All posts by kevinkourakos

Autoethnography

This week we are discussing and taking a dive into autoethnography.  Essentially, this is the idea of using personal experience and anecdotes in a way to enhance our research.  It almost sounds like an oxymoron of sorts; how could one’s own personal experience be a part of research? I think after taking in the information from the article I can now see how it can be used.  FIrst, we get a kind of broad description of this method of research. It is described as describing and analyzing personal experience to understand cultural experience. From there, In the next section, it is brought up that this type of research would widley rely on epiphanies, which are the larger moments that are more likely to stick with a person after any event.  It made me reflect on some of my own experiences and where these epiphanies have happened for me. I thought that was a particularly good point, as epiphanies are what happens when something truly begins to make sense to someone. By using these examples in writing and research, we can see how the overall point of what it is we are talking about has affected us and in some cases acted as the inspiration to make the inquiry that we did, which I feel is very important.  It is kind of like not losing sight of what is important to you, in a sense. That personal experience that brought you here in the first place should be something that is always in the back of your head, as that is conceivably the driving force behind the decision to do the research in the first place.

The next part of this entire method is the ways in which the author can go about showing these things.  “Most often through the use of conversation, showing allows writers to make events engaging and emotionally rich. “Telling” is a writing strategy that works with “showing” in that it provides readers some distance from the events described so that they might think about the events in a more abstract way.”  This is how the authors described it and I found it to be the most helpful in terms of truly understanding what it was to “show” and how the “showing” shoud be done. The idea of removing one from the larger picture is a great way to visualize how something is affecting people on a much deeper kind of level.  It becomes very circumstantial in that there are variables surrounding each individual tale that can all aggregate to a reason behind why and how someone is feeling from a particular event or instance. I am a big proponent of using personal anecdotes in writing, I just never saw these personal stories as a tool that could be used in the type of academic research we are conditioning ourselves to do.  

This reading brought up many good questions for me, as follows: 

  1. Which other research methods do you think would work best with this method?  Is it universal in its application to all of them? 
  2. What kinds of studies could be shut off from the possibility of using this type of method, and why? 
  3. Does personal experience really matter in terms of academic research? 

I again want to take a moment to say I hope all of you are doing okay, and thank Dr. Nelson for doing his part in creating a plan for us to move forward with our semester.  Just like I’m sure is true for all of you as well, I am very much looking forward to resuming our studies and program as it was intended.

Using Language

First off, I would like to acknowledge what is going on right now.  I hope you all are staying safe and taking all precautions necessary during this unprecedented time.  I miss seeing you guys, and I know we will make this work online for the time being. With that said, lets jump into this weeks reading:

This weeks reading goes over the idea language and how we interact with it in multiple different settings.  Language is our medium for communication, but it can be quite dynamic by nature. It is not only a mode of communication, rather it is a part of the way we are and the way we act.  In the article, it is mentioned how we use it to open meetings and inform others of issues. Look at how the current COVID-19 situation is unfolding and the use of language and rhetoric is being used.   We are living in a type of hysteria at the moment, and I would venture to say that the language that has been used in the reporting on this pandemic has certainly had a tangible effect. Just in this recent situation alone, you can see the tangible power of language.  Depending on the coverage and message it is they want to get across. Hysteria is born out of the creative and calculated use of language, and that is what we are seeing happen around us right now.

The nostalgia factor in this article was really nice as we got to read about the nuance of language in one of my favorite childhood TV shows/card games Yu-Gi-Oh.  The article highlights how the text on the cards that are used for the card game, there is a nuance to it that would be difficult to understand if you do not play the game or are not familiar with the TV show.  While, in a vacuum, the words are the same words we use in countless other situations, it can be difficult to understand what they mean in this instance without the context of knowing what the show is about and how the game works.  The driver of the specific meaning of the language in instances like this is directly correlated with understanding the game behind it. This, I thought, was a great example of how language can be used in a manner in which the words are the same, but understanding the underlying context drives how we process it.  I really liked this example as an illustration of this point. Language is versatile and can be used to relay a number of emotions and feelings. Writing can be a difficult exercise in terms of conveying these emotions and inflection, but that is where we can get creative with how we use language to illustrate our feelings and opinions.  

