Category Archives: Student Blogs

blog 5

Thoughts on "Response to Writing."


"problems that many beginning writers have difficulty articulating" perhaps it is difficult for students to articulate these problems because, by suggesting corrections, the teacher is projecting their own voice onto the student?

"receive feedback on only final drafts" that's something I hadn't thought of before. I feel I've always been made to turn in multiple drafts of a paper; at least one rough draft before the often do teachers collect final (even though they really aren't final at all) papers without having given any previous help?

"open-ended questions on content, the college student..." this is a problem; we shouldn't be waiting until college to utilize this kind of feedback. It may make a certain kind of sense (I guess) to refrain from in-depth responses when children are younger, because (supposedly) they don't have all the skills yet. But by withholding those questions, we stunt the student's growth. There is no reason why we can't comment of the technical stuff and the contextual stuff. The best way to teach a child is through scaffolding, and this falls under scaffolding for sure. How can we possibly expect them to get better when we never meaningfully challenge them.

"self-assess their drafts" this is a good thing, and I agree with this. By self-assessing, the teacher is taken out of the picture and the student is left with only their own voice. And I think this is as easy (and possibly as complicated) as writing those open-ended questions and seeing how the student interprets and uses them.

"specific guidance" this sounds like a very nice way of saying they were told what to do. And this irritates me. They didn't get better because they learned, they got better because you made them do what you wanted them to do. The worst part is a teacher may think they're being helpful by doing this, when really they might even be making things worse. If a student begins to rely on "specific guidance" they'll only end up even less capable than they were before. Instead of being kind of confused, they will be utterly lost.

My overall impression of this piece is that it's n basically everything we've already mentioned before and also some of the information seems a obvious. Of course students prefer feedback that explains why something is good or bad. And it seems natural to me that self-editing would be more educational than just taking revision orders from a teacher.

blog 4

Thoughts on "Bi, Butch and Bar Dyke." Unfortunately, internet connectivity issues prevented me from finishing this article (WiFi at school is absolutely horrible today!), and this was all I was able to write. I'm sorry for this! I hope it will suffice for this week. 


Already, I'm excited to read this, because we talk a lot about what goes on within the English community, but gender influences and stereotypes  aren't normally a hot-button issue. I'm anxious to see what this article says.

"a stereotyped dream of success" i'm wondering, does this apply only to sexuality? or will it refer to the teaching profession as a whole? As teaching is often a profession that is looked down on (I feel, at least).

"power in the associated with...unchanging set of personal characteristics" makes me think of the inflexibility in curriculum we've discussed in the past. Perhaps it is not the curriculum that is the issue. The curriculum can't change until the people in charge change. Does that mean it is the traditional (for lack of a better word) American ideals that prevent us from progressing?

"no limits placed on the child" kind of a strange thing to say right away in a story. Also not something I feel I would ask a child if we were grocery shopping. Waiting to see where this goes.

"there is no fixed identity" I tend to disagree with this; I think personalities are fairly permanent (not in a bad way).

I feel I'm not really getting the connection she's trying to make with the "hard pea/ cold porridge" thing.

Her stance on lesbian narrators (if I'm reading the passage correctly) is interesting in that she feels it is a limited channel of expression and representation. Maybe my perspective is skewed because I'm straight, but I think I disagree with the idea that a lesbian character (hero?) is limiting to the narrative. I will agree, however, that how something like that is received definitely depends on a bit of political-ness. (Not a word, I know.) "A self-empowerment that depends on binary oppositions" is a very powerful statement, and I am not going to comment on it. I would just like to point out that it is giving me a lot to think about (mostly it makes me evaluate my own perspective on the topic of queerness).

I think I am misunderstanding a bit. When she says "autobiographies," she means real lives? The narratives we live and tell ourselves as they happen?

"categorize individual subjects as different" yes, I can see that. Very true, unfortunately. Sad tot think that someone's orientation is perceived to (negatively) influence their professionalism.

"erase differences...between public and personal narratives" interesting thing to say about a movement in general-- that perhaps, a movement meant to do good is actually not representative of what the majority feels? (Thus the "real me" commentary that follows.)

