Of Theories and Strategies – Revision and Remix

I was a big fan of this week’s readings, especially of Sommers’ Revision Strategies… article which I chose to focus on most heavily. But first, of remixing, I was much intrigued. When I attended Rutgers for my undergrad I spent a lot of time thinking about the language of cinema (as Film Studies was my major focus in Comparative Literature), and specifically the genre of adaptation. Adaptation is more interesting or nuanced than it sometimes appears to be, as one thinks largely of the worst examples rather than the best, or spends time nitpicking differences between the film version and source material. But I have long believed these to be more or less unfair critiques and learned through a review of the art of adaptation that it can indeed be both revision and remix of the source material.

Il Conformista (The Conformist), one of my favorite films. An adaptation of one of my favorite novels of the same name.

There are plenty of bad examples of adaptations of otherwise stellar works, but there are far more than a like number of bad singular works as well for which adaptation was not desired. This is not to create scapegoats or make excuses for poorly done renditions of preexisting things, but if we could approach the field of adaptation in cinema with a more neutral glance, it has been my experience that there is an enormously interesting comparative identity that exists there. And that is, in essence, something of a remix culture in film.

But I digress. Specifically on the topic of the Garcia article, I must admit that I have not been well versed in much of the remixing that he mentions. It became apparent to me here that the use of remixing to reevaluate norms and identities vis-à-vis preexisting material can be a powerful thing. Certainly, as art in its various forms is a making-real of the self, it is reasonable to utilize this movement to overlay different identities and even renew certain ways of thinking. My only real personal example of remixing, not quite remix culture, is that a good number of Progressive Rock artists remixed classical pieces into prog.

Fireballet, a New Jersey band, did a prog cover of Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain in 1975

Thus far in the course, it happens to be that this Sommers article is my favorite reading. It offers both an interesting theoretical discussion, as well as a practical call-to-attention of my own feelings on and doings of, revision – not unlike a point made within the article. There is a mention made several times throughout of the mind; its structures, its space, and it led me to think largely of Bachelard’s The Poetics of Space.

Bachelard argues here in terms of some nonliterary modes, architecture etc., but his point was brought (by himself and others) to the concept that spaces in one’s mind are as real and tangible as spaces in one’s physical world, and that they are emotionally linked. In this, to paraphrase the quote from Sommers, the writer as someone who puts their experience into words in their own mind, carried some additional weight for me. Words which cannot be interacted with the same way as writing, as they are structured in your mind and then laid out physically before you, is your space from within turned without. Very interesting stuff.

But to turn more towards the practical application of Sommers, I had to evaluate myself as a writer based on the strategies of the students and experienced writers. Admittedly I found myself in line with some of what the students did and the approaches they took, namely the business of “marking out”. I find myself not necessarily looking at revision to an essay as being more than just fixing grammar or changing words. But as Sommers points out, the idea then that my work is structurally and argumentatively done, and that all there is left to do is whip out the old thesaurus.com is a bit arrogant. But simultaneously I did also find myself in the experienced writers’ camp of revising and rewriting in some ways. That any particular go at a draft encompasses only that specific draft’s worth of concepts on a topic is very true. I do have a bit of the “I write most conclusively when I’m inspired” thing going on, but I do recognize also that that inspiration is a conceptual flash, and that it does not always hit on everything I have to say. Beyond that one draft, who is to say that the conceptualizing left over would not almost entirely rework an argument or the structure of my essay.

But most of all I found myself in agreement with the concept that I exist within my own space as its being constructed, and I do ask questions of myself and respond to them. When we reread something we write, and it doesn’t have to be analytical for which a general question or idea is being answered or argued, questions like “does this make sense outside of my mind?” or “is there not a better way of saying this?” happen; and when those things happen a revision cannot be as simple as changing a boring word for one of its more interesting counterparts.

