All posts by Valerie Allen

Nearing The Finish Line!

Pikachu’s Challenge 2: Relay Race

Congratulations to the Winning Idea!

According to an article published in the National Library of Medicine (2017), in light of various biological evidence and philosophical arguments discussed therein, it is most reasonable to support the notion that personhood status is present at the point of human fertilization, wherefore, my portion of the inspired Group Project, “The Stages of Growth” will embark upon a flash nonfiction journey that includes the development process of me becoming a mother and how I have grown from the human natural progression of motherhood.


  • Metamorphosis: Transformations of Life.


  • Digital and hardcopy in print.


There will indeed be a peer review of my writing process. I will undoubtedly call on a dear and intelligent colleague, who is often helpful in assisting me with a few past assignments. The peer review process will begin from the moment my writing process is drafted and completed before the group’s deadline date in preparation for publication.


I would like to engage as part of the book-producing team and organize and copyedit the BIO/Authors page(s). Additionally, I do think the group should consider a dedication page to the group members, the professor, and readers.  I also think there should be a cover page and the overall work shared via social media channels with the possibility of shining bright on, etc., and where all books are sold. Furthermore, I welcome the opportunity to present the finished product during Research Days, a webinar, and a workshop. Thus, I am willing to assist anyone who chooses, like the creators of the winning idea, Michael, Francesca, or others, to take charge of the “afterlife” plans for the project by way of conference presentations or events, etc.

Final – Group Project

How to create a curriculum. . .

Envisioning this Group Project in Publication

After stepping back and taking a careful look at each group member’s point of view relating to the questions asked about the Final Group Project, listed are my final summarized thoughts/feedback:

Right away, in making this project count, I yet agree with Michael’s upfront and transparent response. “We can make this class project meaningful by expanding our horizons and continuing to teach and inform each other through the process of working on it.” Therefore, I am on board with building a project that will contribute to betterment in some creative way. In other words, I want us to construct a co-written publication ꟷhandbook presenting a new curriculum for educators that provides a different approach to English writing studies. The concepts I want to focus on are multilingualism and multiculturism, artificial intelligence, and voice and healing in writing. I also want to see this curriculum taught in classrooms across various regions from America and beyond and designed to produce seminar and workshop events.

The table of contents should include:

  • Choosing a topic
  • A Teachable’s AI curriculum generator
  • Research our target audience and their pain points
  • Identify a clear purpose and outcomes
  • Create a list of milestones or lessons
  • Group lessons into sections
    • Implemented by each individual’s model of the concept(s):
      • Each group member expresses their experiences
      • Each group member contributes one chapter a piece
  • Estimate the time to complete
  • Compile course content, materials, and resources

By showing up, participating in giving it our all, and taking away essential elements that this group project will offer, I believe that working alongside each other will enable us to glean infamy wisdom and knowledge. Erik’s point is that we should make this project where we can freely express ourselves along with the works that we have read this semester and, indeed, add this work to our Resume/CV via something relatively visible. Moreover, like Rachel’s input, I would like us to feel very proud of this suggested publication and know that everyone had a hand in its creation.

Finding My Voice

Finding Your Writing Style

An increasing number of studies indicate that having people write about traumas can result in healthy improvements in social, psychological, behavioral, and biological measures; therefore, as an experiment case study, one of many of my distinct past childhood traumatic experiences ties into both readings relating to voice in expressive writing: If You’re Struggling to Write, Lead with Voice by Sonya Huber on Defining Voice and How to Use It and Expressive Writing, Emotional Upheavals, and Health by James W. Pennebaker and Cindy K. Chung. I am, too, a firm believer that writing can be used as a clinical tool to voice one’s inner emotions and feelings, in that expressive writing can significantly improve most health concerns (Huber p. 17). Thus, over the past Thanksgiving holiday, my family and I watched Maxine’s Baby, The Tyler Perry Story, via Amazon Prime. During a portion of the story, the documentary paused when my niece became very curious about a particular moment in our childhood that she had not heard, which aligned with Tyler Perry’s mother, Maxine’s version.