Interesting that she refers to her bi-sexuality in terms of "straight" and "lesbian(ism)" since this is kind of an issue within the bi-community. The idea that a bi-person is "half-straight" or "half-gay" is often considered offensive, as straight, gay and bi are all seen as completely separate terms with absolutely no overlap whatsoever. Perhaps she uses these terms for ease of communication, but part of me believes if she herself found the accusation offensive, she would be inclined to not use the therm lesbian, or would have disclaim earlier in the piece. This seems to exemplify of the "whole" not representing the majority. The movement says "NOT half-gay. We are BI!" but the author says "straight" and "lesbian."

“made the mistake of becoming too comfortable with this class” sad to hear a teacher say something like this; especially when teacher-student relations are already as strained as they are. Also surprising to hear the class met the piece with such strong resistance. A good opportunity to discuss aggressive perceptions, the class’ responses were surprising to see and very disappointing. But the willingness to discuss “Theft” is indeed a small victory, and maybe something sensitive like that should be taught early on, kind of like shock therapy.

“unearned privilege” interesting how this wording makes it sound like something the author is guilty of.

“center and margins of American society” very powerful and self-aware sentence. Also portrays a really interesting contrast—how one person could occupy both the highs and lows of societal standing at once, depending on what others know about you. As if one were enough to cancel out another. 

"butch or fem... not gay or straight" interesting how physicality contributes to what people think about us. Gender roles and norms and things of the like. Also interesting how she alludes to "butch" being the way a woman carried herself/acted (the soul of a man inside a woman's body).

"lesbian sex wars" is just the most ridiculous phrase I've ever seen in my life.

"butch gender performance" again with the way a woman carries herself.

"project a lesbian persona without formally coming out" she said it neither negatively or positively (very matter-of-factly) but I wonder if this trend makes her sad in some way. Does she get tired of the assumption that she is a lesbian simply because of the way she looks? Despite it being true, I'm sure it gets very tiresome.

"appropriating the power and influence" good in a way, as women often don't enjoy the level of power men do but also very sad that a woman needs t make herself  or be perceived as "manly" before being respected enough to even have power in the first place.

Response to Elbow and Voice

Peter Elbow mentions a few goals that he hopes his essay “Reconsiderations: Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries” achieves. He hopes that the information that he provides will help his audience embrace contraries and step outside of either/or thinking. He asserts that readings can be read in two ways: through the lens of voice and also reading them through the lens of “text” or not-voice”. Elbow writes that by accepting both/and into our methodology it allows us to adopt contrary stances toward voice.

Elbow begins the essay by mentioning that while the 1960’s saw a boom in the idea of getting voice into writing and then was immediately followed by critiques about voice in writing, not much has been said about the topic lately. He writes, “I see a kind of stalemate about voice in writing”.

                Interestingly, Elbow notes that most writing used to occur in the classroom and at work, but now that the internet is a staple, this is no longer true. Writers are not only writing for a judging authority anymore; they are writing for strangers now.

                Elbow goes on to discuss reasons for (and reasons for not) attending voice in texts. He says, “This conflict about voice in our field echoes a much older conflict about the self in language”. As far as his reasons for attending, he notes that voice can be described in terms of style and that can be very helpful to students. Also, readers may enjoy and connect to the writing more because they feel like they can relate to it and, it can feel less intimidating.

                His arguments for not attending include the notion that ignoring voice is necessary for good reading because students improve their ability to analyze. Also, avoidance of voice can be a powerful tool. Elbow notes that sometimes writers don’t want to have their presence felt by the reader.

                I feel that this article gave me a much better understanding of the argument. And in terms of the final project, I missed the last class, but I got an idea of what was discussed by some of my classmates. So far, I like the direction that this revised idea is heading toward.

Writing Theory and Practice 2015-10-19 15:51:00

I think voice is a very difficult subject, and I often find myself questioning what voice means exactly. Sometimes, I feel like I am the only one with questions or the topic should already be understood so I do not want to ask questions. The fact Peter Elbow says, “ ‘Voice’ is too vague a metaphor to be useful. It means so many things to so many people that it leads to confusion and undermines clear thinking about texts” makes me feel better and not alone (182).

When I previously thought about voice, I think my mind went to uniqueness or difference. My understanding was it is “used to point to a feature that’s found only in some writing —yet it’s also commonly used to point to a feature found in all writing” (Elbow 182). In fact, Peter Elbow’s article “Reconsiderations: Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries” actually made me think of a topic discussed in my other class which was diversity. In terms of diversity in writing, how much is contributed to voice? In addition, this article also made me reflect on my own experience. I wish I could remember how I use to write back in grammar school. I think it would be interesting to see the changes in my writing.