Questions:

  1. What are some useful tips for using language in our writing to be clear with our points coupled with the desired emotion.  
  2. How can we teach these ideas in a clear fashion for students to learn to be effective in using language in multiple situations? 
  3. Looking at the coronavirus coverage, we see how language can be used to mobilize and create urgency.  What are we seeing? Would you describe the rhetoric as responsible? 

Building Blocks and Case Study

Dr. Nelsons article on Building Blocks was an informative read.  The overall theme of the reading was essentially in the context of a case study involving international students and their ability to learn English.  Using Hollands model of complex systems, Dr. Nelson breaks down all of the “building blocks” that are used in such a method in studying how these students went about their education in English as a second language.  There were a couple of anecdotes I found particularly interesting involving the use of powerpoint and the other being the use of music and the students experience and use of piano in ways to aid them in their education in English.  From start to finish, you see how the study took shape and how the information was taken from these individual pieces of information and morphed into a much larger, significant study on how English is taught, and adjustments that could be made to create a more effective and unified way.  

The major terms from the reading were the four properties and three mechanisms: 

4 Properties 

  1. Aggregation- Grouping together information to form categories to create building blocks as well as understanding how these different categories behave. 
  2. Nonlinearity- The behavior of the whole cannot be broken down to the sum of the parts 
  3. Flows- Movement of resources among agents via connectors that vary according to the system
  4. Diversity- Having a base with all different backgrounds and life experiences

3 Mechanisms

  1. Tagging- Facilitates selective interactions and thus the formation of aggregates
  2. Schemas- Described as internal models used for anticipating situations.
  3. Building Blocks- Emphasis on interactions, adaptation, and emergence

Given the other reading on Case Studies we read for this week, this article by Dr. Nelson was a great way to kind of understand it, as it felt very similar to what the case study article was conveying in the information about conducting a case study.  As Dr. Nelson mentioned in his article about having to see someone talk about something he had read to fully understand it, that is exactly how I felt reading this along with the explanation of case studies. Which, I must say, I really like the idea of case studies now that I got to read the theory alongside something that may not be an exact duplication, but more or less the same driving principles.  

It is hard for me to pick out anything that I may agree or disagree with because I had no preconceived notions about something like this going into it.  The one thing I will say, as far as the specific study goes, is I found the girl who used her methods of learning the piano in a manner that aided her in learning English as a second language to be fascinating.  My biggest takeaway from that, similar to our end of class discussion last week, while there are no studies that prove people learn differently, it seems possible through this anecdote that people can take aspects of their life outside academics, mainly their personal interests, to assimilate and create methods for them to learn in a more comfortable manner.  

Questions: 

  1. How interchangeable is a case study to Hollands methods?
  2. Are the individual methods able to cross over to a case study?
  3. How do you identify where you can turn something into a case study? 

Work Cited 

Nelson, Charles. “Building Blocks and Learning.” Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, journals.library.ualberta.ca/complicity/index.php/complicity/article/view/8714.

Zucker, Donna M. “How to Do Case Study Research.” ScholarWorks@UMass Amherst, scholarworks.umass.edu/nursing_faculty_pubs/2/.

Grounded Theory

This week, we are reading about grounded theory.  To summarize grounded theory, it is breaking down information into different categories, so that we can compartmentalize each part of what it is we are studying.  For example, words such as “anger, sadness, despair, etc.) can all be grouped together as the “emotions” category. Naming where each one of these things falls under is known as coding.  Once this is done, a deeper analysis is done to try and break down the categories further (subcategories). There is also this idea of “negative case analysis,” which can be used to eliminate certain pieces of information that do not fit, while simultaneously using them in a comparable sense for the data you are collecting.  The one aspect I believe to be the most important is theoretical saturation, which is when there are no more categories to be coded. This is a signifier that you can now truly begin to analyze the data and come to whatever conclusions you can or need to. The finer that you can break up these ideas, the more in depth you can look at the data.  All of this comes together and are the key moving parts in making grounded theory a reliable and effective way to analyze data and face an inquiry of study.