As our story goes, one warm sunny day, my teenage siblings and I were conversing in the backside of the kitchen. At the same time, without warning as to what had begun to escalate, we abruptly heard Dad yelling at the top of his lungs toward Mom (once again) as he strutted behind her into the kitchen. Only this time, instead of cursing and beating her nearly to death, he pulls out a gun and points it directly at her head while threatening to kill her. . . . (“Oh, My God, what is happening right now!”) . . .We, young teenagers, soon hoisted alongside Mom in a state of shock. It literally seemed like time had just stood still. It is no secret that Dad abused Mom on more than one occasion. But on this day, I was uncertain if she or we would live or die on that fatal diurnal. More importantly, what in the world could Mom have said or done to provoke such a traumatic scene? In our experience, it did not take much to set Dad off!

Nonetheless, with our hearts racing a mile a minute before Dad pulled the trigger, my brother bravely (or stupidly) jumped in between Dad, the gun, and Mom. As Tyler Perry’s cousin mentioned in the documentary, We were teenagers now, and obviously, my brother was unafraid to fight back (not that any child would need to). So, what now, my sisters and I thought, standing there trembling beside Mom, fearing for our lives. Then, much to our surprise, my brother raised to Dad and said, “If you shoot her, you’re going to have to shoot (take us all out!)” Wait! What did he say? “All of us?” I was completely frozen in time, and I surely did not want to see Mom die.

I cannot even begin to tell you what I envisioned after that. Furthermore, can you imagine my family being one of those families you read about in the headlines: “A Newark man murders his common-law wife and their four children.” One thing is for sure: had it happened the way it was intentionally planned, I would not be here to voice and write about it. But for the grace of God, it seemed that Dad was more shocked and frightened than we were, and he backed down. Long story short, because my brother instantaneously took a stand on our behalf, we survived that day to tell the tale and what could have been the end of our very existence. And, as unbelievable as the story may seem, on that warm sunny day, our Big Bro, a young teen, became our hero.

As Huber states, “Voices impel the telling, and the braiding and melody of their resonance and dissonance are what create an urgency in the tale.” The inner weaving in and out of one’s language and sounds of writing, in which I found an eager amount of earnestness to deliver this specific account of my life. Additionally, the good news is any time I might sense that my voice is shut down, suppressed, or ignored, the truth is that my voice is still present, often waiting to be channeled in a moment like this: exploring and naming multiple versions of myself at different points in time and experiment with the voices associated within me.

As Pennebaker and Chung Perhaps state, the most interesting has been the growing awareness that a single cause or theory cannot explain the value of expressive writing. In other words, expressive writing ultimately sets off a cascade of effects.  For the assigned chapter in the book, one of the more important discoveries is the effect of an improvement in physical health (Pennebaker and Chung, p. 37). And though they still don’t know for whom it works best, when it should be used, or when other techniques should be used in its place (Pennebaker and Chung, p. 37), I declare that expressive writing works well for me. It helps me to find my voice and channel the brutal pain embedded deep within. As a result, when I expressively write, I feel a sense of freedom and healing release from a painful dark past (mind, body, and soul) into much brighter sunnier days.

Is it or Isn’t It?

Ain’t No Reason . . .

There is so much to unpack inside this week’s assigned readings that leads to, I would say, some challenging answers. Therefore, I decided to dive into stand-out points, beginning with Bad Ideas About Writing, Edited by Cheryl E. Ball and Drew M. Loewe, in the Chapter of African American Language is Not Good English by Jennifer M. Cunningham. Cummingham states, “Linguists define languages according to their grammatical origins, not their vocabulary. For example, English is considered a Germanic language because its grammar follows Germanic rules, even though its vocabulary is largely French and Latin” (p. 89). This statement brings to a study on The Adventure of English, Episode 1 Birth of a Language via a BBC Documentary. As the story goes, the adventure begins in South Bank, London. The North Sea, now called the Netherlands in Friesland, is believed to sound close to modern language worldwide. Around the 5th Century, Germanic tribes contained parts of the Jutes, Angles, and Saxon families that took their language and ours with them to live a better life. Conversely, Germanic invaders slaughtered the Friesland Celts, and the Celts later adopted the Germanic culture and language. In the 6th Century, Germanic tribes occupied half of the mainland of Britain and divided it into three kingdoms: Kent, Sussex, and Wessex, which spoke various dialects. The Anglo-Saxons emerged speaking Old English, the language we Americans speak today from names to numbers, averaging about 5,000 words in active recovery. Soon, a Monk, Pryor Augustine, led a mission from Rome to Kent. (Allen 2020).