            In conclusion, I like the position Peter Elbow takes in this article. He shows that in some cases choosing a side is not always necessary. He fully articulates both sides. Readers basically got to see how other scholars view or define voice, the benefits of voice, and the negative side of voice. We think about our own writing and our own voice. We think about what we as readers focus on when we read. Readers also think about how important voice is. Moreover, we think about the books that inspired us. What were the elements within the book that made it our favorite? Did voice serve as a big factor in making it your favorite?


 Final Project

I’m fine with the ideas proposed last class about our final project. I would still like to do a poem on either “Why I Write” or “That Writing Moment.”  In terms of “Digital Writing Month” maybe we can post our drafts for the piece we are working on for our final project.

Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality

The three articles were very interesting. I like how Gibson, Marinara, and Meem each talked about their own personal experience of class, gender, and sexuality performance, but for each reading you had to follow the narrative closely to tell who was telling the story. The first article examine how story telling work as a way to construct identify narratives and voices. Especially the voice of lesbian or working class. In the article she writes, “all identity, all social construction, begins with narratives.” The second article talks about how being a butch lesbian  has more advantage than being a femme lesbian because being butch is associated with both visual and non-visual characteristics. The final article talks about “speaking our memories” how writing about our personal experiences can give voices them. Although all three article were interesting and had a common theme of identity and voices, the first article seemed to stand out the most to me.  In this article Marinara discussed her position as a bi sexual and working class woman, who has “entered the academy”. In the beginning of the article I didn’t really understand the connection between the story about the little girl at the grocery store and being lesbian. With that it seemed like she jumped from one point to the next without a proper transition. Also, I couldn’t tell who the author was refereeing to because she had a general sense to her tone. Anyways, Marinara argues that we see identities primarily in terms of binaries. She writes, “This politicized voice emerges from a self –empowerment that hinges on an appeal to universalities of class and sexuality, self-empowerment that depends on binary opposition.” She basically said we can be working class or professionals, straighter, or  heterosexual or we can  create complexity in our self-construction, but the reality remain that we see things in only black and white there are no in between.  And she stated it’s because of this "dualistic system of thought" that makes it impossible for her to come out of the closet because she doesn’t fit that mold. Marinara ended her article by pointing to the fact that identity is not as simple as black and white it is by far more complex than that.   

Final project

I liked how we discussed our ideas further in class last week and we were able to come up with a theme. What I liked the most about our idea is that we’ll all be able to share something that is unique to each of us.

I am still developing my idea for my vignette. Essentially, I would like to compose a reflective piece where I’ll be sharing part of my experience as a writer. Part of the purpose of me writing this is to inspire other writers. Perhaps to help them believe more in themselves or just inspire them to write.

I'm excited about how we’ll be working on this project together and I wonder how that actual final product will look like.

Regarding the DigiWriMo, I think it would be a great way to gain attention towards our final project. It’s an exciting idea as well. 

Blog # 4

“Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality” by Michelle Gibson, Martha Marinara, and Deborah Meem & “Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries” by Peter Elbow 

Both essays this week talked about voice.

“Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality” by Michelle Gibson, Martha Marinara, and Deborah Meem was an essay where the authors got really personal and talked about where they stand in terms of their class, gender, and sexuality. These are all areas that form part of our voice. I liked how the authors came through with a voice that was perceived by me as clear and authentic. They mentioned how their voice in the academia world was different due to what made them who they are. I found this interesting because I’ve always thought about the uniqueness of voice and how it can say so much based on who we are.
The authors didn’t have any problem sharing personal facts about who they were. Their “labels” shaped their voice and they weren’t afraid to say that. They admitted to know that their voice was different than the one in the academia world and I found that inspiring. We are all different and I find that that’s the beauty in diversity. This essay by Gibson, Marinara, and Meem makes me think that we should all bring our voice forward while respecting those that sound different than ours.

The authors mentioned that their backgrounds and the way they lived had played a role into the voice they developed for their academic writing. I liked how they truly showed that who they were was reflected in their writing. This makes their writing authentic. They are not mocking someone else’s voice to fit the standard in the academic world. They are coming as who they are and that is reflected in their writing.

In the essay “Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries” by Peter Elbow it seem to me like he didn’t write towards or against voice but rather for both. I can see what he means when he says that both could be important but I find it really hard to separate the two. Even when I am reading something from an author I don’t know I can sense their voice. Even when that voice is dry and boring, I am able to get that from the reading and in return, it makes me feel a certain way towards the author and what they are saying in the reading. It is not like I can hear their real voice, like when I read something from someone I know, but I can hear their tone and what’s coming through the words they are choosing or the way they are saying what they’re saying.