Further in the article I found a bittersweet note, so to speak. Sommers included a linguistical perspective on revision by adding a discussion of the concordant or dissonant usage of language relative to itself and how that impacts literariness. I say it’s bittersweet because at Rutgers I had majored briefly in Linguistics, and found that although it was theoretically and practically interesting, it itself proved far too intense for me and I had to drop it. I say it’s a “note” because musical harmony and disharmony as being an avenue to a forest-through-the-trees approach to meaning as opposed to meaning derived from individual notes in a piece was discussed, and I was making a funny joke. But it is true I believe, that words in the context of each other and not in and of themselves give meaning, which is why structure is so important.

As one experienced writer points out, true revision is not determined by time. You could revise ceaselessly because you yourself are different every time you sit down to re-envision your work. To quickly tie this back to the Garcia article, this timelessness is seen in the re-envisioning of something like Birth of a nation to be a bit less debatable in its tone, or in the re-envisioning of Pride and Prejudice to speak to a more contemporary, younger audience. The essence exists but the “language” and not just the “words” are changed.

Blog #4

This week’s selection of articles were diverse in terms of the approaches they unearthed to improve the students learning process and elevate it to include higher order thinking, instead of adhering to learning methods that simply involve creating work that is mandated by the teachers surface agenda.

Nancy Sommers’ article Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers revealed that students’ revision strategies focused on “lexical changes but not semantic changes” (p. 382, Sommers).  She implied that students need more techniques and guidance to “help them reorder lines of reasoning or ask questions about their purpose and readers” (p. 383, Sommers).  The article provided a stark contrast between student writers and experience writers.  Whereas most of the students did not use the terms revision or rewriting, experience writers did.  Rather than focusing on the lexical changes in the first few drafts, experienced writers “describe their primary objective when revising as finding the form or shape of their argument” (p.384, Sommers).  Additionally, experienced writers take their readership into account.  Experienced writers ask theoretical questions of their own ideas and respond to those questions when redrafting.  In the process of redrafting some ideas are developed and some ideas are dropped.  Also, structure is addressed in the process of refining and redrafting a piece.  Essentially, the process of the mature writer leads them to discover meaning.

Jennie Nelson’s article Reading Classrooms as Text: Exploring Student Writers’ Interpretive Practices set out to analyze and record the process of how students negotiate unfamiliar or innovative writing tasks.  Her study revealed that the teachers pedagogical approach influences the type of investment students will put into their work.  It also reveals that students will often find shortcuts for producing acceptable papers.  One teacher neglected to give constructive feedback which led the student to take less creative risks.  Another teacher prematurely provided a framework for a research assignment:  This resulted in the students fabricating answers to the necessary questions without having engaged in the expected investigation first.  However, one of the cases studied involved an English teacher that guided her students through a process-oriented method.  During the course the students were required to write response statements in reaction to assigned texts, then the students were given the opportunity to select one or more of them and write a research paper that supported their argument with secondary sources. “The research paper assignment itself encouraged student ownership because it left room for students to take an active role in determining their papers’ content and form” (p.425, Nelson).

It’s clear from the articles mentioned above that students need appropriate guidance and structure from the teacher in order to place well explored and developed arguments into a written format; however, the value of peer review and support should not be underestimated: It is a valuable part of the process in inculcating students voices.  Prof. Sara Deniz Akant integrates numerous student-centered activities into her syllabus for College Composition I “I Would Use the Kitchen Sink”: Writing as Re-vision, Re-mix, Re-search.  She integrates peer-reviewed draft workshops into the class, Think-Pair-Share peer partnering for processing ideas, and Wall-Postering activities.  All  these activities allow for students to develop their voice independent of teacher input.  Additionally, she mandates that the students fill out an Exit-ticket at the conclusion of each class:  This informs her of the students perspectives regarding what was made clear to them in each class; what questions remained in the students minds; and, what needs the students have regarding what they would like the teacher to focus on in the next class. Regarding encouraging higher order thinking, she includes a “Guideline for Achieving Desired Level of Understanding” into the syllabus, in the form of a list of questions. The categories include: Multiple Perspectives, Use Evidence, Analyze Information, Make Connections, and Take Risks.