Additionally, reading that “African American Language is more grammatically African than English, even though its vocabulary is English” (p. 89) is surely a new concept to me. As often, after being introduced to these interesting, assigned readings, it urges me to gather another take on each subject matter. Thus, this reading is no different in scope out outside perspectives that tie into the conversation, explaining the difference between grammar and vocabulary in the language. Understanding that African American English does not follow the grammatical rules of Standard American English helps us realize that these are, in fact, two grammatically separate languages and cannot be compared to one another. In her book Talkin’ and Testifyin’, Geneva Smitherman breaks down the parallel between the grammar and structure rules in West African languages and African American English. She points out the repetition of noun subjects with pronouns, such as, “My father, he works there.” and uses the same verb form for all subjects, “I know; he knows; we know; they know” (Smitherman, 6-7). This example shows how the structure of the language does not coincide with that of Germanic languages but of languages from West African tribes such as Ibo, Yoruba, and Hausa. African-American English came to be because enslaved people had to apply their knowledge of West African grammatical rules and English vocabulary to bridge the gap and communicate with their masters. They adopted the English vocabulary and applied it to a different language, thus creating a new language, what is known as African-American English, which still holds influence today. Smitherman also demonstrates how African-American English has evolved over centuries in the United States and how the structure of the language remained the same. For example, throughout the evolution of the language, there are still sentence patterns that don’t use any form of the verb to be, which is commonly found in West African languages. (Bayan 2019).

Therefore, it does “follow logically that African American Language ought to be considered linguistically (according to scholars like Ernie Smith) an African language, separate from English, based on its grammatical origins in the Niger-Congo or western and southern parts of Africa” (p. 89). But I am not certain I concur or not with all the talk about the Black American Language being an accepted language. I guess I am so accustomed to the American Language that I cannot see a specific written language for Black people.

In the piece, We Been Knowin: Toward an Antiracist Language & Literacy Education by April Baker-Bell, James Baldwin quotes, “If Black English Isn’t a Language, Then Tell Me What Is?” (p.  6). struck a chord. And need I say that is the question? Without overthinking it,  we understand African American English is a language entirely different from the Standard American English that is spoken in professional environments, in classrooms, and textbooks. This language was created for the survival of enslaved Africans in the Americas, and over centuries has evolved into a language that is an entire culture. Author of the novel Manchild in the Promised Land, Claude Brown, calls this language the “language of the soul” and is appropriately named. This language was somehow able to keep the essence of its origins while taking on an entirely new vocabulary to create something that has survived for centuries. When comparing Standard American English to Black American English, there is no comparison. They cannot be compared to each other because they are two different languages with two different origins that happen to share the same vocabulary. This would be like trying to compare the Oromo language from Ethiopia to Mandarin from China or French to Tagalog from the Philippines. It is impossible to compare one language to another if the standards are different and the structures are different. Also, how can anyone determine how “good” a language is? If the message is being delivered and is understood, who is saying that a language is good or bad? One is not inferior to the other, so in regard to the original question, is African-American English good English? The answer is yes, it is good English. (Bayan 2019).

Followed by the question, “What is the purpose of a language education if it cannot be used for various sorts of freedom or save students’ lives?” (p. 7). It seems that Vershawn Ashanti Young: Should Writer’s Use They Own English? writing profoundly answers the question of whether we should, for instance, teach how language functions within and from various cultural perspectives. And we should teach what it takes to understand, listen, and write in multiple dialects simultaneously. We should teach how to let dialects comingle, sho nuff blend together, like blending the dialect Fish speak and the black vernacular that, say, a lot—certainly not all—black people speak (p. 112). Furthermore, if people of color wish to see a change in the curriculum, then this is the way I assumed non-people of color should adhere to implementation.