I think that voice is so connected with writing because for instance, when we read something by a male or a female we tend to, at times, read it differently. We also tend to read things differently when we know something or a lot about the particular author we are reading about. 

Tobey’s Writing Theory Thoughts 2015-10-18 20:46:00

Reconsiderations: Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries: Peter Elbow  and   Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality: Michelle Gibson, Martha Marinara, and Deborah Meem

Ahh! Peter Elbow! I truly love his way of thinking. Each piece we read by him makes me think he is so right on! He starts this piece off by discussing how "voice" was once the "hot topic" amongst theorist. There was buzz about it and much disagreement. However, as of late, the topic has grown cold and quiet. Elbow believes it to be a worthy topic that should be revitalized. How does he do so, by writing this piece that not only addresses both sides of the argument, but brings up new ways of thinking about it. He argues for both sides! How clever! 

As I was reading, I couldn't help thinking about how each side of his argument had validity. On one side of the argument he states how using voice in our writing creates and allows for a sense of self and identity. Who you are as a writer and individual comes through when there is voice. I know, for example, that when I read pieces by my own students who have achieved voice, I am able to tell which piece is theirs. I don't even have to look at the name. Their pieces have an identity and flare that is unique to them. Consequently, I also agree with Elbow's other side of the argument that there are certain writing forms that are more formal or informational, and perhaps by including voice, the information gets lost, and therefore the piece becomes unclear. This may be the case for scientific studies and such. Just as with last week's Peter Elbow piece Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking, there needs to be a balance. As good writers we need to decide what form we using to create our piece, whom the intended audience is, and the purpose for the piece. If I'm creating poetry, I better have voice as opposed to a lab report that probably will do well with the just the facts. 

He ends the piece by stating,"I'm asking us to learn to be wiser in our scholarly thinking and writing... Such thinking can often release us from dead-end critical arguments that are framed by the unexamined assumption that if two positions seem incompatible, only one can be valid."  Elbow proves that there are often multiple view points to analyzing a topic of interest. He urges theorists to reexamine the issue of voice, but to look at it the light that there may not be one true correct method. I feel that this piece was very successful in this task.

In the text, Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke the three professors shared personal stories about how their identities effected their teaching lives. Each reflection was honest and unique. The narratives shed light on the challenges that this minority group faces within their professional worlds. 

While reading, there were times when I felt anger or sadness for these women. The first time was when Marinara shared how she felt connected to her advanced composition course of all women, only to soon feel betrayed by their negative comments about Adrienne Rich, the well known lesbian poet and writer. She states, "I had forgotten how different I am from many women." My heart broke for her. It was in that moment that she realized that she had had become too comfortable with this class. In addition when papers came in that were more about personal opinions she reverted to grading the papers  focusing on academic and theoretical arguments. She no longer shared anything about her life. 

The other moment was when Gibson shared her very honest self-assessment with her administrative team and was told how it was basically unacceptable. Talk about using voice! The fact that she is an accomplished professor who came from a difficult past shows her drive in life. In addition, when she shared how she connects with her students and they told her she should be connecting with them not her students, I felt disgusted. Don't we or shouldn't we as teachers all have at least a few stories about how we connected with students, shouldn't those administrators have been able to identify with her through her stories, by thinking Ah, yes. I remember when this student... I do realize that perhaps she shared a bit much and not everyone in academia is ready for such brutal honesty,or perhaps she needed to think about her audience a bit more, but some of their comments were harsh (this reads like a rant). It felt as though there was a silencing happening.

The most important point about the entire article for me comes in the conclusion. It states, "We must think seriously about the identities we bring with us into the classroom, remain conscious of the way those identities interact with the identities our students bring, and insert ourselves fully into the shifting relationships between ourselves and our students at the same time resist the impulse to control those relationships." I think each woman learned this. There once again needs to be a balance. More diverse literature and topics needs to come into our classrooms. More open conversations need to happen. However, we need to maintain a balance between who we are in the classroom and who our students are. Meem's chart shows that there are many hats that encompass us. We are not one identity. We must remember that when we are designing lessons for students. The best thing we can do for our students is to teach them to think for themselves. 