Revision and Remix

In Revision Strategies of Students & Experienced Adult Writers Nancy Sommers gives a clear and concise analysis and comparison of student writers revision strategies versus experienced adult writers and their process of revision. She writes that most students write in a linear form of steps which they learned from teachers and textbooks. They feel confident in their work if they have a structure which includes a introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. They often don’t revise their work but instead choose to move around words “rewording activity” and rearrange sentences in hopes to make their paper sound less redundant and repetitive. They fall back on the guidelines of their teachers. This strategy to make minor changes doesn’t help make their paper stronger and it doesn’t make any meaningful improvement, in turn the final product lacks depth. She goes on to talk about more experienced adult writers and how they approach revision. These writers care about forming a solid argument and the framework needed to build on it which includes multiple drafts and endless revisions. Experienced writers care more about what they have to say and how they convey it in their paper so that their audience can really grasp their work and gain meaning from it. The article also talks about dissonance and how the experienced writers feel this inner struggle and conflict about their writing and the only way for them to overcome this uneasy feeling is to revise their work. Student writers often share the same feeling of conflict about their own writing but haven’t developed any solid strategies to combat it.

In Reading Classrooms as Text: Exploring Students Practices, the article begins by discussing the connections between classroom dynamics and the student. It explains how students already come in with assumptions and preconceived notions about the writing process, which impacts them as readers and writers. Students tend to draw from a number of resources when it comes to interpreting their assignments. This includes: teacher’s instructions, grading and comments in class and on papers, “classroom text” as Nelson calls it. The article goes on to give specific examples of comments that teachers made on students drafts which were vague and caused confusion. Many students don’t focus on real revision, and find themselves lost when it comes to interpreting what is needed for a strong paper. This leads to many students taking shortcuts or fabricate facts in their papers just to get by hoping for a decent passing grade. What was eye opening was that the students who cheated and took shortcuts sometimes received a higher grade then the students who tried to work hard to fix the issue in their drafts. I liked how both articles tied into the articles that we read last week about the importance and impact of teachers feedback in writing, its all relative and intertwined. The article concludes with saying what I think we all already know, students shouldn’t make assumptions because well when you assume things… I’ll let you fill in the rest. It also says what is needed for students to be successful is for them to “learn to navigate and negotiate between the new and old ways of thinking and writing that they are being asked to engage in.” I can relate to both articles, I think when I really started to hone in on my writing skills I was entering high school and I was most definitely the type of student who would revise by adding more words or “fluff” so my teachers would see I had a higher word count. I didn’t really focus on the substance or who my audience was. I loved Linda’s blog I found it very insightful. It was short and sweet and packed a punch. I completely agree with Linda when she says that maturity has a lot to do with our writing process and skills. Wisdom comes with age and more life experience. As we progress farther in school and reach towards a higher education we learn more about our strength and weaknesses not only as students but as people. We begin to grow into our authentic selves which then translates into our writing becoming an easier process for us which can be a very liberating experience. In turn that produces some of our best work as writers.

Time to REMIX it!!! I loved this article!! I’m a huge music fan and right up there with writing and journaling music has got me through some of the darkest days of my life. I discussed that in my very first blog, the importance of music in my life and how it helped console me and lift me out of a dark place. This idea of remix culture and how it affects students writing and creativity is super cool and unique. I’m intrigued by this concept! Some of my all time favorite songs have been remixes. From Mariah Carey’s Fantasy remix to Craig Mack’s Flava In Ya Ear, R. Kelly’s Ignition remix (sorry I dislike him as a human but still love his songs) and my all time favorite: the QUEEN Mary J. Blige and Method Mans remix of I’ll Be There For You/Your All I Need To Get By. All of these classics were bred from original songs and beats by other artists and remixed in a new way that produces a different sound and evokes different feelings within those who listen to the new version. Antero Garcia from the start says how: pretty much anything you or your students are making is a remix. Such a cool concept and I love how he talks about how remixing has really taken off its no longer just about music. These days people are remixing classic literature, movies, shows and theater! Hamilton became a smash hit! Now with the emergence of Podcasts, blogs and vlogs there is even more room for creativity and growth in different genres. This idea of remixing also brings up social awareness of important issues that we face today such as gender identity, race, sex, social injustices all of these issues rise to the surface and gain new meaning when someone decides to mix it up a bit! I don’t see anything negative about the culture of remixing. I think that when anyone takes a pre existing song or story and chooses to mix it up and if its done well we can all benefit and learn something from it! I’ve always been a firm believer in change, and I think change is necessary for inner grow and peace… so remix away! The Syllabus was neat I liked it. I loved the NO Technology part! Ugh! I wish that was part of my college experience today! It can be so distracting but I know our laptops and phones are a necessary evil! The Habits of Mind section of the syllabus was a great idea that should be incorporated into every college syllabus! To have clear and thought provoking questions set up like that is such a added benefit to all students. I also agree with the notebook being used each and every day in class! I’m old school so I love it and as we discussed in our Writing Theory class the experience we feel when we pick up a pen and put it to paper physically is a euphoric feeling that tends to get lost with this technology haze we are all in. Note taking just isn’t the same in a laptop. I included a YouTube clip of the song that was referenced in the article! I love her, she’s so underrated! Hope you enjoy it! This weeks articles were really great and I felt like reading them was a breeze which was a nice change of pace! Excited for the presentations tomorrow and for the next blog post! Stay tuned! Xo