I enjoyed reading about grounded theory as it seems to be a mode of research that I am somewhat familiar with.  At its core, it sounds like the basics of research, and the article did a good job of breaking all of it down. With that said, I would like to go over grounded theory in our discussion in class this week to identify how exactly to enact it.  The steps make sense in theory, but going over it in depth from start to finish would be a great aid to me in my understanding. The example in the reading about nursing relationships is a good start to seeing this theory in practice, but I feel as though I need it explained to me alittle more so that I can really grasp how we can use it in our own course of study and research.  

In my own experience, I have not used an explicit version of this method, but I have done research in a manner where I broke down particular information down into different categories.  Never went as far as to break things down into subcategories, but I can say that coding everything down into categories made the final process of analyzing and presenting the research easier.  Grounded theory, at its core, seems to be an effective way to organize data so the analysis is as clear, concise, and measurable as possible.  

The questions I would ask in regards to this theory are as follows:

  1. What aspects of an inquiry would tell you that you need to use grounded theory?
  2. Is this something that can be utilized in our discipline of study?  How effective can it be? 
  3. What can we do to make it easier to understand for novice researchers? 

Work Cited

Grounded Theory Methodology. 2020, file:///home/chronos/u-6e6d7b03a899b210d6074e14d0fbb6372731b2d7/MyFiles/Downloads/CH07_Grounded_theory_methodology.pdf.

Hypertext v Linear Writing: A Study

The study that we read in regards to how hypertext can be used in a pedagogical manner was an interesting one to say the least.  An experiment to understand the differences between the linear method of teaching writing, and this thought of hypertext and how there may be some advantages to using such a method.  Group A was taught with a traditional linear method while Group B was taught with this newer method of hypertext learning. Hypertext essentially means that the student bounces around the content rather than writing everything in one linear form.  I think I appreciate this more being a millennial in 2020 because we find hyperlinks all over the internet in all of the content you consume, bringing you to some other piece of information that is related to what you’re already reading about, which I find in most cases can aid in your overall understanding of what information you are trying to learn or retain.

I honestly (like most of the class) had a bit of trouble understanding the reading at first, but after we went over it in class, I feel like I was able to get the broad strokes.  For me, the most prevalent term that aided my understanding was the idea of content learning. My initial run through this article, I did not pick up on it and how these different approaches to teaching could have a plus or minus affect on such a thing.  That, for me, is what I found to be most interesting, that there was a noticeable and quantitative difference in how students in these different groups learned the content that was being taught. It was found that the group who were being taught using the hypertext method actually tested better for learning the content than those who learned from a more tradition.  While it has been a long time since I have been in a statistics class, I remembered enough to recognize that the study had truly significant results. For instance, from the pretest to the post test, the Standard Deviation remained within 5, going from 2.2 to 4.98, signifying that this statistic is a significant one. 

Now, since this is all new to me on some level, I certainly do have a few questions in regards to the purpose of such a stuy.  While I agree that there is definitely some kind of difference between the learning strategies, and I called the data “significant,” just how significant can it be on a macro level?  This study was relatively small, so while I would not discount or discredit what research was done here, I would have to ask how consistent these results would be with a larger sample size.  Can it be replicated across multiple schools? Multiple states? All fun things to think about on this journey of trying to figure out exactly what it is the best way for students to be taught writing at that level.  One other question I would ask is was this the best method for testing this? I genuinely do not know, as I am sort of new to this entire space of deep academic research. Again, not saying that I think there is a better way, just curious about the other methods we have briefly discussed and how they could all come in and aid in the understanding this question of linear vs hypertext writing.  Finally, my last question is more of an introspective one. Would a study such as this eventually help me in writing my own thesis one day? Can I use this kind of model? I know I am a ways off from putting anything like that into action, but as we go through the semester, it is one I will constantly be asking when it comes to how I can conduct research for my thesis as we continue to go over the different methods of academic research.