Final Project

I never really write too much about the final project because I have been ok with all of the awesome ideas we have had. However, I am really happy with what we sorted out last week. It felt much more friendly to everyone in the class, which was a concern of mine. I also have quite a few ideas swarming around in my head. I need to sit and narrow down my thinking. I like the personal feel of the vignettes and I like that they can take any form. 

"Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke" and Peter Elbow’s "Voice in Writing"

Three women, three feminists, three professors of writing--with non-traditional sexual preferences, collectively represent several minorities. These very different individuals, with their own unique voices, all classify themselves as the “other” and believe that society has placed them in this category. I found the Bi, Butch, and the Bar Dyke all very interesting, opinionated women despite the article being somewhat dated. Luckily, many of their issues have moved forward to a better place of societal acceptance since this paper’s September 2000 publication.
The opening/introduction seemed intimidating, but the individual essays were quite reader-friendly (thankfully as I am often reading at the end of my brain capacity after a very long day). I feel that many of the issues were complicated by their personal concern—and defense of—their sexuality, and how it should or could affect their writing. Again, this may have been the social atmosphere—particularly within writing communities, as evidenced by student responses to these women “coming out” publicly to them. Much has changed in the spirit of acceptance in the last decade or so. 
The essay I thought would be the most challenging, Butch, had a rather fascinating perspective. My sister-in-law would identify with this category proudly and the chronological fit is a match as well. In retrospect, these opinions hold a lot of truth, and are historically accurate to the best of my recollection. The butch/ femme classification was explained simply as were the differences in identities. Mostly, I enjoyed her writing style—her voice—above the other two; perhaps because of the similarity to someone I knew.
The first author—Bi—was on point about the tendency of communal voices blurring the lines which individuals and/ or minorities believe differentiate them from the outsider. The reason? Because people are essentially the same; we are all human regardless of personal preferences. Societal labels should never restrict what comes from within.
“The tension, the uncertain space writing teacher and students find between the familiar ‘real me’ voice and an emerging public voice should not necessarily be resolved with codified positions; rather the tension should be a space to work from…” (Marinara, 72-73).
Bisexuality caused this woman many problems with identity and a political sense of self; one can only hope this friction created a solid base for her to educate students, motivate writing and become comfortable in her own identity. Which leads to the final essay, Bar Dyke, and her laundry list of major league personal problems. This woman had come a long way to overcome the difficulties she was handed, which made them part of her person—her voice. However, many of her choices were the result of a difficult past, but in no way related to her sexuality. Also, the dossier she submitted contained items—interesting to her—but inappropriate and unnecessary for an evaluation.
This paper was interesting and somewhat defined the place of "other" in writing as both writer and subject; mostly I enjoyed listening to the three different voices. On that note, Peter Elbow’s discussion of voice was, of course, amazing, informative, and fascinating. I enjoyed and agreed with his arguments for personal voice, reading aloud to hear one’s voice, and the practice of using voice to persuade as stated by both the sophists and one of my favorites, Aristotle. I also strongly agreed with his suggestions to: “…separate language and thinking from the author (especially if it’s famous or respected author) and to see multiple and even contrary interpretations of a text…” (182).
He had wonderful arguments for both listening to voice and writing objectively, thus avoiding recognition or the creation of bias. The struggle to accomplish both creates the tension—the conflict--- which makes writing alive—exciting as opposed to static and mediocre. Naturally I enjoyed his references to types of voice and style of reading; that is how theatre brings the words to life and puts them on their feet.  Overall, he states it simply when he says: “We don’t have to read or write the same way all the time” (183). 
Following Peter Elbow’s advice, I have been giving thought to our personal vignettes. I would like to create something that reflects our theme—the “aha” moment of writing while, at the same time, expresses the connection of English to its soul-mate--Theatre. Because as we grow, there are different moments of great achievement, I will try to create mini-scenes to capture these with both sensitivity and humor. That is all I have presently but I think I am on to something; let’s hope it blossoms as I move forward!
Lastly, the DigiWriMo sounds terrific, I’m getting excited about all of these hi-tech computer things---this is fun! But if I need help, hope you guys don’t mind!

Final Project: Thoughts

I like the Digital Writing Month idea. The site looks pretty cool, and I think our project would fit in nicely.

My contribution to the final project would be a personal narrative about the first time my writing was valued--at millions of dollars!  I never saw a penny of that cash, but neither did a CTC (chlortetracycline) factory in rural China. More on that in my story...