Revision and Remix

In Revision Strategies of Students & Experienced Adult Writers Nancy Sommers gives a clear and concise analysis and comparison of student writers revision strategies versus experienced adult writers and their process of revision. She writes that most students write in a linear form of steps which they learned from teachers and textbooks. They feel confident in their work if they have a structure which includes a introduction, body paragraphs and a conclusion. They often don’t revise their work but instead choose to move around words “rewording activity” and rearrange sentences in hopes to make their paper sound less redundant and repetitive. They fall back on the guidelines of their teachers. This strategy to make minor changes doesn’t help make their paper stronger and it doesn’t make any meaningful improvement, in turn the final product lacks depth. She goes on to talk about more experienced adult writers and how they approach revision. These writers care about forming a solid argument and the framework needed to build on it which includes multiple drafts and endless revisions. Experienced writers care more about what they have to say and how they convey it in their paper so that their audience can really grasp their work and gain meaning from it. The article also talks about dissonance and how the experienced writers feel this inner struggle and conflict about their writing and the only way for them to overcome this uneasy feeling is to revise their work. Student writers often share the same feeling of conflict about their own writing but haven’t developed any solid strategies to combat it.

In Reading Classrooms as Text: Exploring Students Practices, the article begins by discussing the connections between classroom dynamics and the student. It explains how students already come in with assumptions and preconceived notions about the writing process, which impacts them as readers and writers. Students tend to draw from a number of resources when it comes to interpreting their assignments. This includes: teacher’s instructions, grading and comments in class and on papers, “classroom text” as Nelson calls it. The article goes on to give specific examples of comments that teachers made on students drafts which were vague and caused confusion. Many students don’t focus on real revision, and find themselves lost when it comes to interpreting what is needed for a strong paper. This leads to many students taking shortcuts or fabricate facts in their papers just to get by hoping for a decent passing grade. What was eye opening was that the students who cheated and took shortcuts sometimes received a higher grade then the students who tried to work hard to fix the issue in their drafts. I liked how both articles tied into the articles that we read last week about the importance and impact of teachers feedback in writing, its all relative and intertwined. The article concludes with saying what I think we all already know, students shouldn’t make assumptions because well when you assume things… I’ll let you fill in the rest. It also says what is needed for students to be successful is for them to “learn to navigate and negotiate between the new and old ways of thinking and writing that they are being asked to engage in.” I can relate to both articles, I think when I really started to hone in on my writing skills I was entering high school and I was most definitely the type of student who would revise by adding more words or “fluff” so my teachers would see I had a higher word count. I didn’t really focus on the substance or who my audience was. I loved Linda’s blog I found it very insightful. It was short and sweet and packed a punch. I completely agree with Linda when she says that maturity has a lot to do with our writing process and skills. Wisdom comes with age and more life experience. As we progress farther in school and reach towards a higher education we learn more about our strength and weaknesses not only as students but as people. We begin to grow into our authentic selves which then translates into our writing becoming an easier process for us which can be a very liberating experience. In turn that produces some of our best work as writers.

