All posts by JDProductions

Sequence, Interaction and Grammatical Incantations

In “Grammar, Grammers, and the Teaching of Grammers,” Patrick Hartwell poses interesting questions about the intentions of educational research. He suggests that the very basis of this discussion is designed to perpetuate the debate, regarding formal grammar., not resolve it. Grammarians and anti-grammarians. Transformational or traditional. Magical thinking or alchemy. Cognitive or linguistic. Many studies are presented in the reading representing different periods of the past century, bouncing back and forth from one side of the argument to the other. In conclusion, Hartwell illustrates that the teaching of formal grammar does not fare very well. At best the evidence is inconclusive, at worst it doesn’t help at all and perhaps inhibits a student’s ability to write well. Hartwell’s intention is to ask what he considers the right questions, with the intention to shed light on issues, terms and maybe most importantly, assumptions.
Grammar based instruction has a model that is rigidly skills based. The formal teaching of grammar (sentence structure, diagramming, etc) is the first step in that sequence and acts as the cornerstone. With that, Hartwell brings the reader’s focus to the key elements of the grammar controversy: sequence in the teaching of composition and the role of the teacher. Traditional sequencing unfolds in the following way: First Grammar followed by an absolute model of organization all controlled by an omnipotent teacher at the center. The idea of style does not enter the picture until much later in this paradigm. Without a doubt, this is the way I learned composition in grade school and high school. Or I should say, this is the way they taught composition. I struggled with grammar lessons, and wrestled with organization in an abstract way. But the whole experience was dominated by the intimidation of the teacher. But I have no question that this form of teaching lead to what Hartwell later refers to as teaching error and nurturing confusion (Thomas Friedman, p.120). After graduating high school, I spent an endless amount of time reading, and developing my own literacy. I was working in an environment where there were a lot of different kinds of people and so I was developing communication skills and by default my own rhetoric. As an adult being back in school, I have finally learned to write. The scarring from those elementary school grammar lessons finally have begun to fade.
I appreciated the breakdown of different categories of grammar. Although, it remains clear as mud I am afraid.
Grammar 1:(P111) Three features include 1) the grammar in our heads. The internalized system of rules. A tacit and unconscious knowledge. 2) The abstract and even counterintuitive nature of these rules, particularly in relation to our ability to express them in terms of grammar 2 rules. 3)The way in which the form of one’s Grammar 1 seems profoundly impacted by the acquisition of literacy.
Grammar 2: (p114) A scientific model of Grammar 1. The branch of linguistic science that is concerned with the description, analysis and formulization of formal language patterns. Not to be confused with the stable entity it is often presented as. It is an attempt to approximate the rules of grammar 1. However, these rules are continuously in flux depending on the dominant research of the time.
Grammar 3: (p121) Linguistic etiquette. This relates specifically to the usage of grammar. Usage issues which tend to be linguistically unnatural departures from the grammar in our heads.
Grammar 4: (p119)Rules of grammar. I am personally not clear on what distinguishes grammar 1 from grammar 4. However, the author refers to grammar 4 as incantations and a complete sham. Perhaps the reader was not supposed to gain clarity?!
Grammar 5:(p120) Stylistic grammar. Grammatical terms used in the interest of prose. Romantic. Classic. Philosophical theory of language as opposed to linguistic.
According to Hartwell, above all, writers need to develop skills at two levels and can be developed in any language activity that enhances awareness of language as language.
1)Broadly rhetorical. Strategies, and procedures for communicating in a meaningful way.
2)The ability to actively manipulate language with conscious attention to surface form.
This seems to dovetail with themes in previous readings. The gem out of this reading for me was the idea of language being “verbal clay….to be molded, and probed, shaped and reshaped, and, above all, enjoyed (Kolln, p 125)”

I was very excited by some themes that Hartwell raised and would like to revisit them:
• Those who dismiss formal grammar instruction as the cornerstone have a model of instruction that is focused around a complex interaction of learner and environment in mastering literacy. (P108) I personally believe that teachers are the guardians of learning threshold. That interaction between learner and educator can be magical.

• Hyperliterate perception of the value of formal rules. Most students reading their writing aloud will self-correct a majority of grammar 2 errors. Hyperliterate is such an interesting way to frame things.

• Mastering codes from top down (issues of voice, tone, register and rhetorical strategy). Not bottom up (grammar usage, to usage, to fixed forms of organization)

Vocabulary:
Tacit: understood or implied without being stated.
Posit: assume as a fact; put forth as a basis of argument.
Orthography: the art of writing words with the proper letters according to standard usage.

The Monolingual Myth….