Multicultural Education

How to Provide a Multicultural Education

Multicultural education is defined as an education method that fuses every individual’s stories, writings, qualities, beliefs, and points of view from numerous social foundations. Thus, the primary purpose of implementing it in classrooms is to enable educators to adjust or join exercises to highlight diversity and social variety with a vast advantage that implants tolerance and acceptance in individuals. However, in agreement with Bell Hooks, Chapter 3, embracing change teaching in a multicultural world of teaching to transgress education as the practice of freedom, “let’s face it: most of us were taught in classrooms where styles of teaching reflected the notion of a single norm of thought and experience, which we were encouraged to believe was universal: (35). Undoubtedly, this is a statement of truth has long spread across the board for nonwhite and white teachers. I can remember that multicultural education was not a part of the curriculum. Every damaged or worn-out textbook did not include people and stories of color and other minorities as far back as grade school. It wasn’t until I returned to college that I began to see multicultural education through a different lens.

As most are aware, unlike many colleges, Kean University is committed to providing equal opportunity in employment and education, as well as equity of conditions for employment and education, to all employees, students and applicants without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex/gender (including pregnancy), marital status, civil union status, domestic partnership status, familial status, religion, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for service in the Armed Forces of the United States, or disability.  But I noticed, as Hook mentions, “in two particular critical studies, for example, individuals will often focus on women of color at the very end of the semester or lump everything about race and difference together in one section (38). I learned quickly how some professors were not keen on transforming and adapting Kean’s multicultural pedagogical practices. On the other hand, I am delighted with the courses where white female English professors are eager to insert Toni Morrison’s work in their syllabus of course and teach her work referring to hot topics about race and ethnicity (38). Those courses are where I have experienced the power of a transformative pedagogy rooted in a respect for multiculturalism. (40). There are no questions, “just as it may be difficult for professors to shift their paradigms, it is equally difficult for students (41). This is indeed not an easy feat to accomplish within the classroom setting, as Hook expresses specific teachers’ and students’ negative and positive reactions. Therefore, as a hopeful classroom teacher:

1) I would specifically create a multicultural inclusion “ice breaker” exercise intended to help students from various cultures begin the process of forming themselves into teams. A (Multicultural Inclusion) game activity will be implemented to “warm up” the students by allowing them to get to know each other and learn about each family’s history, culture, and how we connect in one way or another. (Allen 2020).

2) Students would be asked to create personal journals to jot down all their concerns outside the classroom throughout the school year. As a class, we will then share, address (discuss), and tackle those outside experiences (issues) at least once a week for the calendar year. Therefore, providing ongoing conversations regarding multiculturalism and promoting a comfortable, diverse environment within the classroom setting all year long. (Allen 2020).

Muriel Harris and Tony Silva’s Tutoring ESL Students: Issues and Options theory concludes by stating, “Such information can only serve to illuminate the work of ESL teachers” (533) in linguistic diversity. Furthermore, whether in school or the world at large, there is often something new to learn. For instance, though I failed at learning a second language, I never considered the importance of learning one. And how, unfortunately, from grade school to college, I do not recall teachers pressing this concern until now. As a result, If need be, I would reconsider learning another language to enable myself to connect with my class effectively. So that no child in my classroom will feel the need to “sink or swim.” Most importantly, I would also create a motivating “language inventory” classroom activity. Instead of sending students home to conduct the research, I could implement and undertake the following activity in the classroom:

  • Students will break into groups of four or more and inquire whom they know or understand who speaks another language or other languages.
  • One lead student will interview each student in the group, and another student within the group will record the data obtained.
  • Each lead student, including his or her own, will report the data to the class for class discussion.

These activities will further foster class participation and teach about the importance of linguistic diversity within a classroom setting. It will also bring awareness to the matter across U.S. classrooms in general, especially for tutoring ESL students. (Allen 2020).