Work Cited

Braaksma, Riljaardsdam, and van den Bergh, “Hypertext Writing and Observational Learning on Content Knowledge Acquisition, Self-efficacy, and Text Quality.” Journal of Writing Research (2002) 9(3):260-297). Accessed February 7, 2020, doc: 10.17239/jowr-2018.09.03.02

https://www.isko.org/cyclo/hypertext

Final Blog Post!

This semester has truly flown by.  Coming back to graduate school, I did not know exactly what to expect, especially in a field of study that I was totally unfamiliar with coming in.  I do believe that this class has been a great way to get reintroduced to being a student. Even more, I found that this class was a perfect environment for cultivating my writing and critical thinking skills.  Alot of that has to do with the collection of wonderful individuals that make up the Writing Theory and Practice class for the Fall of 2019. A diverse group who all have their own strengths and unique perspectives on the topics we have discussed. From Emily and her love for Horror to Dylan with his affinity for Calvin and Hobbes (and being a Mets fan, we share in that struggle) we have all been able to come together and create a truly inspiring experience and it is something that I will take with me through my journey through my education and in life.  That is why I love what we are doing for our final project. What each of us have in common is our unique perspective, and tapping into voice I think is the perfect way to do that. I look forward to having the chance to speak with each of you about the role voice has played in your life, and how this class, or any other life experiences helped you find that. Nieves and I have split everyone into little groups so that we can take 10 or so minutes to discuss our voices and how it plays a major role in what it is that we do professionally or personally. I also cannot wait to speak with those on the scholarly presentation team to figure out some opportunities to take this to different conferences and opportunities to present our work.  For those who will not be along on this journey after this course, know that your impact has been great and being apart of this with all of us has left a mark. Let’s finish this one strong guys!

Project Podcast

It is time for us to put together our final project and I am really excited for us to get started.  The overall idea of using a webpage where each of us can create and showcase our ideas in a fun, collaborative way.  What I have chosen to do for this project is to work in conjunction with Nieves on a podcast. With the overall theme of our project being “voice,” I think a podcast is a perfect medium for showcasing and discussing how we use our voice, and what goes into finding one’s voice.  I have been on a couple other podcasts, and having my own has been something I have wanted to do for some time now, so working through this project with Nieves may give me the jolt I need in order for me to get started with that. As the podcast idea pertains to our final project, I think it is a phenomenal way for us to discuss voice in a fun, yet deep and informative way.  Voice is so important because that “voice” helps to shape your identity in writing, performing, or anything else. I have mentioned in a previous blog post that the idea of remaining true to yourself and being authentic is really important. The podcast idea is a way for each of us to take a minute to discuss our voices and why they are important, as well as going on this kind of journey where we discover how each of us has been able to discover our voices.  I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Nieves on this, as she seems to have the same kind of excitement as I do for producing such a thing. We’ve talked about it and are chomping at the bit to get this idea in motion and to start doing all of the recordings with ourselves, as well as the rest of the class. My hope is that the final product will showcase each of us, our voices, and the journey that helped each of us to cultivate our voices.

For anyone that has ever listened to a podcast, they know they can go in any direction.  I prefer podcasts done by comedians, because I think they are funny, and I always wanted to have one of my own.  However, I also listen to a multitude of different types of podcasts that I find interesting, and I find that it can be inspiring to listen to.  And in a way, I hope that is what people can get out of this recording; an inspiring listen to help people to find their voice and use it a manner that is meaningful to them.

