melting Pot." This nickname exists because of all the cultures that have shaped (and are still shaping) America, a country inclusive of people of all colors, creeds, languages, and cultures. However, the Melting Pot can run into issues when all of these different cultures come together and struggle to communicate, due to the differences in language. For this reason, a key issue in the field of Composition Studies is the issue of teaching writing to people who speak languages other than English.  

“Teaching Composition in the Multilingual World” by Paul Kei Matsuda discusses the challenges (and importance) of teaching writing to people of different cultures. One of the biggest challenges that Matsuda addresses is the issue of how long it takes to learn the intricacies of a language that isn't your own, and this has a huge effect on how long it will take a student to be able to communicate effectively. Matsuda says that it is entirely possible for a non-native speaker to learn to communicate effectively, but it is a struggle because he is learning writing (which is already considered a language native to no one) in a language that does not come naturally to him. However, a point that I found to be quite interesting was where Matsuda says that, in the long run, knowing more than one language can make a student's composition skills stronger because he or she has the ability to work with "a broader range of linguistic and discursive resources" (40). This is to say, if a person wants to learn, (he or she) can achieve anything that he sets his mind to.

To address the point that learning a new language takes a lot of time, this is true, and a potential way to solve this issue is through providing ESL writing classes in schools, when children are at their most teachable. However, Matsuda also makes note that ESL has not been widely embraced by people who work in writing centers and, by lacking this ability, they are not serving the community in the best way possible. In failing to serve, school communities are losing valuable assets, according to Matsuda, because "second language learners may have expanded their intellectual capacity as a result of the constant demand of working with a broader range of linguistic and discursive resources" (5). In this day and age, ESL is no longer just a job for specialists, and teachers should be aware of how to help students who might have talent, but are limited because of language. Matsuda tosses around a few different ideas for the best ways of integrating non-native English speakers into the world of English composition, and I look forward to discussing this further in class. Composition Studies is certainly a field that should be internationally shared and recognized, because writing is important for everyone, regardless of language and if we need to do this by going out and learning about different cultures, then I say we go right ahead!

-

The second article we will be looking at in this class is "Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts," by Will Richardson and this title reminds me very much of the discussions we had in New Media Studies regarding writing in the digital age. It is very obvious that our interests have shifted, and people share their news and opinions in public forums such as Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. Although these sites tend to be more personal hosts for individuals, outlets such as blogs, wikis, and podcasts offer a new way of listening to and retaining information. The digital age offers more reach than has ever been seen before, especially in the recent past when stories and videos have become viral and spread all over the internet. 

It blows my mind that, according to Richardson, as of 2006, there was almost 26 million blogs. That was ten years ago! If this was the case ten years ago, I can't even begin to comprehend the numbers now. Access to the web has changed what it means to be both a reader and a writer, and one field that Richardson notes in particular is the field of journalism. The internet has provided a huge reach for people, and news can be shared and seen faster than the speed of light. If you need information to be communicated, you no longer have to wait for television or the next day's paper, all you need to do is post online. The internet has also put power in the hands on individuals who might not have it otherwise. For better or worse, anyone can be a reporter nowadays and, while this can be risky in terms of quality control, I think it's amazing that the average person has this option. 

One of the biggest issues of the digital age, however, is how it will impact the student/teacher dynamic. After all, the student is the "digital native." How is a teacher who did not grow up with the internet supposed to establish control over a student who has known how to navigate the web, almost like a second language?

We discussed this extensively in New Media Studies, but the topic never grows old because there are so many different ways of approaching the issue, and Richardson suggests that, even given the hardships, technology can be a major tool in the hands of the teacher. Yes, there are issues, most notably, safety, but the internet is too important of a development to be avoided. If students can be taught to navigate safely, there is no reason for them not to make use of this incredible resource. 
The topic of safety brings to mind a past issue that was found with the sharing of information publicly. The Greek philosopher Socrates did not like the idea of writing down and preserving information, I believe, because he felt that the power was in memory, and that recording information would make people lazy. In Phaedrus, written about 370 B.C. he said 
"He who thinks, then, that he has left behind him any art in writing, and he who receives it in the belief that anything in writing will be clear and certain, would be an utterly simple person, and in truth ignorant of the prophecy of Ammon, if he thinks written words are of any use except to remind him who knows the matter about which they are written."
He goes on, but I think you get the point. I bring this up for the purpose of mentioning that people, no matter how intelligent, are always resistant to change and new technologies. The internet is far too big an asset to be discarded in favor of avoidable risks.  The online world, as Richardson notes, has opened us up to so many opportunities, such as shared/collaborative knowledge, open access to any topic, fewer limitations than pen and paper, and the concept of knowledge as a process. It's going to take time to master, but I think it's certainly worth the risks. 

Blog 5: Commenting on Responding to Student Writing & Voice in Writing

Commenting on Responding to Student Writing & Voice in Writing
By Andaiye Hall

My biggest beef with PeterElbow was his choice to not chose one side or the other. He made me into his article until he tried to take a neutral stance in the arrogant on voice is important I'm on the pro-voice side. I liked when he said "Voice is an important dimension of texts and we should pay lots of attention to it. Everyone has a real voice and can write with power. Writing with a strong voice is good writing. Sincere writing is good writing. My voice is my true self and my rhetorical power. The goal of teaching writing is to develop the self." (168)

When Elbow summarized the skeptics I completely disagreed with the statement "we do not write, we are written by our culture." (168) I may be influenced by my culture but I am an individual person with my own beliefs and way of thinking. My culture doesn't define me and what I write. I never knew there was so much debate over voice until I read this article.

