All posts by karelnavyblue

Voice in Writing (Find and Keep Yours) – FiNaL PrOjEcT

Ever wondered about “voice” in writing, whether it’s in the classroom or in your own personal space? What I refer to as voice, in writing, is the unique identifiers of a writer’s writing style. This is the unique flavor he or she adds to his piece, which will differ from another. It can be interpret, in a way, as the speech and thought pattern behind the narrative. How writers use tone, words, subject, punctuation, sentences, syntax, and conveys messages, often help define their so-called voice.

TO BE CONTINUED/ IN PROGRESS…

A Learning Reflection

After the freewriting exercise from last week, in relation to the last final project, I have still not changed my mind about what I would like as a final project. On my last blog post (freewrite) I wrote about how I wanted the final project to be a One-Act play, where everyone can play a certain line or character. Up to this day, I still have not changed my mind about the plan, and at this point I think is best if I just stick with it, since it is what interests me the most. I previously mentioned some of the literary works of this genre which might be of use or serve as examples. “A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams; “Antigone,” by Sophocles; “The Price,” by Arthur Miller. Again, I think as a student of writing, there is a special feeling about playing a part in some of your favorite books or literary pieces. It’s like “experiencing literature LIVE”.

The reason why I picked this for a final project over other things is because stories, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, are some that interests me a lot, as I have spent various years of my life learning about literature through this form of writing. Because it is easy for me now to understand part of the process that goes behind stories, I am able to use that as a skill to understand other forms of literature. The reason why I bring up the concept of “literature” is because, although we have much freedom to choose what this final project could be, I think we still need to choose something that relates to any learning outcomes we experienced this semester. And despite that fact that many of us had to work on different or similar topics related to pedagogy and writing, everything was still somewhat connected to the art of literature. For me, as example, I focused on a topic relating “voice” in writing for my presentation. Voice is something big in literature and in writing overall, regardless of different types of writing. This was a big presentation and required me to do a descent amount of research and studying on the matter. Likewise, other classmates did the same for their topic, and in the end we managed to learn a lot from each other’s covered material. So I think it is safe to say that no matter the type of outcomes we all experienced, it is connected to literature.

In my experience, the learning I gained from the experience is one connected to the topic I covered (voice). Before this class, I had not gotten the chance to fully dive myself into an issue that is part of writing is the classroom: that voice is not always given much importance in certain writing setting at school, but should definitely be considered important. As I always say, “writing is almost always personal, even when you try not to make it personal.” And it is through this personal characteristic and feature, when writing, that voice is given to piece. This is the voice of the writer. Something we all have or develop, or are in the process of developing. At least this is what I think. But really what I learned ultimately, through the semester and my own presentation, is that writing is VERY personal. And it is such personal factor, which is given to it, that allow writers or students of writing to connect, feel, imagine, and experience literature through their own perception. And is the process, they can apply it to their daily lives, various situations, and other things that may not even be related. It is because of all this that I am excited for the final project to be a One-Act play. These plays are more than just writing and acting. They are a window to life and experience, as well as literature and other things I can’t even explain.

A Learning Reflection

After the freewriting exercise from last week, in relation to the last final project, I have still not changed my mind about what I would like as a final project. On my last blog post (freewrite) I wrote about how I wanted the final project to be a One-Act play, where everyone can play a certain line or character. Up to this day, I still have not changed my mind about the plan, and at this point I think is best if I just stick with it, since it is what interests me the most. I previously mentioned some of the literary works of this genre which might be of use or serve as examples. “A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams; “Antigone,” by Sophocles; “The Price,” by Arthur Miller. Again, I think as a student of writing, there is a special feeling about playing a part in some of your favorite books or literary pieces. It’s like “experiencing literature LIVE”.

The reason why I picked this for a final project over other things is because stories, whether they are fiction or nonfiction, are some that interests me a lot, as I have spent various years of my life learning about literature through this form of writing. Because it is easy for me now to understand part of the process that goes behind stories, I am able to use that as a skill to understand other forms of literature. The reason why I bring up the concept of “literature” is because, although we have much freedom to choose what this final project could be, I think we still need to choose something that relates to any learning outcomes we experienced this semester. And despite that fact that many of us had to work on different or similar topics related to pedagogy and writing, everything was still somewhat connected to the art of literature. For me, as example, I focused on a topic relating “voice” in writing for my presentation. Voice is something big in literature and in writing overall, regardless of different types of writing. This was a big presentation and required me to do a descent amount of research and studying on the matter. Likewise, other classmates did the same for their topic, and in the end we managed to learn a lot from each other’s covered material. So I think it is safe to say that no matter the type of outcomes we all experienced, it is connected to literature.