Prosody in Voice

Voice and Writing

Although Peter Elbows’ voice in writing again: embracing contraries theory is a tad complex to understand, what I have comprehended from this reading is how he argues two sides of the coin relating to reasons for attending to and not attending to voice in texts. He states that when readers hear a voice in a piece of writing, they are often more drawn to read it—and that audible voice often makes the words easier to understand (7). And we should pay lots of attention to the voice in all of the ways he described. But he also argues that we should not pay attention to voice—in all the following ways (10). In essence, the schools of thought sound somewhat wishy-washy.

Additionally, Nancy Sommers’ revision strategies of student writers and experienced adult writers in that one problem student writers usually had during her research was vocabulary; the students do not try to expand their vocabulary (381), and adult experienced writers do; they try to persuade with their vocabulary (385). However, I find that Sommers’ how it stands in comparison to a writer’s voice and how her theory equates to Elbows.’ Nevertheless, one thing is for certain: Dr. David D. Paige from Northern Illinois University provides a different kind of take regarding reading fluency: a brief history, the importance of supporting processes, and the role of assessment is worth adding to the conversation.

While reading fluency has been extensively studied as an independent reading process, it is better thought of as an outcome of multiple, lower-level reading skills that, when functioning synchronously and efficiently, result in a smooth, expressive reading that’s critical to understanding the text. Moreover, Dr. Paige brings to light how reading fluency has been through multiple conceptualizations. They include the rapid reading of individual words, reading words correctly, the speed at which one can read connected text, and reading with expression. Fluent reading, he states, is now conceptualized by reading scholars as a construct composed of three facets, or indicators, which include 1) the rate of one’s reading, 2) the accuracy at which words are pronounced, and 3) the Prosody (meaning expression) in one’s voice that brings a text to life. While the indicators are individually identified, they work interactively to produce a fluent reading. For example, the rate or pace with which one reads often simulates, to a loose extent, the pace of spoken language. Correctly pronouncing individual words is important to maintaining a smooth rate. Otherwise, the reader must stop to analyze and determine how to say the word, which breaks the smoothness of the reading. As in speech, Prosody is important to understanding the various interpretational nuances of the text, as it is in a conversation. Imagine speaking with someone who talks in a flat, monotone voice (p. 1). Fun fact: reading instruction in early America emphasized the oral reading of text. Several book series, such as McGuffey’s Eclectic Reading Series (1853), were popular as resources for learning to read; for instance, the first step to be taken by one who desires to become a good reader or speaker is to acquire a habit of distinct articulation. Without this, the finest voice, the utmost propriety of inflection, and all the graces of articulation fail to please (2). Thus, Dr. Paige’s argument delivers validity to the voice in reading and writing.

In the late 1970s and early 80s, fluent reading as an instructional goal became largely ignored. In a seminal article in 1983, Allington noted that while students often lacked fluent reading, it was rarely addressed with fluency instruction; rather, teachers tended to focus on the improvement of word automaticity. While word automaticity is important to fluent reading, students must still learn to read words in connected text and become familiar with syntax that tends to become increasingly sophisticated as text complexity increases across grades (5). Because of its importance to academic success, Dr. Paige firmly insists fluency assessment should take place across the elementary and middle school grades to be certain students are attaining the ability to read the increasingly complex texts necessary for college career-ready reading achievement. As mentioned at the beginning of this overview, fluent reading reflects the extent to which a student has acquired the reading processes that underpin fluent reading. This means, for example, that an assessment of the reading fluency of a fifth-grade student may determine it to be less than adequate (8). Furthermore, a fluent reader is more likely to benefit from both the vocabulary acquisition that occurs through reading and the growth in global knowledge that is one of the foundations of reading comprehension. As student writers are capable of discovering and creating new things, we need to change and use these capabilities Prosody to persuade students and experienced writers to voice within texts. 🤔

AI vs. Humanity

AI Collaboration at Microsoft Build 2023

As I consider my thoughts regarding Computers just got a lot better at writing, aka what is real versus fake news? “Thinking more concretely about where computers can get involved to help answer this question and make sure to answer it in a way that respects what most of us really value about writing” (Gero 2022) brought me to a bit more research, such as where AI needs some work and understanding human emotions:

According to Rachel Hernandez’s article on AI vs. human writers, what’s the difference? AI writing tools are still in their infancy, and they certainly have some things that could be improved when it comes to writing original content. While AI writers excel at summarizing topics, analyzing data, and presenting numbers and statistics, they need help with creativity and emotion. 