There are a few simple yet profound themes surfacing out of the combined sources we are reading from and sharing about. The focus is on expanding the accessibility of education, opportunity and ultimately hope for a brighter future. It includes broadening the horizons of narrow thinking and drawing out those that are under represented.
The activities in Equity Unbound have been profound in their articulate intimacy, creativity and intellectual stimulation. Every day a different phrase from Lina Mounzer’s article entitled “War in Translation” has swirled through my mind. Mounzer captures the complexity of understanding someone else with such fierce gentleness, that emerging unchanged is impossible. And in spite of my claimed resistance to technology and social media only one blog ago, I have spent a lot of time in the past two weeks reading things written by people found on the @Unboundeq twitter feed. This was one of my favorites this week and somehow intersects nicely: https://www.seanmichaelmorris.com/the-habitus-of-critical-imagination/ (Sean Michael Morris The Habitus of Critical Imagination)

The other piece this week was reading Teaching Composition in the Multilingual World (Second Language Writing in Composition Studies), by Kelly Ritter and Paul Kei Matsuda.

https://asu.pure.elsevier.com/en/publications/teaching-composition-in-the-multilingual-world-second-language-wr

This article addresses the shift in student population in US college composition programs as a result of globalization and internationalization. It bluntly emphasizes that the globalized world “has been and will continue to be, multilingual (p36,Kelly & Matsuda).” The huge white elephant in the room is the monolingual North American learner and educator.

Matsuda states that with the globalization of higher education, the myth that English monolongualism is the norm has become increasingly inaccurate. I suppose I have never consciously quite thought of it like that; that English monolingualism is the norm. I have never had to. I was raised on English in America. Upon reflection, I realize I have never had to challenge this assumption, simply because that is how I was raised. My grandparents were Norwegian immigrants who moved to America and learned English working on the docks in NYC. Norwegian was only spoken when they were angry or speaking about the kids. I only speak English, even though I had years of required French in middle and high school. My experience of studying a foreign language was that it was kind of a joke. Foreign language studies began at the worst possible age. Kids were self-conscious and ultra-sensitive. This was in the 80’s, so the assumption was that we probably weren’t going to use it. Honestly, we were just getting past the idea that the only possibility for women was to be a teacher, secretary or nurse. On a personal note, this article made me interested in excavating any unchallenged assumptions that I have, and going beyond them. I can no longer settle for being a monolinguist.

This article highlights the shortsightedness of the monolingual educator. This limitation creates narrow thinkers as well as writing teachers that do not even have a command and thorough knowledge of English grammar. (p50) I am interested in studying further this idea of developing a thorough understanding of grammatical structure and the “nature of second language acquisition and ways of providing feedback on language issues.” Matsuda touched on the research on long term effects of error feedback (Ferris, “Grammar,” Treatment, Truscott and Hsu). I am interested in this idea of error feedback and learning more about strategies that have been applied.

Another theme I appreciated in this article was Global Literacy, as well as emphasis on cross-cultural collaboration. The world is ever changing and higher education in the US is poised to embrace these changes or be shut out. As stated, global communities are multi-lingual by default. It is now time for the monolingual reader and writer to change. “The question is no longer limited to how to prepare students from around the world to write like traditional students from North America; it is time to start thinking more seriously about how to prepare monolingual students to write like the rest of the world.9p”

It is appropriate to embrace the expansion that comes with globalization and internationalization as opposed to defensively guarding against it. Language is the tool that can connect, it is also the tool that can divide. I love Matsuda’s suggestion about “Forging alliances with writing researchers from around the world.” This is exactly what we have been doing with Equity Unbound.

Vocabulary list:
Conation: any natural tendency, impulse, striving or directed effort.

My meta-goal for voice in writing…..

This week’s reading has been quite a feast and I am looking forward to our class discussion. In the spirit of Chimamanda Adichie’s TEDtalk and Peter Elbow’s idea of moving beyond compromise and embracing contradictions I am including a link to one of my favorite artist/linguists. Molly Bartholemew is an American Sign Language interpreter who captures the spirit of music and popular recording artists through visual storytelling and ASL.
Watch with the sound on and then turn the sound off.
Does she capture the voice of the artist?
What tools does she use?
Are there any metaphors that move beyond sound and hearing that might be useful in writing beyond “voice?”

Response to Rhetoric and Composition, by Janice Lauer and Assimilation into Writing Masters