In my experience, the learning I gained from the experience is one connected to the topic I covered (voice). Before this class, I had not gotten the chance to fully dive myself into an issue that is part of writing is the classroom: that voice is not always given much importance in certain writing setting at school, but should definitely be considered important. As I always say, “writing is almost always personal, even when you try not to make it personal.” And it is through this personal characteristic and feature, when writing, that voice is given to piece. This is the voice of the writer. Something we all have or develop, or are in the process of developing. At least this is what I think. But really what I learned ultimately, through the semester and my own presentation, is that writing is VERY personal. And it is such personal factor, which is given to it, that allow writers or students of writing to connect, feel, imagine, and experience literature through their own perception. And is the process, they can apply it to their daily lives, various situations, and other things that may not even be related. It is because of all this that I am excited for the final project to be a One-Act play. These plays are more than just writing and acting. They are a window to life and experience, as well as literature and other things I can’t even explain.

Freewrite on Final Project

This week we went over some information about the final project, which
is meant to be a group-work type of project. I personally have been
think of something that is both related to the literary and acting
world. Being that this is a group project, a One-Act play would fit
perfectly. Not only will every class member could get a spot to act a
certain character of part of a chosen story, but it will make it
easier for content to be distributed. Some of the plays I was thinking
about are: “A Streetcar Named Desire,” by Tennessee Williams;
“Antigone,” by Sophocles; “The Price,” by Arthur Miller. Of course,
these are just some from a larger list. But it could be an amazing
project. As students of writing, there is a special feeling about
playing a part in some of your favorite books, or books you simply
enjoyed. It may be even more special to play a character in such books
or just o be part of the story. It’s like “experiencing literature
LIVE”. Just being able to dive into a world that only exists in your
mind and one which escapes reality is not something many of us have
the luxury to do everyday. Unless you are writer that is, but even so,
there are writer who don’t get the chance.
This is why I think that selecting something like this as a group
project will be a memorable and enjoyable experience for us students
of writing. I think it is safe to say that writing takes different
shapes and forms, depending on own intent and goal-in-mind. Some of
the best writer don’t just follow rules and pedagogical practices;
they freely use their imagination to work on pieces that touches
people emotionally or intellectually. Just think about it; when was
the last time you read an academic textbook which inspired you or
motivated you, or moved you emotionally? I mean those school textbooks
that are only meant to teach you a certain practice or exercise, or
tests you memory on a topic. Perhaps not many times. Perhaps you only
gained that feeling by reading pieces that you voluntarily selected.
And yet, you learned more about literature and writing from reading
your own chosen pieces of literature than ever before. If lucky, you
not only learned about writing styles, character developments, or
climactic moments in writing, but also how different generations of
writer represented world-like issues of their time through their
writing. Writing is fascinating, and it is hard to argue against this
if you enjoy it as a writer.  And one of the best way to feel
literature is by acting it out, as I have mentioned above. You can
think of it as acting for a movie, but deep inside you still know is
literature.