Now to the plan:  Nieves and I have decided to do a podcast that will highlight the idea of voice, and what voice means to each of us.  The way Nieves and I want to go about it is going to be very fun while also allowing for each of us to get in touch with whatever it is that gives us our voice.  Since I cannot offer a “draft” per se of what the podcast will look/sound like (especially because Nieves and I are still figuring all of that out) I am going to just pout out what I envision for this podcast.  Nieves and I plan on starting it off by discussing voice with each other. Why is it important to us? How did we find our voice? How do we intend on using our voice for whatever it is we want to accomplish? This dialogue will set the stage for what is to be the most important part of the segment we will be doing.  Once we finish discussing it on our own, we will then take 2-3 minutes with each of our classmates to get a sense of what their part of the project is and how they are using it within the context of our conversation on voice. I believe we have such a unique and diverse group to work with and we all have some wonderful ideas, so I think it would be really interesting for us to have a chance to discuss inspirations and projected outcomes as to what they hope to get out of the project.  Considering how many moving parts that we have for this website (Shout out to Patricia for putting it together!) I believe that we will create something fun, yet meaningful for all to enjoy. The podcast is a way for anyone who goes to the site and checks in on the work that we’ve done to get a look behind the curtain and see what drove each of us to add our particular parts for the project. I think anything that we can use as a vehicle for people to see into the process can be inspiring for them, and I think that is what excites so much about the project as a whole.  The opportunity to inspire others to find their voice and use it in a way that is meaningful and important to them.  

Brits, Leona. “Writer’s Voice: What It Is and How to Find Yours.” Medium, The Writing Cooperative, 19 Sept. 2019, writingcooperative.com/the-writers-voice-what-is-and-how-to-find-yours-ed82f1884984?gi=5d6a9d77fc2.

McClellan, Leah. “Writer’s Voice: What It Is and How to Develop Yours.” Simple Writing, 14 Oct. 2015, simplewriting.org/writers-voice/.

Project Podcast

It is time for us to put together our final project and I am really excited for us to get started.  The overall idea of using a webpage where each of us can create and showcase our ideas in a fun, collaborative way.  What I have chosen to do for this project is to work in conjunction with Nieves on a podcast. With the overall theme of our project being “voice,” I think a podcast is a perfect medium for showcasing and discussing how we use our voice, and what goes into finding one’s voice.  I have been on a couple other podcasts, and having my own has been something I have wanted to do for some time now, so working through this project with Nieves may give me the jolt I need in order for me to get started with that. As the podcast idea pertains to our final project, I think it is a phenomenal way for us to discuss voice in a fun, yet deep and informative way.  Voice is so important because that “voice” helps to shape your identity in writing, performing, or anything else. I have mentioned in a previous blog post that the idea of remaining true to yourself and being authentic is really important. The podcast idea is a way for each of us to take a minute to discuss our voices and why they are important, as well as going on this kind of journey where we discover how each of us has been able to discover our voices.  I am really excited to have the opportunity to work with Nieves on this, as she seems to have the same kind of excitement as I do for producing such a thing. We’ve talked about it and are chomping at the bit to get this idea in motion and to start doing all of the recordings with ourselves, as well as the rest of the class. My hope is that the final product will showcase each of us, our voices, and the journey that helped each of us to cultivate our voices.

For anyone that has ever listened to a podcast, they know they can go in any direction.  I prefer podcasts done by comedians, because I think they are funny, and I always wanted to have one of my own.  However, I also listen to a multitude of different types of podcasts that I find interesting, and I find that it can be inspiring to listen to.  And in a way, I hope that is what people can get out of this recording; an inspiring listen to help people to find their voice and use it a manner that is meaningful to them.