It is with great reluctance that I move forward into the digital age. Our Twitter scavenger hunt, digital syllabus and weekly blog posts are definitely outside of my comfort zone. The public nature of the internet is unsettling for me. I like the boundaries of a good old fashioned hard copy. Generally, I use my computer as a word processor, and to search the internet if and when I want for what I am interested in and that’s it. That being said, I have been enjoying the different people I have come into contact with as a result of Equity Unbound and that is helping me get my head around the idea of digital literacy. I remain open to the journey.
While I like the idea of open and equitable education, I also appreciate a sense privacy around my own process. I like a long slow progression of meandering drafts, and intense revision. I am particular with whom I share my work for editing and only then do I open it up to other people. I don’t like sharing things in a public forum and creating a digital footprint of undeveloped work. It feels incongruous with my draft and revision process and my own nature as a private person. I hope to be convinced otherwise.
I really enjoyed the reading: Rhetoric and Composition, by Janice Lauer, and have had several themes from it dancing around in my head all week. The first was the distinction of rhetorical scholarship and its history as separate from grammar and composition. According to Lauer, when tracing education back to the Greeks and Romans, students were educated in a curriculum that included grammar, philosophy and rhetoric. She states that by the twentieth century, rhetorical scholarship had almost disappeared and what remained was the teaching of composition. The result in the classroom was a focus centered primarily on grammar instruction and finished products. This point brought my attention to the significance of rhetoric as its own entity and how it impacts both writing and oratory abilities. I would also add that it alters the receptive abilities of the audience. The art of rhetoric brings breadth and depth to any communication; both giving and receiving. I went on to do further reading to increase my own understanding of rhetoric at the following website:
https://www.aresearchguide.com/rhetorical-situation.html

I am deeply interested in this idea of crafting an argument and what it means in the everyday act of communication in writing and as a human being. These are some of the things I learned about the importance of rhetoric: including informal reasoning powers as well as appealing to the ethos and the pathos. Ethos is a Greek word meaning character that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation or ideology. Interestingly, it is also the word the Greeks use to refer to the influence and power that music holds over emotions, behaviors and even morals. I was reminded that Aristotle uses ethos in his concept of the three artistic proofs or modes of persuasion and have made a note to get back to this point in my own studies. The other words I gathered in this exploration of rhetoric were Pathos: A Greek word meaning a quality that evokes pity or sadness. Logos: A statement or argument used to convince or persuade an audience by employing reason or logic. A good argument should be rooted in all three of these places.
Coming from a political science background this exploration really appealed to me, and simultaneously it is shocking that I did not have a better grasp of the pedagogical principles involved. I couldn’t help but wonder how this lack of education in rhetoric impacts the receptive skills of “the audience.” In my limited grasp of rhetoric, these days in politics it seems that the “audience” is vulnerable to easy manipulation by politicians who play on the anticipated one-dimensional reaction from the audience rooted solely in emotion and lacking the roots of ethos, pathos and especially logos. I appreciated on P128 of Lauer’s essay, the mention of theorists arguing against what they felt was excessive focus on individual inquiry. “Another nettling issue that continues to plague the field is the superficial or even missing attention to audience or readers in teaching composition.” The assumption that the teacher is the only audience.
As an adult student I long for a little bit of what Lauer refers to as “formalist pedagogy” and maintain the desire for spelling and grammar drills. I can’t help it. I am a product of my generation and cringe when I read incomplete sentences with spelling errors. I recognize the controversy around this topic and do not believe it is all there should be. The reading refers to this as “full-frontal teaching of grammar.” I agree with the idea that an individualized approach to teaching grammar is more effective. While I do not advocate the humiliation-based technique that was implemented in my own grade school curriculum, I do have a deep respect for form and structure as a foundation, and hope that this does not get lost.
I loved the message in Lauer’s summary and hold these thoughts to be truth’s:
1)The Commitment to develop all levels of literacy, without exclusion.
2)The potential central role of literacy in empowering people to shape contemporary world culture.
3)Education is power and articulation is its vehicle. Helping students to develop their powers of inquiry and communication in order to enrich and re-envision their everyday, civic, academic and workplace lives.

I look forward to investigating further many of the theorists and ideas that were touched upon, including: Walter Ong, Kenneth Burke, Alan Purves, Rohman and Wlecke, Walker Gibson, Slevin, Crowley and Freire.

Vocabulary list from this reading:

Ethymeme: a rhetorical syllogism (a three- part deductive argument) used in oratorical practice.
(Originally theorized by Aristotle) He described four different types of ethymemes.
Epistemology: The theory of knowledge, especially with regards to its methods. It is the investigation of what distinguished justified belief from opinion.
Heuristic: enabling a person to discover or learn something about themselves
Heteroglossia: the presence of two or more voices or expressed viewpoints in a text or other artistic work.
Kairos: the right or opportune moment for certain arguments
Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation
Semiotics and the communication triangle
Trivium: An introductory curriculum at a medieval university involving the study of grammar, rhetoric, and logic.

Response to Rhetoric and Composition, by Janice Lauer and Assimilation into Writing Masters

It is with great reluctance that I move forward into the digital age. Our Twitter scavenger hunt, digital syllabus and weekly blog posts are definitely outside of my comfort zone. The public nature of the internet is unsettling for me. I like the boundaries of a good old fashioned hard copy. Generally, I use my computer as a word processor, and to search the internet if and when I want for what I am interested in and that’s it. That being said, I have been enjoying the different people I have come into contact with as a result of Equity Unbound, and that is helping me get my head around the idea of digital literacy. I remain open to the journey.

