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Rough Draft for Potluck Dish

Jeanne Donohue Rough Draft Potluck Project   Due: 11/26/18

Generating a spark of enthusiasm in writing students using the theoretical framework of Murray as a starting place. (And Selfe as a reference).

In class emphasis on pre-writing. Colored markers or pens should be scattered and chosen by student. Seating options other than desks. Pick a different environment. The floor. The hall. The lounge. Outside. The point is to stimulate the senses.


  • Collect a folder of images that resonate for you. Each student should have 8-10 pieces in their folder. They can include clips from magazines, photos, artwork, both figurative and abstract. Small pieces of text can be included. Some days random images will be passed out.
  • Structured freewriting every class. Pick a lens through which to look at individual images. For example: identify mood, sensuous components, color, lines and shapes, auditory components, texture, movement, framing, story. Where does the image begin and end? Who is the viewer. Does the person in the image know they are there?
  • Describe in detail the entirety of the image to someone that cannot see it or the auditory vibrations to someone who cannot hear. Experiment with going from broadest detail to smallest (In the US, In NY, In the city, Midtown, in a building on the top floor, etc) and then reverse the sequence. Start from smallest most intimate detail and work outward.
  • Generate details through dialogue. Write about one of your images through whatever the free write prompt is. Exchange images with your partner and do the same free write prompt only with their image.
  • Find a song that fits with one of your images.
  • Create a soundscape with three layers. Share with an audience of at least three people. Pass out colored markers or pens and collect written feedback.



  • Pick at least three of your images and connect them in a cohesive way. The possibilities are endless. The form is open, and to be determined by the individual. Suggestions can be made if the student is interested in feedback.



  • Each draft will be met with peer review. Class time will be allotted for three in class peer reviews. Class time will be devoted to how feedback is given. In addition, office hours are available and suggested for teacher review. All final drafts will be handed in for grading at the end of the semester.


“Excludes the recursive shaping of thought by language.”p.378

The importance of repeating words in order to digest them


Started thinking about contribution to Christina’s Dish:

What is communicated in the in-between words of informal speech? The umms, and uuhs

Similar to the nonmanual markers of ASL?

Respecting Rhetorical Sovereignty

This week we read an essay entitled, “The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing,” by Cynthia L. Selfe.


The main argument of the essay explores the binary relationship of aurality and writing and the limitations of this understanding in excluding multimodal rhetorical activity(p. 616). Cynthia Selfe traces the history of composition and the development of a single-minded focus on print, which in her opinion has led us to become a culture “saturated by written word.” She explains that sound is undervalued as a composition mode and aurality has become subsumed by and defined in opposition to writing. Selfe declares this a false binary which encourages a narrow understanding of language and literacy. As she clarifies, this should not be an either-or argument. We should encourage students to develop expertise with all available means of persuasion and expression.

I loved the reference to the importance of sonic environments for college students and the irony of the deafening silence faced by the English composition teacher when inviting the class to engage in discussion. I am very interested in this place as a jumping off spot for research and investigation. It is a fantastic door into the lives of the student. Also, the clarity that in most classrooms, as a result of this suffocating silence the dynamic becomes about speech expected to happen on cue. I like the reference to “guessing my conclusion quizzes(p 633).”

Remind teachers of the integrated nature of Language Arts. Hamilton (the musical)is an excellent example of integrated Language Arts. Ultimately it is another telling of the same old American history. It is an incredible integration of modalities and expression, and so sonically charged. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PEHKBckBcr4

I appreciated the historical look at this transition. Historically there was more of a balance. “Facility in oral face to face encounters were considered the hallmark of an educated class(p.622).” Michael Halloran offers that curriculum included: reading speak, write classical language and through recitation but also standard oratorical performances: debate, orations, and declamations. The transition came with the rise of industrial manufacturing and an emphasis on specialization. The last half of the nineteenth century, departments of English became refocused around preparing professionals. Emphasis shifted to the importance of science. Therefore, “the recorded word: the visual trace of evidence provided proof and observations rendered in the visual medium of print revealed the truth (p 622).”

  • Writing became a silent process in the classroom

Hibbits observed: the most important meta-lesson became how to sit, write and read in contented quiet p623. This lesson translated into the silencing of voice and reliance on voice metaphors. The remediation of voice as a characteristic of written prose. (p630) These are such interesting points and clarify something that has been irking me. The voice metaphor is misleading in that it implies sound. I have been unable to articulate my frustration with why the metaphor ends up feeling one dimensional. Selfe shines a light on the flatness and why it is so. It’s the voice we don’t want to hear.