Writing Through A Colloquial Language

This week’s readings “Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options,”
by Muriel Harris, and “Using Rubrics to Develop and Apply Grading
Criteria,” by John Bean, were two that I found interesting because I
was able to connect with the concepts being stressed, due to my own
personal experience as a former ESL student when I was younger. What I
got from the readings was that ESL students need to be taught writing
through a different approach (for them to become more proficient in
writing in English), and that grading in the classroom does indeed
benefit from the use of rubrics.
I think it’s safe to say that writing is not only a process that can
vary with difficulties, depending on the project or task at hand, but
also that it is a skill that many of us struggle with at sometimes.
This goes for both, native speakers of the English language (those who
were introduced to it since birth) or non-native speakers of it (those
who were introduced to it in later years of their life as a second
language). It is perhaps because language is complex to some degree,
and the act of writing draws from such complexity and expands it even
more. In the case of ESL speakers and writers, and speaking from
personal experience, the process of learning a language (in this case
English) and learning how to become a proficient writer in it is a
challenging phenomenon. Not only do we have to first gain some decent
mastery of the language itself (vocabulary, colloquial
everyday-language being used, phrases, slangs, grammar, ect…), but
also have to learn to separate it from the original, since more often
than not, translating from another language into English doesn’t work.
But learning and gaining mastery of the English language, as an ESL
student, is not enough to make you a good in writing. This is perhaps
because writing has its own system and functionality, depending on the
type of writing of course. When I first started to learn English as a
second language, I remember first building my vocabulary and learning
common phrases and slangs from native speakers. In school, I learned
to put together, into a formulated system, everything I was learning
at home and outside in the street. The purpose of this was to build my
language just as other native speakers did. For a while, I fell into
the habit of trying to translate every sentence from my primary
language into English, thinking it would work just fine. But I learned
this wasn’t always the case. Certain words and sentences didn’t
translate properly because the meaning would change when doing so, so
I learned to separate the two languages as individual identities,
which would sometimes interchange. I imagine this being something many
of us go through at first.
And when it came to writing, it was a totally different thing. Surely
in the beginning, I was able to do simplistic forms of writing, such
as writing a 10-words sentence or a short paragraph. But when it came
time to write very large pieces (essays, research essays or papers,
reflections, or even compare and contrast) I would struggles because
my vocabulary was very limited and the flow of my writing would not be
that of native speakers. By “flow” I mean how your overall message is
expressed throughout the writing, or whether or not the reader of your
work will be able to read it with ease. A language is basically a
collection of words, letters, and phrases, among other things like
grammar and syntax. But despite knowing the letters, how they are
pronounced, or how they are written, doesn’t mean you will be
“clearly” understood by others who speak as part of a formed
colloquial language. For example, in the U.S, regardless if is in the
North, South, West, or East, people are used to speaking with certain
types of phrases, words, ect… The pronunciation, or rather accent
given to the words doesn’t really interrupt much the flow of the
language and how others understand you. But if someone not familiar
with such colloquial language speaks around you, you will hear them
use phrases and words that would throw you off in understanding. A
good example of this is the following sentence: “Today I am going to
see my grandparents today” (colloquial language in U.S) vs “To see my
grandparents is where I’ll be going today” (something you normally
will hear from someone who is an ESL speaker of someone not familiar
with the every-day language). Now you may say, they are both correct
ways of saying it, and you may understand the meaning of it. But we
can’t ignore that there something about the second sentence that
leaves you guessing or thinking otherwise. This is what I used to do
when I was first stating to learn English. And it not only affected my
way fo speaking, but also my writing. I think the same goes for
writing, and as an ESL student, you need to always familiarize
yourself with this colloquial language, so that your writing flows
like a native of that language, in that region (in this case the U.S).
And so, this brings me to the question of how tutors help ESL students
with their writing so that they can get better grade in their papers
and become overall better writers of English. Just as it was mentioned
in the article, many tutors are not experienced or trained enough to
tutor ESL students. This is not to say they don’t know how to teach or
how to write in English, but rather that they may not be able to
familiarize themselves with how the ESL speaker is writing. And so,
they focus more on correcting simple grammatical errors, word choice,
or punctuation mistakes to name a few. But what they often forget
about is that the ESL speaker is probably just not familiar enough the
colloquial language, which greatly interferes with how you clearly
express yourself in writing. It may sound funny to say that I think
the best tutors for ESL students would be tutors who once were ESL
students themselves, and later gained sufficient proficiency in the
language to the level of native speakers or beyond. These tutors
already know where the ESL student in coming from, because he or she
was once there too. And they can also help the students advance by
giving advice from their own personal experience.

The Needed Fight For Dehumanization

The articles “Pedagogy of The Oppressed,” by Paulo Freire, and “The Silence Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children,” by Lisa D. Delpit, talk about something called Power and Oppression in our world. Although both articles refer to their subject in different ways, they are essentially the same, and can be both seen simply as matter of “dominance.” In the article by Delpit, we are enlightened of how power works in education, with the examples of the pre-dominantly white educators having more voice over the non-white. And this idea of power is further described as having a shape and form, where it is normally manifested in various ways, such as in a certain way of speaking, writing, dressing, arguing, and even interacting. The article informs that commonly, white people are more prone to behave by this code of power, more so than non-whites, and so it is easier for them to have a definitive say in the end on spoken matters and decision making. Similarly, the article by Freire, we are informed of how oppression is an issue in the world that is often the result of dehumanization. We informed that to some extent, the “oppressed” are often times turned into oppressors too because of the idea that that is how a person presents power or has power in the world. Because these two terms “power” and “oppression” are so similar, I’d like to think of it as dominance. In this case, how dominance is manifested in our world. And I think it is a big issue that should be fixed, in order to have a more fairly-working society.