Now to the plan:  Nieves and I have decided to do a podcast that will highlight the idea of voice, and what voice means to each of us.  The way Nieves and I want to go about it is going to be very fun while also allowing for each of us to get in touch with whatever it is that gives us our voice.  Since I cannot offer a “draft” per se of what the podcast will look/sound like (especially because Nieves and I are still figuring all of that out) I am going to just pout out what I envision for this podcast.  Nieves and I plan on starting it off by discussing voice with each other. Why is it important to us? How did we find our voice? How do we intend on using our voice for whatever it is we want to accomplish? This dialogue will set the stage for what is to be the most important part of the segment we will be doing.  Once we finish discussing it on our own, we will then take 2-3 minutes with each of our classmates to get a sense of what their part of the project is and how they are using it within the context of our conversation on voice. I believe we have such a unique and diverse group to work with and we all have some wonderful ideas, so I think it would be really interesting for us to have a chance to discuss inspirations and projected outcomes as to what they hope to get out of the project.  Considering how many moving parts that we have for this website (Shout out to Patricia for putting it together!) I believe that we will create something fun, yet meaningful for all to enjoy. The podcast is a way for anyone who goes to the site and checks in on the work that we’ve done to get a look behind the curtain and see what drove each of us to add our particular parts for the project. I think anything that we can use as a vehicle for people to see into the process can be inspiring for them, and I think that is what excites so much about the project as a whole.  The opportunity to inspire others to find their voice and use it in a way that is meaningful and important to them.  

Brits, Leona. “Writer’s Voice: What It Is and How to Find Yours.” Medium, The Writing Cooperative, 19 Sept. 2019, writingcooperative.com/the-writers-voice-what-is-and-how-to-find-yours-ed82f1884984?gi=5d6a9d77fc2.

McClellan, Leah. “Writer’s Voice: What It Is and How to Develop Yours.” Simple Writing, 14 Oct. 2015, simplewriting.org/writers-voice/.

New Blog 11/25

With the semester coming to a close, it has come time for my classmates and I to collaborate and figure out what it is we want to do for our final project.  First off, I would like to mention how happy and proud I am of everyone for their presentations on the readings we’ve done this semester. I think you all did such an amazing job!  Now that we’ve finished the major theoretical part of this course, Dr. Zamora has left the final project in our hands. From deciding what it is we want to do for this project, to coming up with a strategy for our class to plan and execute whatever it is we want the final project to be.  I know class on Monday night is going to be fun one, as the time has finally come for us to sit at the table and negotiate how it is we are going to go about this final project. The first thing for me is to define what I want the learning outcomes to be. Similar to Linda, I would want to do something where we can present at one of the conferences Dr. Zamora was talking about, or to create some type of publication.  These two possible choices are important to me as I am hoping to continue on to a PhD once I finish this program, and I think presenting an academic work, or having such a work published would not only aid in any future application I send in, but also work to be a kind of introduction to this type of academic, scholarly work. With that being said, I do not think a work such as this can’t be fun and creative. That first night we began to discuss this project, I think we did a great job coming up with an array of different ideas that would be a great cherry on top for (most) of our first semester in graduate school.  I have a couple of ideas that I think would be a great deal of fun, while also allowing us to produce meaningful work that everybody could get excited about. 

  1. Collection of short stories and poetry- I cannot think of a better way for each one of us to tap into our creativity.  I think throughout the semester, we’ve done a great job of collectively finding our voice, and I think allowing each of us to tap into that creativity we can create something truly special and memorable.
  2. Variety Show- This one still taps into the creativity I mentioned above, but would allow us to do so in a more entertaining, “outside the box” manner.  What I was thinking for something like this would everyone could come up with something, like a comedy sketch, reading poetry, a small scene where we act; this is similar to the open mic idea, but this would be more thought out and planned.  
  3. Presentation on what we learned this semester- Considering how much time we’ve spent learning from Peter Elbow and other scholars this semester, I think it would be neat to kind of take a deeper dive into the things that we have already learned, and present it in such a way that is simplified, but does not lose any of the pertinent information of what we’ve done.  I think it would work two-fold in a way where we can inform others of what it is we learned, while simultaneously getting a better understanding of it ourselves.  

These ideas are merely a starting point for us, and I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of my classmates have come up with as ideas for us to collaborate on.  I’m sure we’re going to be having some spirited discussions and negotiations for how these last few weeks are going to shake out in terms of the project, and I am really excited for it.  See you all Monday night! 