I loved the statement attributed to Gunther Kress: “Control over communication and over the means of representation is, as always, a field in which power is exercised (p641).” There is so much in this statement. Words and expression are power. It can be overt and dominant or,  subverted and resistant. Historically, oppression and resistance concerning composition has taken many twists and turns. Writing and reading are skills that have been used as a form of exclusion at various times to gender and race. I appreciated the opposite side also.  Literacy can be a form of resistance to oppression, and also marginalized groups can resist the literacy practices of a dominant culture by maintaining oral traditions (p 624). “Complex and community-based responses to imperialism and Euroamerican mainstream” p624

I loved the conclusion. We need to understand their motivated attempts of students to communicate with one another and ultimately respect the rhetorical sovereignty of young people from different backgrounds.

One of the biggest takeaways for me was from P633: Jeff Sommers (Mellen and Sommers). “Giving recorded oral feedback gave students a walking tour through their texts as if a reader were conversing with them and the words themselves. Meaning is revealed through tone, pacing, emphasis. I loved the description of verbal feedback and how students experienced it. I am midway through working with two groups of students in my theater program and decided to practice a different kind of verbal feedback with them at the halfway point. In the past, they only receive written feedback at the end. They were so excited about this “walking tour” of the semester. It is a structure that I will continue to build on in the future.


This essay reminded me of the work by Christine Sun Kim. She is a deaf visual artist on a mission to claim sound for herself. Her work is beautiful, vibrant and another great example of multiple modalities to support expression. “Sound is a Ghost”




I want to follow up on these people:

  • Look up Diana George (oral exchanges considered as semiotic texts) & Manual Catells
  • Noted the reference again to the importance of Lev Vygotsky: 1962 the developmental relationship between speech and writing birth of the trend for 60’s-80’s to define writing in opposition to speech
  • Jeff Sommers (Mellen and Sommers)



Semiotics: the study of signs and symbols and their use or interpretation.

Daxa: common belief always maintains its strongest hold in the absence of multiple historical and cultural perspectives.

Imbricate: arrange so that they overlap like roof tiles.

Tendential: having or showing a tendency or bias

Logocentric: regarding words and language as a fundamental expression of an external reality









Getting Closer to the End

Final Project:
Selective Truth/Fake News (Draft)

Truth is often what we make of it. Even the very definition of the word itself reveals its subjective nature. Truth is fact or belief that is accepted as true, and not everyone believes in the same think. Different beliefs and alternative interpretations of something considered a fact tend to create frictions among people, especially in sensitive topics such as politics. We often hear the saying, “that person speaks so much truth” but that truth is only one perspective out of many.

Paul Pardi talks about the elusiveness of truth in his article, What is Truth?, and claims “our perspective will even influence our ability to come up with a definition” for it. He asks the question: “if we decide that no one can get to what is true, what good is the definition?”Discovering the proper definition of what truth is requires us to be independent from the individual and subjectivity. It is important to make a distinction between truth and access to the truth. A fact is based on a scientific model for its discernment and collated to resemble a truth in objective matter. How this result is perceived depends on the perception of the individual. Though, it is quite difficult for many to accept the existence of truth independent of their own world view. Then, the question that everyone begins to ask is: “fact according to whom?”

If truth is “centered only in what an individual experiences”, then only a general consensus can help define the concept of truth for that individual. It is a common human nature to find others who agree or accept the reality just as we personally do. That strengthens our own belief on what is a fact and what is not. This could be very efficient but it could also be extremely dangerous. Many people who study psychology often claim that our minds are molded out of those who are around us as we experience the reality. However, we no longer depend on those people since we now have the access to social media where we can find others who actually share the same beliefs as we do.

Think about someone who attempts to make a joke. If people laugh, then that person becomes certain that his or her sense of humor is great. If they don’t laugh, then perhaps that person needs to work on it and develop a better sense. This natural method of growth or development is robbed from many individuals, especially young ones, due to existence of social media. They can now simply find people who will choose to laugh at their “great” sense of humor and they do not ever need to work on it. In our modern day of social media centered existence, the concept of truth has become a choose-your-own-adventure-book type of discovery. If you agree with this particular notion, go to [insert twitter handle]. If you disagree with it, go to [insert a different twitter handle]. If you neither agree nor disagree, go to twitter and start a new handle (why not?).