Personally speaking on this issue, I think dominance is always part of our daily life. It is so hard to escape that the only possible way for you escape it is by being away from other people all alone. But the moment you are close to another person, the idea of dominance always comes out. Sometimes it might be visible and other might not. Yet, it’s likely it is always present as you deal with other people in groups or in one-on-one interactions. This is possibly because of the natural balance of inequality and differences in our world (social status, race, skin color, level of intelligence, ect…). Touching on what was said in Freire’s article, the idea of oppression (or dominance) is mostly apparent in the work force and with success. In this case, the person on top is the leader and the person on the bottom is the peasant, follower, or minion. And even when we try to fight the unpleasant thought of it, it is still present passively. Just look at the example of a person who is a CEO at a company and his underlings. His commands and words, to some degree are obsolete, within the company and the employment status of the underlings. They follow all commands and orders, not only because they may fear for their jobs, but also because they understand that this is how it works. And despite how many times he might dehumanize them or oppress them when, deep inside, they too would most like to like one day be the dominant person. So the idea of dominance is build into them unseen, to the point when they also become oppressive because such oppression shows what power looks like.

Similarly, touching on Delpit’s article, this idea of power is also present in education. And why not, you may ask? The examples they used were that of how different educators rank in authority (of voice and decision making) among themselves when making changes to pedagogical policies and regulations. In such case, the white predominant educators were accused, by the non-whites, of being in power just because of them being white. But I agree with Delpit, that there is more to it than just race and skin color. And perhaps the idea of them being in more positions of power is related to the notion that more whites simply adopt characteristics that resemble “power,” and so they are automatically assigned power. Just like love looks in a certain way, power does too, and behaving appropriately to it will seem to make it easier for a person to have it. And so in this case, the predominant whites will seem not to care about the voice of others, and only care about theirs. But this is ultimately questionable.

The point that I see from these articles in relation to what I like to call dominance, is that power and oppression may appear to be evil, as they somewhat create feelings of dehumanization in certain groups of people. I’m not disagreeing with this probable fact, but I like to think that there is a reason to why we have these two, and why the manifestation of it is almost unavoidable regardless of the setting. Interestingly enough, the articles did emphasize on why these two exist and their functionality. I do think, however, whether there are good things about them or bad, that each day we should try harder to not dehumanize others, regardless of their status, race, skin color, level of intelligence, and anything else relating a person. 

Reaction to “Students’ Rights to their Own Text” and “Civically Engaged Writing”

Lil Brannon and C.H. Knoblauch talk about the importance of students’ right to a voice in “On Student’s Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response.” Interestingly enough, they associate voice in here with something called “authority”. This is the power (in a sense) that the author or writer holds with their work, as the readers reads and responds to it. The notion that an author (expert writer) writes a piece and the audience who reads it accept it as a credible or respectable thing is enough evidence of such authority. This is because the reader, when reading a piece from the author brings the expectation that the person behind the work must be on expert on the subject, have done some formal type of research, or simply knows what they are talking about. And it is in this sense, that authors are similar to teachers, and readers (the audience) are the students.

Even in the classroom, such form of authority when it comes to writing exists. This idea over writing is one I find myself agreeing with the authors, since I have also experienced first-hand the many factors they talk about in the article, not only as a student of writing but also as an amateur-writer. The problem with this authority, as you might think of it, is that it works a bit different in the classroom. As mentioned in the article, the teachers who hold such authority on writing, have a fixed type of expectations of what writing should look like coming from the students. And their expectations are imposed on the students themselves, in a way that almost discourages the students to write with their own voice.

Bringing my personal experience, I think that authority and voice are connected so deeply that we have to be careful how we use it, depending on the circumstances under which we write. When you are just an author who is writing for an audience, you have the freedom to write with your voice. Fortunately, you won’t across many people telling you how to write, since as an author you already naturally given a sense of respect, trust, and even credibility over the subject or topic you are writing on. This is especially true when writing projects on your own will, and not as a part of a requirement from another person, group, or party. This freedom alone to write how you want and like allows for your voice to come out as a writer. But it is also interesting to say that often times, the tables switch in the role of teaching, even if you are teaching from the perspective of an author. This is possibly (and I say possibly because this is an argument which can go many ways) because a type of platonic discourse already build in the mind of the person teaching.