While I like the idea of open and equitable education, I also appreciate a sense of privacy around my own process. I like a long slow progression of meandering drafts and intense revision. I am very particular with whom I share my work for editing, and then I open it up to other people. I don’t like sharing things in a public forum and creating a digital footprint of undeveloped work. It feels incongruous with my draft and revision process and my own nature as a private person. I hope to be convinced otherwise.

I really enjoyed the reading: Rhetoric and Composition, by Janice Lauer, and have had several themes from it dancing around in my head all week. The first was the distinction of rhetorical scholarship and its history as separate from grammar and composition. According to Lauer, when tracing education back to the Greeks and Romans, students were educated in a curriculum that included grammar, philosophy, and rhetoric. She states that by the twentieth century, rhetorical scholarship had almost disappeared and what remained was the teaching of composition. The result in the classroom was a focus centered primarily on grammar instruction and finished products. This point brought my attention to the significance of rhetoric as its own entity and how it impacts both writing and oratory abilities. I would also add that it alters the receptive skills of the audience. The art of rhetoric brings breadth and depth to any communication; both giving and receiving. I went on to do further reading to increase my own understanding of rhetoric at the following website:

https://www.aresearchguide.com/rhetorical-situation.html

I am deeply interested in this idea of crafting an argument and what it means in the everyday act of communication in writing and as a human being. These are some of the things I learned about the importance of rhetoric: including informal reasoning powers as well as appealing to the ethos and the pathos. Ethos is a Greek word meaning character that is used to describe the guiding beliefs or ideals that characterize a community, nation or ideology. Interestingly, it is also the word the Greeks use to refer to the influence and power that music holds over emotions, behaviors and even morals. I was reminded that Aristotle uses ethos in his concept of the three artistic proofs or modes of persuasion and have made a note to get back to this point in my own studies. The other words I gathered in this exploration of rhetoric were Pathos: A Greek word meaning a quality that evokes pity or sadness. Logos: A statement or argument used to convince or persuade an audience by employing reason or logic. A good argument should be rooted in all three of these places.

Coming from a political science background this exploration really appealed to me, and simultaneously it is shocking that I did not have a better grasp of the pedagogical principles involved. I couldn’t help but wonder how this lack of education in rhetoric impacts the receptive skills of “the audience.” In my limited grasp of rhetoric these days in politics, it seems that the “audience” is vulnerable to easy manipulation by politicians who play on the anticipated one-dimensional reaction from the audience rooted solely in emotion and lacking the roots of ethos, pathos and especially logos. I appreciated on P128 of Lauer’s essay, the mention of theorists arguing against what they felt was an excessive focus on individual inquiry. “Another nettling issue that continues to plague the field is the superficial or even missing the attention to audience or readers in teaching composition.” When the classroom is centered around composition only, the assumption is that the teacher is the only audience.

As an adult student, I long for a little bit of what Lauer refers to as “formalist pedagogy” and maintain the desire for spelling and grammar drills. I can’t help it. I am a product of my generation and cringe when I read incomplete sentences with spelling errors. I recognize the controversy around this topic and do not believe it is all there should be. The reading refers to this as “full-frontal teaching of grammar.” I agree with the idea that an individualized approach to teaching grammar is more effective. While I do not advocate the humiliation-based technique that was implemented in my own grade school curriculum, I do have a deep respect for form and structure as a foundation and hope that this does not get lost.

I look forward to investigating further many of the theorists and ideas that were touched upon, including Walter Ong, Kenneth Burke, Alan Purves, Rohman and Wlecke, Walker Gibson, Slevin, Crowley, and Freire.

I loved the message in Lauer’s summary and hold these thoughts  to be truth’s:
1)The Commitment to developing all levels of literacy, without exclusion.
2)The potential central role of literacy in empowering people to shape contemporary world culture.
3)Education is power and articulation is its vehicle. Helping students to develop their powers of inquiry and communication in order to enrich and re-envision their every day, civic, academic and workplace lives.

 

 

 

Vocabulary list from this reading:

Enthymeme: a rhetorical syllogism (a three-part deductive argument) used in oratorical practice. (Originally theorized by Aristotle) He described four different types of enthymemes.
Epistemology: The theory of knowledge, especially with regards to its methods. It is the investigation of what distinguished justified belief from opinion.
Heuristic: enabling a person to discover or learn something about themselves
Heteroglossia: the presence of two or more voices or expressed viewpoints in a text or other artistic work.
Kairos: the right or opportune moment for certain arguments
Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation
Semiotics and the communication triangle
Trivium: An introductory curriculum at a medieval university involving the study of grammar, rhetoric, and logic.