There is also the bias that comes with the common truth. A study of behavior based on common interests display the innate… (To Be Continued)
Source of the article mentioned: https://www.philosophynews.com/post/2015/01/29/What-is-Truth.aspx

I still need to find the independent video of portraying the study mentioned in the last paragraph but here’s a coverage of similar psychological test by CNN: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EoNYklyShs
Some early ideas of contribution for other themes/topics:

Language of Politics

A sample of class discussion (or perhaps even a video) that portrays the subtle use of language. I could write a personal interpretation on what is being displayed.

Voice and Identity

I can write about an exercise that I was thinking about conducting in writing class. I was not so sure if it would work or not, but perhaps I can talk about it as a suggestion or simply as a topic of discussion.

Sparking Interest or Enthusiasm in Class

I can talk about my own personal experiences that relate to the main write-up. As a way of backing up the claims made in it by providing personal examples.

Also, here’s an early proof of concept (not final) of what the main page could potentiality look like:


“Aurality”…Say that Three Times Fast

“Participation means being able to speak in one’s own voice, and thereby simultaneously to construct and express one’s cultural identity through idiom and style” -Nancy Fraser, “Rethinking the Public Sphere.”


The author of this article, Cynthia L. Selfe, successfully composed a well-stated problem and solutions to something that I have thought about for years. With her strong voice and opinions supported by research, Selfe demands that teachers and scholars broaden their minds to a world outside the traditional writing pen to paper in a classroom. The Movement of Air, the Breath of Meaning: Aurality and Multimodal Composing(https://via.hypothes.is/http://www.dmacinstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/selfe-aurality-composing.pdf), is a pot full of ideas, opinions, statements, research, and examples of how the classroom has shifted into a multimodal environment. There were also a few surprises in this article as well that I will elaborate more on later. I was thoroughly impressed that an educator and scholar could have such a “colorful” mind. I am using “colorful” as a way to describe her not overlooking people of color who have suffered in the American education system. Selfe made it clear what her intentions were for this article. She is not telling the reader what to do but suggesting and guiding. She also explains the history of aurality and how that has changed in the classroom setting. Here are her three main points:

  1. I argue that the relationship between aurality (and visual modalities) and writing have limited our understanding of composing as a multimodal rhetorical activity and has thus, deprived students of valuable semiotic resources for making meaning. (Also the history of writing in the U.S. composition instruction).
  2. A single-minded focus on print in composition classrooms ignores the importance of aurality and other composing modalities for making meaning and understanding the world.
  3. I suggest that the almost exclusive dominance of print legacy works against the interests of individuals whose cultures and communities have managed to maintain value on multiple modalities of expression, multiple and hybrid ways of knowing, communicating, and establishing identity.

Her suggestion for this problem: “I suggest we need to pay attention to both writing and aurality, and other composing modalities, as well. I hope to encourage teachers to develop an increasingly thoughtful understanding of a whole range of modalities and semiotic resources in their assignments and then to provide students the opportunities of developing expertise with all available means of persuasion and expression, so that they can function as literate citizens in a world where communications cross geopolitical, cultural, and linguistic borders and are enriched rather than diminished by semiotic dimensionality”

(Selfe, 617-618).

She states that race, gender, and class all play crucial roles when it comes to this issue. Such as male (white) children receiving the best education resulting in them becoming statesmen, ministers, and high in the legal field. On the other end of the spectrum, women and people of color received poor education and majority of the time, no education at all. “Many black citizens were denied access to schools with adequate resources and other had to abandon their own formal education to help their families survive the economic hardships that continued to characterize the lives of blacks in both the North and the South (Hibbitts). (Selfe, 624). The sad part of this statement is that this is still an ongoing issue. What I thought was interesting was how Selfe demands that more respect comes in the classrooms when it comes to people from a different class, gender, or race besides the “acceptable” and “normal” white, the male student in the U.S.

One of the last parts of this article that caught my attention was this: “In 1973, Wilson Snipes investigated the hypothesis that ‘orientation to an oral culture has helped cause a gradual decrease in student ability to handle written English in traditionally acceptable ways’, citing ‘haphazard punctuation,’ ‘loose rambling style,’ and ‘diminutive vocabulary’, writing that is ‘superficial, devoid of subtle distinctions,’ and thought that remains ‘fixed in a larval state’ (629-630). Hopefully, my question will be answered in class on Monday, and my question is what does that mean exactly?

Selfe encourages the value of a multimodal classroom environment. Teachers should pay more attention to how writing and teaching writing comes in various forms. Today’s world is constantly changing. There needs to be respect represented in the classroom for other cultures, backgrounds, and class. Lastly, she emphasizes how teachers feel they do not have enough time in with their students to create a balanced learning environment that involves a multimodal platform. How should that problem be solved? 