What supports this idea even more is the fact that “the teacher’s role, it is supposed, is to tell the writers [student writers] how to do a better job than they could do alone, thereby in effect appropriating the writers’ texts” (Brannon, L., and Knoblauch, C.H., 158). And so the students are almost obligated to write for this person in a fashion that limits their own way of expression. And in an extreme case, there will be limitations on the student’s own vocabulary, personal opinion, writing style, syntax, and much more. As writing students we come across so many assignments (especially as high school students or college freshman) that limit our form of expression because of demanding expectations by our teachers or professors. When our writing goes off track from this road, it will be graded and interpreted differently. Often, it will be regarded as poor writing, too informal, and undirected by an academic format (such as formulaic writing). And who is the student to counter the teachers’ authority in the end? There is already a supposed reason you are a student and must follow all guidelines, even at the cost of limiting your freedom of expression when writing.

Similar to this article on authority and voice, National Writing Project’s article “Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum” talks about development of voice through civic writing. This form of writing is one that is more publicly engaging with the writer writing in many social forms: text, memes, infographics, and through videos. Because this form of writing is not for academia or meant to follow on strict guidelines or rubrics, there is more freedom which naturally results in the supporting of a voice. But the voice developed here is one for a more general audience, although there are cases when a selected audience it the main target. In a sense, this forma of writing helps the development of a public voice, where “the writing employs rhetorical strategies, tone, and style to contribute to civic discourse or influence action…” (Civically Engaged Writing,.., What Are The Attributes of Civic Writing).

Although it might be seen a different form of writing, I think that it is probably the purest form of voice writer can have. Just thinking about it makes it all the more clear. You are writing in this case with the freedom to say what you want and however you want, while keeping in mind your audience, topic, and arguments. What better way of developing and showcasing your voice as a writer than performing civic writing. Because of this idea, I think that it is possible to civic writing to be the best way to develop a voice, in the case you haven’t found it as a writer yet. It might be surprising that some writer still don’t know they own voice. But I didn’t know I had one until I was a sophomore student in college. I imagine this being the case for other writers too, especially amateur writer like myself. It took me hundreds of papers written in different forms, for different type of audiences and classes and even writing outside of school settings, to come close to understanding the concept of having a voice.

Today, I think of my own voice as a selection or rather a collection of words choices, a build vocabulary, syntax, writing style, form of expression, and even my own knowledge and experiences. All of these come together to not only facilitate the way I express myself when writing. This is because in the end, when I write, I am expressing myself (idea, arguments, ect..) through this system of communication, and how I do it is different from how others do it. This is what I have come to learn about my voice, and why it matter for me to have one. I also think it matter for everyone to have one, even if sometimes they are obligated not to, or limited to their voice. Only robots don’t have a voice, and even that is questionable because they too can be given one, even if it is generic.

Citations

Brannon, L., and Knoblauch, C.H. “On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response.” College Composition and Communication, Vol. 33, No. 2, May 1982. 157-166.

“Civically Engaged Writing Analysis Continuum.” National Writing Project. Http://cewac.nwp.org/.

Formulaic Writing Might Lack Voice and Audience

The article “The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (and Why We Need to Resist)” talks about how formula in writing can be a double edge sword, as it is better suited for amateur writing (beginners), but not the best choice for experienced writers. This type of writing refers to the four-paragraph essay format, which is taught to students early in education, and enforced all the way through high school. The article mention that this is a popular writing format that should be somewhat resisted because it hinders a writer with exploration when they write.

I personally can share my own take on this issue, which is on in favor of the argument being stressed in here. I too, like many other students, was taught this writing format and was forced to use it in my early years of education. If I wrote in a different format that when off in a different path (with more freedom), my writing was graded poorly. This is because my middle school and high school teachers all strongly supported this format. At first, years ago, I thought that this was required of me because I was an amateur and I didn’t know anything about writing. But now that I am older, and I think I know a little more, I can see why such writing format could have been changed a little, to give students a little more exploration and freedom.