A considerable advantage human writers have over AI tools is the ability to form a personal connection with readers. A human writer can engage the audience through relatable stories, personal experiences, and analogies – something AI isn’t capable of yet. Also, AI has no way of distinguishing an emotionally powerful phrase from a mundane one. This lack of nuance means the writing AI tools often lack the ‘human touch,’ causing the writing to come across as very stiff and robotic. The human touch is crucial because emotional connection and customer purchase rates have a direct correlation. The more connected customers feel to a brand, the more they’re willing to spend. Why is that? It’s because people often make decisions based on impulses, desires, emotions, and morals – all of which have little to do with logic and analytics. 

Human writers can use these emotions and desires in order to market products and services. For example, to market a shirt, a writer might say, “This shirt isn’t just something to wear; it’s your ticket to gaining the confidence you’ve always wanted.” That type of emotion-based copywriting appeals to people who want to transform their looks due to a lack of confidence, and it can have a very powerful effect. That’s bad news for AI writers, as it’s practically impossible for them to relate to customers on a personal level. 

On the other hand, when it comes to digital marketing, I appreciate Rodolfo Delgado’s take on the risk of losing unique voices: what is the impact of AI on writing? He states instead of using AI for content creation, he recommends businesses use it for brainstorming sessions—AI can be a great tool for that. It can help generate a range of ideas and provide the initial structure for your articles. However, a human must undertake the content creation and refinement process to maintain the personal touch. Undoubtedly, I agree that a personal touch adds value to business content. For example, by reaching out on a personal level, we demonstrate that we genuinely want to work with the prospect or community and we’re motivated to deliver the best community experience. A personal touch helps customers feel valued and can be a critical marketing strategy ꟷcompetitive edge. In essence, business leaders can leverage AI by using it for proofreading and final edits. AI can be an excellent tool for checking grammar, punctuation and style. Moreover, the final edit should always be done by a human. AI may miss subtle nuances in language, tone and context that could make a significant difference to the reader’s perception. ( 2023).

Although as an alternative to viewing AI vs. human writers as a competition, the verdict of AI against human writers is clear; it is best to view it as a collaboration. That’s because it will always depend on the organization’s needs whether to use an AI writer or a human writer. Hmm… I think the jury is still out on that one! 🤔

Practice of Freedom

I cannot believe how excited I was to read through this week’s readings. Why? Because the moment I began reading, I discovered more than one parallel to the author’s dreams of teaching and writing that relates to me. For instance, “From childhood, I believed that I would teach and write” (Hooks, p. 2). Oh, My God! Yes, that is me, as I often stated this specific statement to anyone who would listen. Subsequently, at the tender age of nine years old, I would set up a classroom with my siblings in our bedroom, sit at the front of the room while they remained seated in front of me and teach the lesson plans I created. Each day, we played school, and I had to be the teacher. When asked why I always had to be the teacher, “I’d replied because I am the Teacher.” And if I could not be the teacher, then we would not play school. In other words, “Class Dismissed!” Moreover, there was something about teaching them that I cannot put into exact words. I just knew there had always been something compelling on the inside of me to teach. I, too, believe teaching is an act of service I am called to do. And writing seemed to have been the one thing I loved to do early on in grade school. Although I have never claimed to be an intellectual thinker/writer, I have most often enjoyed school and recording my thoughts and feelings on paper.