Final Project Sketch

Jeanne: I had an idea of using coloring or art to spark enthusiasm in the students in the writing classroom. I love music as well, so I was also thinking about using music. Create a mashup of two songs. One that you love and one that you can’t stand and see what happens. Do you feel differently about the song? How did the feeling of comparing and contrast feel and how would you use that for your writing?

Serken: There is a “trend” going around of girls using the “black girl” as a cosplay costume instead of realizing that being a black female is a not a costume. They are human beings. However, when they post themselves of them in their “cosutme”, they can easily pass as a person of color. These girls post these photos on Instagram and Twitter causing others to fantasize and others low self-esteem.

Christina: I was thinking about using my own writing maybe for this section. My “voice” was never accepted when it came to writing and identity in the classroom. I am still trying to work this one out. I could use some feedback and class on how to go about this section.

Darlene: *Subject to change* I was thinking about using some of the articles from class for this section, depending on what the subject is. However, I am sure that the topic that is chosen will link well with the articles I had in mind. Articles about revision and rewriting in the classroom.

Vee: For my section, I would like to include videos and images to express my concern for the politics of language in a basic classroom. Along with those images and videos, I would insert a small blurp underneath giving a description on why I believe this is relatable to my topic. I will base this all on my own experience of dealing with the unawareness I had with the politics of language in my learning environment. For that, I will use the example I used this semester with Lena from “A Different World”.

Revision Strategies… Blog post 9

The article Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers by Nancy Sommers discusses the different models of the writing process. Her focus primarily is on the revision part of the writing process. In the article, she describes revision as ” a sequence of changes in a composition-changes which are initiated by cues and occur continually throughout the writing of a work” (pg. 380). She presents two other theories of revision from educators Gordon Rohman and James Britton.

  • Gordon Rohman’s suggest that the composting process moves
    from prewriting to writing to rewriting (“A writer is a man who … puts [his] experience into words in his own mind”-p. 15)
  • James Britton’s model of the  writing process as a series of stages described in metaphors of linear growth (conception-incubation-production)v

Revision, in Rohman’s model, is simply the repetition of writing; or to pursue Britton’s organic metaphor, revision is simply the further growth of what is already there the “pre-conceived” product. The absence of research on revision, then, is a function of a theory of writing which makes revision both superfluous and redundant, a theory which does not distinguish between writing and speech. (pg.379)

Both theories are modeled on the forms of speech of the writer. In order to properly analyze these theories of writing, Sommers conducts a case study comparing student and adult writers.

The student writers were twenty freshmen at Boston University and the University of Oklahoma with SAT verbal scores ranging from 450-600 in their first semester of composition. The twenty ex-perienced adult writers from Boston and Oklahoma City included journalists, editors, and academics. To refer to the two groups, I use the terms student writers and writers because the difference between these experienced principal two groups is the amount of experience they have had in writing. (pg 380)

These two groups of writers were asked to write three essays and revise it twice for a final product. The results showed that the student writers “did not seem comfortable using the word revision and explained that revision was not a word they used” (pg. 380). The experienced writers, on the other hand, “describe their primary objective when revising as finding the form or shape of their argument” (pg. 384)

Her article further discuss these two models of the revision process and the different approach of both groups of writers. This article is important in the context of teaching writing because it is a very important process that all students must learn and teachers should teach students the best ways to revise their work.

Read the Article Here   

I agree with Serkan’s idea of fake news as a theme for the class group project. I think it is an important part of the class research as well as its opportunity to be creative.  We can each present a fake news and discuss its relationship to teaching students in the classroom.

Creative and Functional: Revision vs. Rewriting

Every writer, whether student or professional, has a process for the journey from ideas to finished product. How the writer learns and interacts with that process is the topic discussed in both Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers by Nancy Sommers as well as Teaching Writing as Process Not Product, by Donald Murray. Both pieces provide insight and inspiration collected through many years of experience.

Nancy Sommers led Harvard’s Expository Writing Program for 20 years and established the Harvard Writing Project. She is a renowned researcher and the author of several books on compositional studies. In Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers, Nancy Sommers outlines several theorists that support writing as a linear process connected mainly to the function of oration. She then takes the reader through the portal of her case study which investigates the relationship to revision in student and experienced writers.