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Looking at the example provided in the article, we can see the strict formula to writing an essay, according to this format. Where is the sense of freedom, especially if you are trying to appeal to a certain audience in your writing. Do you always need intro and hook at the beginning of the essay? What if the audience is already familiar with your topic because is common knowledge, and you can be more direct to the subject at matter. This also brings up the question of whether “voice” is even considered in such elementary type of writing. In such case, you might bore them with introductions and hooks before they even get to the meat of the paper. But according to this format, you should do it all the time, and many times you should do it in a chronological way, where you are normally expected to you intro at the top and conclusion at the bottom.

The consideration of these two (audience and voice) are very important in writing, especially in college. But it seems that the four-paragraph essay method is poorly preparing students for higher levels of writing because of this custom which has become traditional at this point. And to be honest, I also feel that the idea of exploration and freedom are not strongly encouraged. The freedom and exploration I refer to is simply: having the ability to write in whatever format allows you to clearly express yourself through your writing; being able to think of other factors that are part of your writing and write in regards to them (e.g. audience, voice, and style).

The truth, to some degree, is that in later years of your writing (if you choose to become an experience writer) you will not think about the “four-paragraph essay format”. And when you do get to use part of it, you will still do it juggling a lot of other writing techniques to better write your piece. This is actually something I find myself doing right now, as a more experienced writer. I no longer just abide by the elementary format of writing because I have learned that it is just the “baby steps” (teaching you the importance of organization and clarity in writing). But once you have learned much about writing, you have more freedom and exploration on how you can have efficient writing, while still being clear and organized with you ideas and content.

Evaluations To Improve Your Writing

Reading this week’s article “Writing Assessment”, by Kathleen B Yancey, was interesting for me because I found myself building connections with the context. The article talks about how writing assessments focus on not only evaluating the writing students of students, but also evaluating schools on their teaching pedagogy and approaches. It also states that is the heart of composition studies, both for students and schools, since it provide students with a sense of reflection on their writing and schools with information on how the students are learning writing.

One reason I found myself agreeing with the claims of this article is because it claims that  writing assessments helps student writers with reflection and feedback on their writing, which is important for their skills and knowledge. This takes me back to two forms of writing assessments I have become familiar with over the years, as a student of composition. These forms in which I, which is supported by this article, is that writing assessments can fall in two ways: one is where a student’s writing is assessed and evaluated; the other where the students completes and assessment on his or her writing by themselves. Regardless of what it might be or be called, we can say it writing assessments are very important for writers. So it is hard to argue that it might not be called “the heart of it.” Either way, I think they work as a way of reflection on our writing as students. In regards to the first way of assessment I mentioned above, I think this one is key when it comes to helping writers further develop their skills and knowledge in the field. The first reason I have for believing this is because, as a student of writing, I sometimes write for my classes at my school, but not many times I receive feedback that is measured and gauged by a set-writing-system. What I mean by this is that oftentimes, I don’t receive enough evaluated feedback on my writing that is measured by a pedagogical system (that takes into account various aspects of writing), which serves as a standardized format for writing. But luckily, I have taken classes where my work as been part of strict assessment where my work as been evaluated in various forms: grammar, syntax, voice, word choice, writing fluidity, clarity with ideas and concepts, outline, sentence construction, writing style, audience consideration, and the list goes on and on. Some of the assessments have focused only in a few of the above from a large list of things that could be evaluated, but other have focused on more. When being evaluated like this, with my writing, I always get a type of feedback that is somewhat different from others. This is possible to the fact that this type of evaluation is not meant to be personal, but rather general, as it appeals to the writing of all students in general, and in how they grade on a gauge taking into accounts the various things that go into writing.

Similarly, the other type of assessment I found myself understanding from the article, and one which I am personally familiar with, is that of when students are made responsible for their own personal writing assessments. Although this one might not be as formal as the first one I mention before, it is still a way for them to reflect on their writing and still gain some feedback. Remembering some of my classes I took in previous semester at my school, I did have to complete this type of assessment at the end of the semester. I remember the first time I was introduced to it feeling weird about it, since normally another party is responsible for evaluating you, not you evaluating yourself. But with time, I became used to it, and came to learn that it is just as useful when providing me feedback (in this case personal feedback) on my own writing and my process. In this case, I enjoyed being responsible for my own evaluation and judging my writing in a fair manner, not taking into account that I am the writer. It forced me to think about the things I knew where probably incorrect or could be improved for more efficient writing. It also allowed me to be honest with myself on where I feel I am week, and on what I need to strengthen, as part of my writing.

