All posts by difabifr

The Hidden Discipline

Hey, again, fellow classmates ~

Interestingly enough, I understood the content in this chapter and found it quite interesting, even though Professor Zamora said to prepare for an academic read that might make ya snooze (lol). I mentally prepared myself to somehow read this chapter unconsciously but rather was intrigued by the historical upbringing of a controversial subject that I’m studying to teach. I also found myself consumed by the content as I’m doing my discussion lead presentation on the writing process (formulaic writing) and all the problems intertwined in that pedagogical style on teaching students how to successfully write. Lauer’s analysis and gathered research on Rhetoric and Composition led a hand to my understanding to why students hate writing and struggle to invent, create, and revise to this day.

I’d like to take some time to focus on how members of the field of Rhetoric and Composition challenged writing as a “product,” and the alternative ways for teachers to respond to this finished “product” of student writing. The main problem is viewing writing as a “finished product” because writing is never finished. From my understanding as an amateur writer, writing tends to be limitless and recursive. WRITING NEVER ENDS! Just because the editing stage of the writing process is complete does not equal finished writing. Writing is certainly a mental challenge that needs to be practiced and polished along the way, and even in the far future. Writing can always be revised and edited at any time. There is no “correct” way to go about writing, editing, and revising, as theories are still being researched and published to this very day. Think about it, all this extensive theoretical research in Lauer’s chapter began around the 1960’s and 1970’s. That’s not ancient research, ya’ll!

While reading, I found myself getting increasingly frustrated at the lack of creative expression in the history behind the field of Rhetoric and Composition. Little instructional attention was provided to help students get started, investigate and test ideas, consider audience, revise, and receive and understand their feedback. The issue with the linear and reductive conception of the composing process is that it emphasizes an endpoint to writing, even if it does not intend to. Modern writing teachers preach about diving back into your writing to edit and revise whenever needed but contradict this belief by giving students a final, rigid grade with little emphasis on personal feedback (Lauer 12). What does this teach the student? Ultimately and unfortunately, it teaches the student to despise writing and to doubt their ideas as they were trained to ingest and analyze what constitutes writing as “good” and “bad,” and to submit a final, finished writing product that will be judged, and criticized in a way that highlights mistakes over creative content (Lauer 13).

The root of the problem begins with the writing teachers as “many [of them] are unfamiliar with the [theories on discourse,] modes, and genre because they have not been educated in the field of Rhetoric and Composition” (Lauer 10). This is not the teachers fault as research and theories were not being investigated and published at the time, they were a student. This is positive news, though, because it demonstrates that the recipients of student writing noticed a lack of depth, purpose, and connection, concluding that writing instruction is surface-level and not meaning-based. If teachers subject their students to a one-way-avenue of writing and revising, are they ultimately telling their students that an aspect of their authentic selves is not “smart enough” for school? Hmmmm. . .

Thank goodness gracious for the introduction of intentional pedagogies like meditation and reflection, observational-scenic writing, the double-notebook, journaling, drawing as pre-writing, analogies, and other forms of expressive writing techniques. Teachers can even integrate yogic practices and breathing exercises into their writing lessons to ease the tension of judgment that has lingered over the field for decades. Processes as those listed above will guarantee students the opportunity to use their language and tongue of dialect in a school setting without harsh judgment. This way, students can not only enjoy the process of writing, but they are pushed to find their own version of the writing process and find their authentic voice along the way (Lauer 11).

I feel as though writing teachers focus too much on the writing process rather than practicing writing. As I said earlier, writing is a mental phenomenon that involves practice to master; although, I doubt one will ever truly master writing. Hmmm, I’m going to ask ya’ll . . . Do you think writing as a practice can be mastered? Would a Pulitzer Prize, NY TIMES Best Selling author answer “yes” to such a question?

In my opinion,      I.       don’t.         think.        So.    !!!!!

References

© (2006). Lauer. National Council of Teachers of English. Rhetoric and Composition

An Introduction to Me!

Well, hello my fellow classmates ~~

Francesca Di Fabio, here – we already went over how and why I got my name; so, let’s jump straight to it. I come from a hard-working, Italian American household, raised by both of my lovely grandmothers, mother, father, and older brother. I was blessed enough to have one grandma – my Nonna – live down the street, and my other grandma – who we called Morning – live in the bottom half of our mother-daughter house. Both of my Italian grandmas have passed but our lovely memories of drawing, painting, gardening, cooking home-made pasta and sauce together will live on forever.

I sleep in the very room my mother did too, when she was a young girl, following the motions toward womanhood. Now a grown woman myself, I take pleasure in waking up late on Sunday’s to the smell of Morning’s marinara sauce recipe boiling on the stove top – cooked by my mother and passed down from her own. Ready and served no later than 3 PM every Sunday. I learned quickly how to make room for two dinner servings every Sunday, because if not, my mother will take it as an insult to her cooking. It’s very simple: If we don’t eat, my mother is not pleased. My mother – a Jersey City Italian who’s a mix between Judge Judy and The Long Island Medium. Trust me, you want to please the woman!

But who exactly am I? I wish I could tell you – I’m still figuring that one out. What I can tell you is that I obtained my bachelor’s degree in English, Writing, and Education from Kean University, and graduated in the Spring of 2022. Sometimes, I still can’t believe that I have a degree in English and am getting my M.A. in Writing Studies. Growing up, I often became embarrassed, frustrated, and overwhelmed that school was hard for me compared to the “average” person. I questioned my dyslexia every day and how it impacted my ability to read. And the worst part of it all was that I loved to learn but I just could not understand the information. 

Instead of hating school, I decided to challenge academia. I became obsessed with teaching myself how to read and write. I would spend hours glossing over pages until I understood what the text was trying to tell me. Endless nights were spent worrying if I looked dumb to my peers or wondering why a simple assignment took me twice as long. Somehow, I graduated undergrad with a flawless 4.0 GPA average, not allowing myself to receive anything less. 

It took time to be proud of myself about graduating college with a 4.0 GPA: apparently, that’s a huge accomplishment. I’ve always had difficulty congratulating or celebrating myself. Because, what if it all doesn’t go as planned? How could I celebrate such an accomplishment when there are endless possibilities for failure in the future? Unfortunately, that’s how an anxiety-induced, perfectionist thinks. I know it’s a problem; hence why I spent three months in a partial, hospitalization center – famously known for being referred to as ~ rehab ~. I have no shame talking about my struggles with mental health because it’s my reality. The random panic attacks paired with the spiraling thoughts, throw-up fits, and arthritis flare-ups come with being a perfectionist.

So, I write to understand my thoughts because it turns out I got a whole lot of them. I write for my therapist. I write for myself. I write my kids yoga lessons. I write short stories that mirror my very, deep feelings and emotions. I write because I never thought I could. I read to teach myself how to write, so that I can turn around and tell the next person, “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!”