The essay outlines the significant distinctions that contrast approaches to the stages of writing in student writers verses experienced adult writers. The students tended toward a “thesaurus philosophy of writing[1],” with their main focus on cleaning up the word choices and checking for redundancy. The thesis statement was acting as a cage with a suffocating component rather than a structure on which to build. On the other hand, the experienced writers tended toward a relationship with revision that was not linear, allowing and inviting each change impact the whole. The process involved honing the argument and refining lines of reasoning. It often engaged the perceived reader as a collaborator as the writer transforms the content into a thesis. The thesis is part of the evolution of the product becoming a structure on which to build further. The reader arrives soundly on the other side; with the understanding that revision is not just a rewording activity. Through the work accomplished in this case, study Sommers redefined revision as “a sequence of changes in a composition. Changes which are initiated by cues and occur continually throughout the writing of a work[2].”

Donald Murray was a Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and columnist for The Boston Globe. He was a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire for twenty-six years as well as a writing coach for several national newspapers. Donald Murray’s mission was to demystify the process of writing. He explored the habits, processes, and practices of writers and took seriously his role of the coach; generously sharing his findings. Murray divides the writing process into three distinct stages: prewriting, writing and rewriting[3]. Although his outline follows the seemingly linear format that Sommers’ critiques, Murray’s presentation of the process is anything but linear.

Murray adds and emphasizes the human touch of the teacher. He presents the importance of the educator’s role in influencing the relationship a student develops to their writing. An educator must consistently redirect and re-engage the student in the process of seeking out their truth. Murray encourages the reader to teach process not product and create curriculums from this vantage point. He places listening and interaction at the heart of compositional studies and reveals ten implications of teaching in this style which include student-driven text, unique subjects and language, multiple drafts as needed, creativity and functionality side by side, individual exploration, alternatives without limitation, time, mechanics and in the end a grade. Murray emphasizes the importance of time and space to allow a process to unfold before completing a final product. Even then, the writer is never finished.

Although I found Nancy Sommers’ case study very interesting as a starting place, it fell short for me in several regards. I would argue that the variables were only subjectively distinguished. In separating groups by age and experience, many other questions were opened and left unaddressed. I would like to test long-term studies to see what stages are contingent on the development of the frontal lobe of the brain and a result of matured executive functioning. I would also like to track more specific distinctions in learning style using the seven different styles that have been outlined by Mainemelis, Boyatzis, and Kolb: visual, aural, verbal, physical, logical, social, and solitary[4]. Working with a similar process to Sommers, I would like to analyze data through the lens of these learning categories.

I would also like to find a way to isolate the significance of mentorship and coaching in the development of writers from student to experienced writer. Inherent in Sommers’ study is the idea of making independent writers. Relationship to the teacher is implied, but not directly connected to the data. Murray emphasized this component in his work. I believe mentorship and human interaction is a vital part of the process is. That is where the art of teaching comes in to play. Even in a classroom setting each writer can and should be addressed as an individual with a unique process. I believe this is what Murray meant when he said: “respect the student .” By nature, students are result/goal oriented. It’s the nature of the education system because grades have been an essential way to codify and measure learning.

In some ways, I think the process is just as it should be. Every so often each learner comes upon a mentor that shifts the process from autopsy to a living and connected experience. These moments are magical, precious and select. I always heard that it takes ten years to no longer be a beginner at anything. In my experience, writing has stages to pass through. I see each stage as a rite of passage each time I go through the process. I love the loose way that Murray outlines the stages and then infuses the personal touch.

Questions about the content of the articles:

1). Maturity is progressive, and executive functioning develops as the frontal lobe of the brain matures. For most this process continues into the mid or late twenties. Perhaps to teach these more evolved forms of “revision” will create more opportunity for stress and frustration. Is the linear process necessary for young writers to become the more developed experienced writer?

2). Regarding inspiring student writers. How much of that is the teacher’s responsibility and how much the student’s responsibility to be present, open, and engaged?

3). The question of time. How much of it is a lack of time?

4). Is the problem the fact that students think it is supposed to be easy? How do we teach process without suffocating creativity? How do you inspire? How do you engage? How do you find the “truth?”



[1] Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to Student Writing. College Composition and Communication, 33(2), 148-156. doi:10.2307/357622 p381

[2] Sommers, N. (1982). Responding to Student Writing. College Composition and Communication, 33(2), 148-156. doi:10.2307/357622 p. 381

[3] Villanaueva, Victor. Cross-Talk In Comp Theory. A Reader. Urbana, Illinois. “Teaching Writing as Process Not Product.” Donald Murray.