Time to REMIX it!!! I loved this article!! I’m a huge music fan and right up there with writing and journaling music has got me through some of the darkest days of my life. I discussed that in my very first blog, the importance of music in my life and how it helped console me and lift me out of a dark place. This idea of remix culture and how it affects students writing and creativity is super cool and unique. I’m intrigued by this concept! Some of my all time favorite songs have been remixes. From Mariah Carey’s Fantasy remix to Craig Mack’s Flava In Ya Ear, R. Kelly’s Ignition remix (sorry I dislike him as a human but still love his songs) and my all time favorite: the QUEEN Mary J. Blige and Method Mans remix of I’ll Be There For You/Your All I Need To Get By. All of these classics were bred from original songs and beats by other artists and remixed in a new way that produces a different sound and evokes different feelings within those who listen to the new version. Antero Garcia from the start says how: pretty much anything you or your students are making is a remix. Such a cool concept and I love how he talks about how remixing has really taken off its no longer just about music. These days people are remixing classic literature, movies, shows and theater! Hamilton became a smash hit! Now with the emergence of Podcasts, blogs and vlogs there is even more room for creativity and growth in different genres. This idea of remixing also brings up social awareness of important issues that we face today such as gender identity, race, sex, social injustices all of these issues rise to the surface and gain new meaning when someone decides to mix it up a bit! I don’t see anything negative about the culture of remixing. I think that when anyone takes a pre existing song or story and chooses to mix it up and if its done well we can all benefit and learn something from it! I’ve always been a firm believer in change, and I think change is necessary for inner grow and peace… so remix away! The Syllabus was neat I liked it. I loved the NO Technology part! Ugh! I wish that was part of my college experience today! It can be so distracting but I know our laptops and phones are a necessary evil! The Habits of Mind section of the syllabus was a great idea that should be incorporated into every college syllabus! To have clear and thought provoking questions set up like that is such a added benefit to all students. I also agree with the notebook being used each and every day in class! I’m old school so I love it and as we discussed in our Writing Theory class the experience we feel when we pick up a pen and put it to paper physically is a euphoric feeling that tends to get lost with this technology haze we are all in. Note taking just isn’t the same in a laptop. I included a YouTube clip of the song that was referenced in the article! I love her, she’s so underrated! Hope you enjoy it! This weeks articles were really great and I felt like reading them was a breeze which was a nice change of pace! Excited for the presentations tomorrow and for the next blog post! Stay tuned! Xo

Dissonance: Writing Teachers and Student-Writers

As a high school English teacher, I have diverse student-writers in my class. On one of the spectrum, I have students who are overly concerned about grades; on the other end of the spectrum, I have students who simply want to pass. The students concerned about the grade are less likely to take risks in their writing. They ask, “What do I need to do to get an A?” Then I have students who write only first drafts. They do not want to revise their writing. They do enough to pass. Sure, I have all my students revise their writing using a Revising and Editing Checklist where they check for global errors (e.g., development of ideas, the flow of ideas) and for sentence-level errors and mechanical errors. I also encourage students to take stylistic and syntactical risks when writing. I also encourage them to consider audience, purpose, and modality. Some revise. Others do not care enough to revisit, rewrite, reorganize, or rethink.

Yes, they have been taught that revising is more than looking for “replacing vocabulary words” (Sommers 381) and more than looking for “repetition of words” (Sommers 382). Yes, they have been taught to revise and to revise often. Yes, they have been given opportunities to rewrite their essays. Yes, they have been taught that revising is not a “linear,” step-by-step, or mechanical. Rather, it is a “recursive” process of going back and rereading a word, a sentence, or a paragraph. Yes, they have been taught that writing and speaking are different modes of discourse since a speaker cannot revise the spoken word. 

Nonetheless, I find Nancy Sommers’ case study of revision strategies of student- writers versus experienced writers illuminating. In the following chart, I summarize her findings in the following chart and offer suggestions for writing teachers.