Additionally, I was surprised to learn that Bell Hooks’ Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom aligns with the ideas of the Brazilian thinker Paulo Freire’s banking system concept in Pedagogy of The Oppressed, in which Hooks began to develop a blueprint for her pedagogical practice. I also admire her desire to be an educator who chose to allow students to be seen in their particularity as individuals and her eye-opening shift from an all-black school to a white one. Hooks’ disappointing graduate experience, which she often found boring in classes and a place where she hated: “The banking system of education (based on the assumption that memorizing information and regurgitating it represented gaining knowledge that could be deposited, stored and used at a later date) did not interest her” (5) is absolute confirmation of Erik’s presentation on the subject and our entire last class discussion. I leaped inside all through while applauding this reading and the class discussion because it struck multiple chords pertaining to what was shared. However, Hook’s graduate encounter is nothing like mine thus far. As mentioned in our class session, I am grateful for the opportunity to be taught by such a caring professional as Dr. Mia Zamora, who understands that “teaching and the learning experience can be different” (5). Thus, I looked forward to attending her classes, which are exciting and never boring and how learning within each class session is a collaborative effort.

Similar to one of Hook’s students, Gary Dauphin, who shares the joys of working with him as well as the tensions that surfaced between them as he began to devote his time to pledging a fraternity rather than cultivating his writing (21). I have found that some graduate courses in education provide the practice of freedom while others do not. There never appears to be a one-size-fits-all in education. Furthermore, as our class discussion rolled on, I agreed with Hooks’ assessment in that Professors who embrace the challenge of self-actualization will be better able to create pedagogical practices that engage students, providing them with ways of knowing that enhance their capacity to live fully and deeply (22). Because there was so much said during our class discussion relating to both readings, there is nothing else I can add. Other than that, I really liked reading the assigned chapters of this book and having the freedom to learn is one of the reasons why I chose to homeschool my sons at the onset of their education.

Let the church say, Amen! 🤗

Deposits and Withdrawals

Straight away, this statement from Chapter 2 of Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of The Oppressed completely captured my attention and struck a chord, “Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits, which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education [the scope of action allowed to students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits], in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits (72).” What a way to describe an educational system. As often, I would say that I have never considered this concept of such thinking. When I read education becomes an act of depositing, I, too, immediately equated that to a banking system, where the teacher teaches specific planned learning lessons. At the same time, a student like me sits there in his or her seat and soaks up the information rendered like a sponge. It also reminds me of how I would sit in the seat of my parents and gleam from what they were instructing us, children. Undoubtedly, I have always considered my parents as my first teachers. They were my absolute depositories, and I was their eager depositor.

Freire’s take on education is an act of depositing” can be somewhat problematic because I am a firm believer as to how I would train my children and, more than likely, the way they will follow after me in return. So, whatever a teacher communicates and deposits within my children and grandchildren, which they are students in and out of the classroom, patiently receive, memorize, and repeat in withdrawal, in means of the way they might travel, a narrow or straight road often concerns me. Okay, I understand that may sound a bit off-topic, and I’m being overbearing. Still, the truth is when my sons were much younger; I was very apprehensive about what data went in and how what they were taught could affect and impact their thinking processes and behaviors. As I believe in the Holy Bible, I did not have full faith and trust in the education system at large. I understood many school policies could or would not teach them the exact lessons I taught them at home. Thus, is why I was actively engaged and involved in their education. Yes, everyone knew my name. They knew I was my son’s mother, and some even did like seeing me coming their way. The mama bear in me was indeed super overprotective, in which the scope of action allowed them to extend only as far as receiving, filing, and storing what was deposited, or the lack thereof. However, After a long while, day by day, during those years, I began to trust that I, as their first teacher, would not depart from what I schooled them at home. True, this may not be the essence of this reading, but I really gravitated to that portion of it. You know how it said, “Don’t judge a book by the cover,” it surely applies here not to criticize a small part of the reading without the all.