When Elbows quoted one of Jane Danielewicz students and their comment in response to her I was completely rooting for the student. They said "I turned down your suggestion for revising just because I thought it took away some of my personal voice in some places." (170) I think the student was not being rude but in fact correct and very justified. Some teachers may find the student's comment rude but I personally agree with the student. Sometimes after making revisions your original voice gets lost and your original plan gets lost with that.

When I was reading I thought about how voice is what gets people who plagiarize caught. Teachers and professors are often quick to recognize the consulted authors's voice or even just sense that this is not the students voice. It's something so magical when you think about it. Just by looking at word's on a page you can get a sense of who wrote it and you can tell a lot about the author.

In Sommer's article, I got a sense of understanding the teacher's situation in commenting on papers. They really don't have much time. As a young student I don't think I've considered that teachers have alot on their plate and that's the cause for comments that don't have much meat to them and instead sometimes hurt feelings and leave students confused. The question is what are we going to do about it?

Blog 5: Commenting on Responding to Student Writing & Voice in Writing

Commenting on Responding to Student Writing & Voice in Writing
By Andaiye Hall

My biggest beef with PeterElbow was his choice to not chose one side or the other. He made me into his article until he tried to take a neutral stance in the arrogant on voice is important I'm on the pro-voice side. I liked when he said "Voice is an important dimension of texts and we should pay lots of attention to it. Everyone has a real voice and can write with power. Writing with a strong voice is good writing. Sincere writing is good writing. My voice is my true self and my rhetorical power. The goal of teaching writing is to develop the self." (168)

When Elbow summarized the skeptics I completely disagreed with the statement "we do not write, we are written by our culture." (168) I may be influenced by my culture but I am an individual person with my own beliefs and way of thinking. My culture doesn't define me and what I write. I never knew there was so much debate over voice until I read this article.

When Elbows quoted one of Jane Danielewicz students and their comment in response to her I was completely rooting for the student. They said "I turned down your suggestion for revising just because I thought it took away some of my personal voice in some places." (170) I think the student was not being rude but in fact correct and very justified. Some teachers may find the student's comment rude but I personally agree with the student. Sometimes after making revisions your original voice gets lost and your original plan gets lost with that.

When I was reading I thought about how voice is what gets people who plagiarize caught. Teachers and professors are often quick to recognize the consulted authors's voice or even just sense that this is not the students voice. It's something so magical when you think about it. Just by looking at word's on a page you can get a sense of who wrote it and you can tell a lot about the author.

In Sommer's article, I got a sense of understanding the teacher's situation in commenting on papers. They really don't have much time. As a young student I don't think I've considered that teachers have alot on their plate and that's the cause for comments that don't have much meat to them and instead sometimes hurt feelings and leave students confused. The question is what are we going to do about it?

Our Changing Society

Colleagues,

I am excited to be your discussion leader this week as we engage in two new topics of conversation, technology and diversity in the classroom. We will analyze the following two readings, both of which argue in favor of education reform:

- “Teaching Writing in the Multilingual World” by Paul Kei Matsuda
- “Blogs, Wikis, Podcastsby Will Richardson


Also, please bring with you a fully charged laptop and earbuds because we will be using Nearpod to engage in this week's readings.

Finally, please take a minute to read my analysis of our increasingly technological savvy, diverse society.




Our Changing Society

Colleagues,

I am excited to be your discussion leader this week as we engage in two new topics of conversation, technology and diversity in the classroom. We will analyze the following two readings, both of which argue in favor of education reform:

- “Teaching Writing in the Multilingual World” by Paul Kei Matsuda
- “Blogs, Wikis, Podcastsby Will Richardson


Also, please bring with you a fully charged laptop and earbuds because we will be using Nearpod to engage in this week's readings.

Finally, please take a minute to read my analysis of our increasingly technological savvy, diverse society.




More on responding to student writing, & the concept of voice…

Unknown-1So November is upon us.  I hope all of you enjoyed the holiday last week.

Thanks Richonda for a thorough presentation of both Sommer’s article on “Responding to Student Writing”, and also Elbow’s piece on “Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries”.  It seems we have covered the well trodden ground of the challenge of responding to student writing with many of our class readings thus far, and yet, as Richonda aptly pointed out, there isn’t a crystal clear pathway to ensure an overall improved strategy.  One thing is clear though – that a lack of professional development or training in this area is widespread, and it is certainly an area in which teachers need further focused support (at all levels of education – from elementary school to higher education).  When more and more teachers are given the chance to consider (and workshop) new strategies for responding to student writing, I believe we will also see a shift in the way students respond to writing instruction in general.  The response from a teacher is a key determinant of how many student’s develop their overall disposition regarding writing.   UnknownIn addition to Sommer’s work, we also spoke about the concept of “voice” thanks to Elbow’s article.  We thought together about the fine tuning of the “voice” as writers develop.  “Voice” is framed by Elbow more as a rhetorical tool – a writing skill that needs to be considered (applied or withheld) depending on writing context.  We also spoke of the effectiveness of “read-aloud” when learning how to edit/revise writing.

For 11/7:

We are moving on to some new topics thanks to Sara’s selection of the next two readings: “Teaching Writing in the Multilingual World” by Paul Kei Matsuda and “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts“.  Please read both texts and blog your response for next class.

We were also able to create a timeline for your final group project, so please check the course calendar to refer to the draft deadlines.  Please take note that a rough draft of your individual “Why I Write” piece is now due on November 14th, in order to be able to have time for peer review and editing before final submission at the close of the semester.  In the second half of class on 11/7 you will have time to work on your “Why I Write” drafts, and I am available for one-on-one consultation regarding your ongoing work and progress with that part of your course contribution.

I look forward to seeing you all soon.  (It seems like it has been a long time ;)….

Dr. Zamora