Student Writers’ Revision Process 
Experienced Writers’ Revision Process
“The students understand that revision is a rewording activity.
Revise for Form: “The experienced writers describe their primary objective when revising as finding the form or shape of their argument.”

Best Practice: Student-writers need to be given models of good writing. 
“The students list repetition as one of the elements that they worry about the most. They are aware of lexical repetition but not necessarily conceptual repetition.” (It appears that the students are looking to see if they repeated the same words in their writing.)
Revise for Audience: “The experienced writers imagine a reader (reading their product) whose existence and whose expectations influence their own revision process.” 

Best Practice: Students need to know that they are not just writing for the teacher. The students need to know that their writing will be shared with their peers in the classroom and outside the classroom and with members of the larger school community.
“The students stop revising when they decide that they have not violated any of the rules for revising” such as starting a sentence with a conjunction.
Revise for Meaning: “But these revision strategies are a process of more than communication; they are part of the process of discovering meaning together.

Best Practice: Teachers need to create revision assignments that are meaningful to the students. 
“Because students do not see revision as an activity in which they modify and develop perspectives and ideas, they feel that they know exactly what they want to say, then there is little reason for making revisions.”

Reimagining Revision Assignments and More Best Practices

Both Antero Garica in “How Remix Culture Informs Student Writing and Creativity” and Sara Deniz’s syllabus: “I Would Use the Kitchen Sink”: Writing as Re-Vision, Re-Mix, Re-Search: A Course Syllabus provide examples of how to make writing assignments more meaningful and more relevant to students. Here are a couple of ideas that I liked and intend to use in my classroom

  • Remixing is a fun form of revision.
  • Use popular culture, music, television, and even video games as a source of evidence. (A majority of my students like video games, so if you know a way to make video games educational, please let me know. @pham_linda)
  • Learn technology so you can teach your students how to use it.
  • Or, have them create a parody such as Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don’t Float (Plume, 2009).
  • Rewriting Opportunities: “You may revise the final draft of an essay for a better grade as many times as you need over the course of the semester.
  • Guided Free-Writes (first 10 minutes of class): It is used as a way to take attendance.
  • Exit Slips (last five minutes of class): It is used to measure the level of engagement.
  • Wall-Postering: a technology-free activity
  • Re-Visioning Experiments: 1.) Rewrite the ending of a narrative. Then write a paragraph explaining the change. 2.) Omit a paragraph or chapter from a reading selection. Then write a paragraph explaining the deletion. 3.) Listen to a TedTalk. Then type out only the words you hear while listening to him speak, neglecting those that you either can’t hear or miss because of the timing on your keyboard. Then write 1 paragraph reflecting on the process and/or the resulting text.
  • Re-Search Journal Entry: Select one page or passage from the reading selection, and identify a possible “Re-Search” topic or question: something specific that you would like to know more about in the world. Explain this topic in a short paragraph, including why you chose it. 
  • Please feel free to add to this list. @pham_linda
  • #unboundeq

Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers: Beginners v. The Experience

When reading this article I was taken back to the summertime of this year. This past summer, I spent most of my time as a Writing Tutor for EOF students at The College of Saint Elizabeth. As this being my first time working with college students, I was very worried that I would be caught in my fraud act of being “an experienced writer”. Little did I know, my students actually loved working with me! So what is the point of this little flashback? After reading this article and looking back at my WONDERFUL experience this past summer, I feel as though I have a different perspective on beginning student writers.

Usually, I like to aim my blogs towards my current 2nd Grade students, but this one will be dedicated towards my now freshmen college students (I hope that they are doing well!). My main objective over the summer was to help them develop as strong writers coming into college. To their surprise, I took my position quite serious and did everything in my power to strengthen their skills when making corrections and drafts to their paper. Whenever I would have my 1-on-1 writing time for each student, the same issue would occur. They would come to me with their papers and see absolutely nothing wrong with them **gasps in English Major voice**. They did not understand the concept of many revisions, that in most times would be the a second draft with new ideas and perspectives. I was at a lost of words and thoughts that they truly felt this way. Sure enough, here come this article that address the idealism behind both student writers (my EOF students) and adult experienced writers (Somewhat me).