There is one thing I agree with in the notation that “The teacher’s task is to organize a process that already occurs spontaneously to “fill” the students by making deposits of information that he or she considers to constitute true knowledge” (76) If ain’t broke, don’t fix it, I say. Therefore, if whatsoever is true to promote growth and development for the good, bring it on! I applaud and appreciate the nature of what is said here in understanding the systems of education to enable students to learn without constraints. Alright, I’m feeling preachy! Whom the Son set free is free indeed! Nevertheless, there is someone, somewhere, who will find fault with the banking method and such. In other words, there never seems to be a time to teach education than it is to learn in a revolutionary fashion.

One solution, “What we absolutely can and should do, however, is define our work as educators biased toward life-affirming, student-centered, inclusive praxis and create a space where we can do the work of reversing the decomposition; replacing the gangrene of those classrooms of death with a hope in the future that is not hollow but is founded in critical awareness and action: a Radical Hope” (Covington 2023). Can I get an Amen!?! Then again, I may have missed the entire point.

Boost Your Creativity

How Freewriting Can Boost Your Creativity

Talk about taking a walk down memory lane with Peter Elbow’s take on freewriting exercises. In that, “the most effective way he knows to improve our writing is for us to do freewriting exercises regularly…”. defines freewriting this way: Freewriting is a useful technique whereby you write down your thoughts as they come to you, without regard for grammar or any other rules of writing. It is similar to a stream of consciousness, where you allow your mind to go where it will, from one idea to another, while recording your thoughts (2023). Undoubtedly, I immediately recalled the moment when I was introduced to this style of writing in college. Before that, I did not realize I had been freewriting. Now I understand each time I would put pen to paper and begin writing daily in my teenage diary, I was actually freewriting. I had so many thoughts to jot down that I did not stop for anything. Once I returned to college, I was able to put an official term to my diary writing called freewriting. Furthermore, embarking upon this writing technique during various course assignments has been too freeing to “squiggle” several ideas down on paper. I also like Elbow’s thoughts about freewriting as nonediting. Bringing together the process of producing words and putting them down on the page has been helpful in my writing studies journey. I usually sit down and type out each thought that comes to me, followed by editing and proofreading.

Donald Murray’s piece on teaching writing as a process, not a product, mentions that instead of teaching finished writing, teachers should teach unfinished writing and allow students to glory in its “unfinishedness,” as the process can be put to work to produce a product which may be worth reading. Hmm… that statement is a clear indication of freewriting. At least, that is how I read Murray’s stance on the subject matter. However, I cannot say that I ever considered being taught how to glorify my unfinished work. That is surely a new concept for my thinking. Thus, I guess, as a result, I could take pride in my incomplete writing. Additionally, knowing that after I have been taught the accurate process of writing in three stages: prewriting, writing, and rewriting included in writing lessons, I, like most students, should likely produce a decent finished product. Plus, what is stated regarding being a teacher of a process and its qualities reminds me of the lesson about feedback and how teachers need to be quiet, listen, and respond. For they are not the initiator or the motivator but the reader, the recipient. Dare I say well stated for teachers at large to adhere to in helping students pass through the writing process. I believe last week’s lesson matches perfectly with Murray’s perception. It is, too, easy for me to agree that all the implications numbers 1 – 10 provided do not require a special schedule, exotic training, extensive new materials or gadgetry, new classrooms, or an increase in federal, state, or local funds, etc., But what is required is a teacher who will respect and respond to his students, not for what they have done, but for what they may do; not for what they have produced, but for what they may produce as a process, not a product. Amen to that!

How remix culture informs student writing and creativity with Antero Garcia spun me around for a moment until I located an additional source to assist with understanding this trendy writing technique that blends in with freewriting and the writing process to reproduce; for example, how a textbook is a remix. The author writes some chapters but also uses pieces from multiple different open-source textbooks. Sometimes, using small edits, like changing American spellings to Canadian ones or adding different examples. Often, combine sources and rearrange them. Other times reimagined the chapter. Further, take some material that was focused on academic writing and reimagine it from a business writing perspective. Because this textbook is open source, other writers will likely build upon it in the future (Cruthers 2021). Therefore, I discovered that this piece delivered simple clarity as to why remix writing. Subsequently, I have discovered that all three schools of thought teach precise lessons on how to write freely.