Teaching ESL Students and Rubrics…AGAIN!

As someone who is admittedly unfamiliar with ESL programs, I found the Harris and Silva article to be fascinating.  Since a language barrier is not something that I needed to deal with, I never have put much thought into ESL programs and how to make them effective for students to learn.  It is an important facet of teaching, and I enjoyed reading about it. One element I particularly liked reading about was how teaching language meshes with teaching proper writing of the language.  For instance, when they start to talk about the different types of errors.This is where teaching writing goes hand in hand with teaching the language itself. The article talks about “global” and “local” errors.  Global errors being errors that will interfere with the readers understanding. The example they used in the text helped me to understand what the role of an ESL program is and what are the types of things that are being taught to the student.  “Those students are bored” is what the student was trying to say, while “Those students are boring” is what they actually said. “Those student are bored” is an example of a local error, as it is incorrect, but the meaning was not lost in the translation.  Teaching with this in mind must be difficult, as the direct translation of certain languages could be difficult to assimilate. The idea behind this is making sure that the student gets the most important information and can relay that information in the form of writing.  As someone who grew up learning the English language and not having to convert my first language into a second one, this explanation does bring home kind of what the purpose of ESL is and how it can and should be used. In the next part of the article, Harris and Silva then go on to talk about research that has gone into refining the process of teaching ESL.  They mention how each student and their needs from ESL can be different and they harp on the importance of ESL instruction being a 1:1 ratio, or at the very least, as small as possible so the student can get the greatest possible benefit. Teaching someone, not only a new language, but also how to use it and operate within a society that speaks, reads and writes it needs as much individualized attention as one could give.  And this is a misconception I had when I would think about ESL. My ill-informed assumption that each student simply does not understand English, and ESL was their way of learning the language. TO what I was saying above, it seems that this idea operates on a spectrum. A spectrum meaning that there is a discernible difference between not having an understanding of a language at all, and having enough of an understanding to communicate, but, rhetorically, has trouble making those thoughts and ideas in a coherent way for all of the readers to understand.  The translations do not always add up, so it falls on the educator to get across linguistics as a foundation before using it in a rhetorical sense. This is why individual instruction is so important, as I mentioned before. Each one of these ESL students could be at different junctures of learning and understanding the language. Finally, just like anything else we may do, Harris and Silva talk about setting goals in teaching and learning a language that isn’t your first. Spoken and written. Like anything else, the goals should be attainable, but should be from a challenging road.  The method described in the text is where I think something like this should be. Worry about what the most prevalent issues are. Not to say that the other, smaller errors are not important, but you need to make sure the student is getting a solid foundation and understanding before you load them up with a ton of work that is already inherently difficult for the student to understand. Teaching ESL is an important cog in the engine that is equitable education. Especially considering the melting pot that the United States has become over it’s history. While I lack the skills necessary to partake in a program such as this, it is interesting to learn about as a part of teaching and there are definitely principles of ESL teaching that I feel can be applied universally for all educational settings.

The second reading on rubrics I found to sort of reiterate what we have already gone over with rubrics and evaluation.  However, we now get to see what goes into creating a rubric and the criteria that governs its use. Again, while I understand the importance of rubrics, (and I am not an educator yet, so I am looking at things from a removed eye of sorts) I do think there is something that can get lost in using rubrics.  In the piece, we go over the technical of “analytical v holistic” and “generic v specific” but I believe writing can be so personal, and can be interpreted in as many ways as there are readers, I find it hard to apply parameters such as rubrics. Through our discussions, I have gained more of an understanding and appreciation for these evaluation methods and also now understand the need and importance of them.  As someone who is coming from a whole different world than most of my colleagues, I am still trying to learn and understand these things, and I am appreciative that I have been surrounded be such good and seasoned educators where I can begin to learn the nuance of teaching and what goes with it, including evaluations.