Just as with the rhetoric discussion in our previous classes, the Greeks ideas behind the process of composition. We are introduced in this article about The 5 parts of Discourse: inventio (invention), dispositio (arrangement), elocutio (style), memoria (memory), and actio (delivery). I also found this neat slideshow on my fun surfing through the internet, if you would like further explanation on the topic: https://slideplayer.com/slide/15058367/ (fair warned. it is quite long!). To further on, because I like to use what I learned in real life experience, I have been pondering where exactly did my EOF students start, skip, or start their drafts of writing. I can say about 90 % of them were pretty good with inventio, the rest was pretty much up in the air for me to catch. When I would ask some of them, “So why did you put this argument in the beginning, when this connects more with your intro?” … that 90 % answer … “I don’t know, I just want this to be over.” What was I to do?

Looking further into the article another point that stood out to me was the Revision is impossible in Speech. Revision is speech is an afterthought, you can not erase what you said. Like many young writers, my students would write the way they speak and see no issue with this. Bringing some points from my World Englishes course with Dr. Griffith, all English is different everywhere you go. There is no right or wrong, just when to use the “certain type of English” that is acceptable in the world of academia. A lot of my students are from urban areas where there would be slang and miscommunication of how to use certain words in the writing context. Side note: Many of them could not believe I was a native of Newark, NJ. Many of my summertime students would write exactly how they speak, and when I would send them off to edited some areas in their essays, they would either come back exactly the same or some words just “remixed”.

“When revising, students primarily ask themselves: ‘can I find a better word or phrase?'” – I pulled this quote from out the article because this a common thought, I believe, that goes in many student writers mind. Example: I told my EOF student to reorganize his idea in one of the paragraphs I circled. He came back to me 20 minutes later; he moved that paragraph to another section in his paper and he replaced some words with words that I could not even pronounce! It took all the might in me not to start laughing.

Here are some other point I found interesting to discuss in the article. Like with my student in the above, the issue with how students are looking at the aspect of revision or in their case “re-doing” (which strangely was said in my summer writing tutoring) is that they are not thoroughly looking to revise, but to just change words and phrases. Students writers can hear the issues your are trying to express to them about their writing, but lacked the actual understanding of the deeper issue. They are worried about polishing surfaces errors than getting down to the nitty gritty. By all means, this does not make the student a “lazy writer’ just a misunderstood one.

REMIX!

These two articles were very funny to read! I would like to first talk about the article How Remix Culture Informs Student Writing & Creativity. As being closer to the millennium generation, remixing just about everything has been apart of me growing up. Either it be a fashion trend, TV show, or a song, this process of remixing is what has breaded a generation of insta-famous, bloggers, and YouTube sensations! Remixing is a two-way street. When looking back, an important remix for me was the two adaption that I love: Hamlet! My first encounter of Hamlet is with the Disney Production, The Lion King (Yes! The Lion King is the cartoon Hamlet!). My second Hamlet watching was a more update hip-hop version that I had the please to watch while I was in London my senior year as an undergrad. I have never actually read or watched the traditional version of Hamlet, but from watching those two remixes of it I can definitely tell you the plot of the story! When using remix in this manner, I learned about a classical story. This article express how we should use these remixes in today’s society to reach our students. Example: Using the digital space of blogging and twitter to connect with other students globally using the hashtag #unboundeq as a connection.

“It is how we challenge the status quo and forge new pathways for critical expression as we move further into a society enmeshed in the remixing of the past. ” This quote from the article greatly explains how we need to use what we have in the past to better our present. The old quote of “History finds a way of repeating itself” does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.

“I WOULD USE THE KITCHEN SINK”

What I truly I liked about this article is that it does the opposite of the previous article on remixing. It takes a look at remixing on a more non-tech bases. For one, I wish I could have taken a class like this an undergrad! These assignments in this syllabus are designed to help students use things outside of technology. Fore instance, the classroom Notebook:

Classroom Notebook

A notebook is required for taking hand-written notes in class. It is also used for in-class writing exercises. Please be sure to bring a notebook to class everyday, since access to computers and other personal electronic devices will be limited in order to focus on the specific materials we are engaging with in the classroom.

