Made Not Only in Words
I thought that Yancey’s article was a great read. I like that she includes the histories behind the four quadrants of writing. As I read more of her article I’m beginning to notice that this style of dividing topics or subgroup topics of composition and connecting them with appropriate histories is her thing or should I say is her trademark. Yancey begins the article by talking about the exciting changes that has and is still taking place in composition. As I read further into her article I came across a question that that she ask that took me back to the twitter chat session when we were asked to answer the question how have writing change? Yancey writes, “Never before have writing and composing generated such diversity in definition. What do our references to writing mean?” Again, the question took me back and made me think of the impact technology has had on writing. Like for example when I think of writing, in any genre or writing for any matter I don’t simply think of word on paper. I think of sensory. And when I say sensory I don’t mean metaphorically or sensory details that can only be obtain in the though or mind when writing on a blank paper. I’m talking about sensory details that are brought forth by technology and that are instantly accessible, already connected, and that brings forth powerful reaction and more importantly sensory that has subliminal influences. For example, like imagery, emotion, voice, and sound, music that technology brings on. I am able to think about and use these new forms of sensory details all because I am part of the digital world. Yancey eventually gave her answer to the question she had asked and also provided her stance on standardize writing. Yancey writes, “Do they mean print only? That's definitely what writing is if we look at national assessments, assuming that the assessment includes writing at all and is not strictly a test of grammar and usage. According to these assessments-an alphabet soup of assessments, the SAT, the NEAP, the ACT-writing IS "words on paper," composed on the page with a pen or pencil by students who write words on paper, yes-but who also compose words and images and create audio files on Web logs (blogs), in word processors, with video editors and Web editors and in e-mail and on presentation software and in instant messaging and on listservs and on bulletin boards-and no doubt in whatever genre will emerge in the next ten minutes.” Overall in this article I feel that Yancey is urging writing teachers and the education sector which to her seems to be lagging behind these new and exciting changes and trends to move in step with current times, so that writing can continue to evolve.
The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing
Although, Selfe’s article was a bit long I think the point that she is making is very similar to Yancey’s article, “ Made Not only on Words.” And just like Yancey, Selfe also includes the histories regarding composition and aurality
. In her article she basically argues that the current way composition is viewed and taught is limiting students. She states,“our contemporary adherence to alphabetic only composition constrains the semiotic efforts of individuals and groups who value
multiple modalities of expression.” Again like Yancey, Selfe urges educators to move in step with the different forms of modalities in writing because she states that these modalities are not only becoming important for human communication, but by doing so educators can better assist their students in becoming effective communicators in the future.
YetYet another powerful article about commenting on student’s paper. The tone of this article was a bit different from the others though. I thought this author had a lighter and almost humorous tone to his message. He began by saying that despite the expanded quote of our inquiry and deepen discussions that we have continue to look at responses in dualistic ways. He sates, “teacher commentary is either directive or facilitative, authoritative or collaborative, teacher-based or student-based.” In this article he tried to identify the focus and modes of comment styles labeled “directive” a controlling system and “facilitative” using the comments of known composition teachers. Straub begins by examining several teachers’ comments on students’ paper. Comparing these students’ papers he found that the teacher’s comments are highly controlling. Straub states, “The teacher, like an editor, freely marks up the writing-circling errors, underlining problem areas, and inserting corrections on the student's text.” He assert that the comments written on these student’s papers don’t tell the students what is wrong with their writing and what need to be change. Straub conclude that the more comment a teacher makes on student’s paper, the more controlling the teacher is likely to be. This applied more so to the teachers who make numerous specific comments on local matter. He also concluded that the more a teacher looks at student writing processes and tried to focus on the writer’s development and not the development of the specific text, the less likely the teacher is to point out specific changes in the text.
He went on to talk more about the different type of comments. For example he concluded that comments framed as corrections exert greater control over the student than criticism of the writing. He also added that praise comments are less controlling than criticism or commands because they place the teacher in the role of the appreciative reader. However, they can decrease the teacher’s values and agenda and contain a certain degree of control over how the student views his/her own text and how she/ revises. At the end Straub came to the conclusion that all l teacher’s comment regardless of their style or techniques are evaluative, but the question of how teachers exert their power over students still remain. While reading this I had to pause a couple of time to make sure that I wasn’t rereading last week’s article “Writing Assessment in the 21stCentury, also by Yancey. It’s pretty much echo what she said in that previous article. In this article she also divides the history of writing assessment into three “waves.” The first wave (1950-1970) she states focused on objective, non-essay testing that prioritized “efficiency and reliability.” The second wave (1970-1986) which she claims moved towards holistic scoring of essays, based on rubrics and scoring guides first developed through ETS and AP. The third wave (1986-present) developed to include portfolios and larger, programmatic assessments. Yancey looks at these waves from several perspectives. One includes how the concepts of reliability and validity are viewed, the other is the local knowledge of the non-expert teacher. Again just like in the last article Yancey voices her concerns for the state of writing assessments. She also provides guidance on how to further practice in writing assessment.
“The paper graders are here, sir. Shall I send them in?”
The article written by John Bean was a nice read. The opening statement about teachers forgetting the human being who wrote the word and then becoming so harsh and sarcastic that they let their irritation show on the pages reminded me of the cartoon strip above. It is true writing teachers sometimes are too harsh of a critic. The article also reminded me of Peter Elbow, Nancy Sommers, and Donald Murray’s main points all wrapped up in one regarding constructive feedback. Especially the comment about writing teachers being coaches at the drafting stage and being judges at the final stage. This idea of teacher’s being “coaches” during the writing process was a common theme among these three authors I’ve mentioned above. Although, John Bean’s view point seemed like reiteration of the other authors we read about, the style in which he wrote this article was different. He not only talked from the student’s view point he also provided a sympathetic perspective. He stated, “We let our irritation show on the pages even though we know how we ourselves feel when we ask a colleague to read one of our drafts (apologetic and vulnerable).” This thoughtful approach make you want to reconsider your method if you are one of those teachers who shows no sensitivity towards student’s work and progress. Bean also included student’s reaction and view point to teachers’ comments on their paper and alongside that he provided ideas of positive commentary. Bean further provided advice on constructive feedback and how to properly guide students through the writing process. Again, this article was a great read because it offered in details the proper way to guide and communicate to students throughout the writing process and it also gave great tips on how to implement positive commentary without insulting or devaluing students’ work. Beach and Friedrich’s article is very similar to the many articles that I have read in terms of discussing and providing guidelines on the effective ways teachers can provide feedback. Although Beach and Friedrich article dated a little later than the others, I don’t think they mentioned anything new that haven’t been said already by the many others that had covered this topic. They did however categorize their main points and included several research findings to back up their arguments. Even the research findings and their recommendations were conclusive in their approach and remediation. That goes to show you that there was and still is a general consensus regarding this topic. Everyone (meaning the authors who had covered this topics and even the students and teachers who had read these articles) pretty much agree that without effective feedback from teachers, students will not engage in substantive self-assessment and revision that can help students improve their writing. It is pretty much agreed upon that teachers’ feedback need to be specific and nonjudgmental in order for it to be effective, and it is pretty much agreed upon that that various strategies need to be implemented into the writing class to further help develop the writer and the writing process. Having read yet another article on responding to students’ paper led me to believe that there was and still is a lot of focus in this area, but current writing classes do not reflect or put to practice some of these ideas and strategies recommended through these researches because the last I remember I was still getting vague feedbacks and given really no room for self-assessment in some of my college classes and last I remember my teacher colleagues were doing something similar with their lower grade students. Overall I enjoyed reading the article and I will be using a lot of the strategies and tips recommended.