Today I am still victim of these two forms of assessment, which come together as a whole in the end, as they work for the same goal: to provide the student with reflection and feedback  on their skills and writing. I do agree that writing assessments are important for writer because it helps give us a better understanding on where we gauge as writing, the things we have correctly, and how we can improve, according to the socially accepted  and expected standards for writing.

Writing Really Feels Like A Process!

Reading the articles for this week’s reading on writing was interesting to me. I found them interesting because not only did I find a connection with the articles, but also because I came into agreement with various of the arguments and concepts being stressed.

First off, the article of Teaching Writing as Process Not Product, by Donald Murray, talks in detail about many teachers of writing teach this subject to their students and how they evaluate the writings. In this case, teachers often treat writing as a product and many times not a process, where their skills are normally honed and focused on the examining of literature. The focus on the writing of the students is based on what they have done and not so much on what they are doing, and how they are going about it (process). Students are similarly graded with this in mind, where their overall product is examined for a grade (grammar, correct vocabulary depending on the assignment, and others).

After talking about this, the article touched on the counter-argument that it should be like this, and that the writing of students should be seen as a process by teachers. And in this sense, teachers should listen then respond to their students writing. They also should respect the students writing not by standard grading measures, but rather by their engagement to their writing.

This is an argument that is easy for me to relate to as a student of writing, mainly because in the past, I have found myself many times being victim of inaccurate evaluation (of my writing) by a few teachers and professors. And I wished that my writing had been looked at in another way when being evaluated. During those these times, my writings (mostly academic papers) were evaluated in a manner that I felt was a bit unfair. More often than not, the person evaluating my works seemed to be paying more attention to mindless things, such as grammar, type of words used (which by the way, it my own built vocabulary), . But my overall message or context was often not taken into account as much. If I had to give it a percentage, I would say my message and context was the focus in their evaluations about 20%, while about 80% was focused on other factors. This was the case with one of my papers recently for a class of communication I am taking this semester. It was a 4 page paper, and after I receiving it back from my professor, I noticed how much he had circled, and X (ed) my sentences. But such correction, I felt, were not addressing my argument and message in the writing. It was more like: you didn’t write this sentence the way I would have, as your professor; you didn’t use the word or vocabulary I want you to use; you gave me more details and explanation that I wanted; you…. (the list goes on and on). The, he marked me a grade of in the back of my paper, which I felt should have been a bit higher.

So, yes, I have to find myself agreeing with this article on this topic of how often the student’s papers are treated (product) and how they are evaluated. It’s hard not to agree, when you are victim of it various times as a writing student.

In addition, I also found a connection with the other article of Bad Ideas About Writing (Writer’s Block Just Happens To People). This one seems to be on a different topic of writing, yet I was able to still find a connection to the first one. Despite being an article that I found to wanders off with ideas all over the place, there is a message which is argued. This message is one on how to deal with writer’s block: you facilitate writing by embracing the “blank page” and by playing with words and names. And by doing so, you negate the problem of writer’s block. This is because you will get into a writing process by actively writing or working with writing. This process is what I found in connection with the previous article. And it helps remind me that even when dealing with other issues of writing, you are still caught in a process. This process can be seen in so many ways. Some of my examples are when working on a major writing project. At first, I must brainstorm ideas and come up with a chosen subject, topic, decide on my audience, and so on. But doing so, might not come fast sometimes, and might require me to come juggle my ideas until I have what I want. And once this is done, then I work on the crafting of my writing. This part is not as simple as just grabbing a piece of paper and writing on it. Sometimes my ideas don’t come to me easily, while other times I need to feel inspired by something which will help facilitate my writing. Another example is that of when I’m stuck on my writing and I can’t generate any ideas or my writing just doesn’t seem to flow because I’m experiencing writer’s block. Often, I try practices like free writing to get out of it, but other times I simply need to just walk away from my paper and come back the next time. Other times, all I have to do is simply follow on a set amount of steps, which I have gotten used to from previous crafted works.

In this sense, I can see my own writing as a process; one that varies each time depending on certain conditions. As I have covered all of this, it is easy for me to see why writing should be regarded, taught to students, and treated as such. It is sometimes long, complex, and ever-changing, and it takes each individual though a different writing journey or experience.