It has been a long time since I have seen that a notebook is REQUIRED in a classroom setting! Recalling back to my time as an undergrad taking Education courses, I remember my observation portion of my class. When I went to the local high school in Morristown, every students I encountered did not use notebook in class. I literately counted three people throughout the day with notebooks .. and out of the three, I was one of them! It truly showed my age. So reading this syllabus was quite refreshing.

Another aspect from this article I like is the extra credit option that the syllabus gives the students.Imagine how much creativity you would be able to pull out of a student if this was given as an extra credit! Syllabus building is probably one of the most difficult things to build/write. This writing activity gives student not just the space for creativity, put a potential skill that they would be learning in possible future careers.

* Syllabus Building – Describe 10 activities, readings, or assignments that you would include if you were teaching this course next semester. For each of the 10 items, write 2-3 sentences describing the reasoning behind putting this particular item on the syllabus. What would you want students to learn from this? How would you get them to engage with it? (10%)

Revision and Remix

Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers

In this article, Nancy Sommers points out the differences between revision strategies of students and experienced adult writers. Students write following a sequence of steps (linear) that are dictated by teachers and textbooks. They think that if they follow the rule that a composition must include an introduction, body, and conclusion, then their work is largely done. In addition, they write the way they speak, so if it’s clear to them what they want to say, they are reluctant to make revisions. When they do revise, it’s usually to move words around in order to avoid repetition and they follow the guidelines set forth by their teachers. These minor changes do not reflect meaningful improvement or a development of ideas. Their essays lack depth.

On the other hand, experienced adult writers revise as a way to “find the form or shape of their arguments.” The constant search for a framework to build their arguments requires many drafts and endless revisions. There is also an awareness of the struggle between what they intend to say and how it actually appears on paper. Sommers says that these writers experience “dissonance,” a feeling of discomfort or conflict in their writing, and revision helps them resolve these conflicts. Students too can sense this “something larger” problem, but they haven’t figured out a strategy to deal with it. 

I think in general what Sommers says is true. 

While reading this article, I had flashbacks to elementary school. English was not my first language, so I had great difficulty with writing. I never knew how to start a paper until I learned about the 5-paragraph essay. Some critics call it formulaic, linear, one dimensional, boring, but I really needed that structure. It got me out of the writing rut I was trapped in for years.  I totally relate to the students interviewed for this article. Their strategies for reviewing are very similar to what I used to do when revising my work.

What I found missing from this article is how experience and maturity play a role in shaping writers and the revision process. The older you get and the fewer restrictions put on your writing, the more freely you can think and the more likely you are to take risks. I also think that a big difference between these 2 groups, besides maturity level, is that obviously experienced adult writers, and many in this group sound like professionals the way she describes them, write for a reason other than to please a teacher. They write because they like to, not because they have to. This is the path they have chosen, so they have a vested interest in their writing. Even though they spend a great deal of time on revision, they write with purpose, so that every word, sentence, and paragraph is well thought out. They know how to manipulate words in order to influence an audience. Most younger students do not have the level of maturity or language development to write effectively or persuasively. They also don’t have enough life experience to add depth or character to their work. 

On Remix

What an interesting article. I always thought of remix as pertaining to music. Every time I hear a new version of an old song or see a new version of an old movie, I call it a remake, but I haven’t heard that term in a long time. Does remake now fall under the umbrella of remix? And I had no idea that this could apply to literature. I always thought that copyright laws would make something like this difficult or impossible, but I am pleased to know that it has happened and that it is gaining momentum. I can see how transforming a popular work of fiction to include a different perspective or current concerns would be very appealing to a wide range of audiences. 

Questions:

Is a remix more difficult to create than coming up with an entirely new idea?

Or is it easier because the story is already there and you just have to steer it towards a fresh audience?

Would there be more pressure and setbacks when trying to refurbish or update a beloved movie or story?