[4] Mainemelis, C., Boyatzis, R. E., & Kolb, D. A. (2002). Learning Styles and Adaptive Flexibility: Testing Experiential Learning Theory. Management Learning33(1), 5–33. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350507602331001


Further reading that I would like to connect to these two essays:

  • James Zull


  • Learning styles:


  • Cassidy:



Regarding end of they year group project:

I love the idea that seems to be settling of a potluck website. My understanding is that we each pick a theme to submit and then everyone will make an entry on each of the themes.

The theme I would like to put forth is the idea of inspiring students to write and revise. I am interested in how each person in our class would present an assignment that leaves the space and time that Murray referred to in his essay. How would you create an assignment that both leaves room for a search for the truth and develops the skill of mechanics and argument simultaneously. So the assignment should have room for three revisions as Sommers presented in her study.





Revising a Journey

Reading the articles, Teach Writing As a Process Not Product and Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers, by Donald Murray and Nancy Sommers respectively, made me visualize an analogy of sort. The message that the articles attempt to share is basically allowing students use the language as a tool to discover themselves. The writing process in itself should be a reflection of their personalities and views on life; understanding who they really are. Therefore, an analogy such as the following could be made from it:

There is an inexperienced guide who wishes to make a trip into an unknown region. He believes that making a solo trip will allow him to earn the experience he needs in order to become a real and dependable guide. Based on what he knows, also on his own intuition and expectations of what is to come, he begins to make the necessary preparations for it. He could visualize his journey; an informative experience consist of trials and hardships out in the wilderness. A backpack full of important items, a sleeping bag, and even a walking stick are all included in his list of ideal components.

The first steps of the journey make him excited, as well as pretty nervous. He considers the possibility of failing in his quest but manages to find the courage to continue. A lot of effort is required of him. He treks through an unknown land full of forests, hills, and streams. He makes mistakes along the way, such as taking the wrong turns or following the wrong trails, but he figures out the perfect path to reach the destination; the farthest reach of the land. He begins to realize that the journey is a self-discovery of his own nature in actuality and the path-finding aspect is only an incentive. He keeps a paper with drawings and notes on it. As he discovers more paths and signs, he jots down more notes or discards others. Eventually, he makes it to the end of his journey and recalls his full experience for one final reflection of his achievement.

He now feels the need to perfect a map and share it with others. Based on his recollection, he makes the adjustments needed. A map with great artwork and crucial marginal notes that displays the region with utmost details is created. The sheet of paper is basically a culmination of his full experience he has earned from his journey, and it is ready to be shared by everyone else who is interested. He now feel confident that he has taken a big step toward becoming a great guide in the future.


Final Project:

In our last class, we have decided to create a web-page that displays written works based on different themes. I think, I would like to go with the theme/topic that we have already explored in the class and it is Fake News. Or rather, being more specific, exploration of how people conceive what truth is and how they choose “the truth” that benefits them the most. There is a couple of sources that come to my mind which would be very useful for this project. One of them is a YouTube video showcasing a psychological study in relation to this particular topic. Another source is an old article I had read long time ago, and it is about the concept of truth. It examines how people choose to believe in “the truth” by the way it is presented to them. Though, I will have to find the article first in order to be able to use it. Of course, Equity Unbound could also be a great resource.

Writing Process/Revision: We Need to do Better

“Instead of teaching finished writing, we should teach unfinished writing, and glory in its unfinishedness.” -Donald M. Murray (4)


I never seem to get bored when it comes to reading our weekly articles. I love the adrenaline feeling when I learn something new. There were many nuggets throughout both articles that I had never heard before or seen the perspective of. Both quotes from the articles above stood out to me because of the honesty it carried. The first one, from Donald M. Murray, discusses the process of writing and how it affects the students’ writing. Murray states that we should treat writing as a process and not a product. What I found interesting was how he described the process we should teach:

  1. It is the process of discovery through language.
  2. It is the process of exploration of what we know and what we feel about what we know and what we feel about what we know through language.
  3. It is the process of using language to learn about our world, to evaluate what we learn about our world, to communicate what we learn about our world.

(Murray, 4)

I never heard someone say that we should appreciate the fact that a piece of writing is never truly finished. Usually, what students are taught is to hand in a draft, revise it, and then hand in a final draft. Some teachers allow two or three drafts. I personally have not that opportunity unless I was in one of my required writing courses during my undergraduate years. In high school, it was just that “process.” Write, revise, hand in “final.” I value lessons that allow teachers to not be so set in their ways and prideful that teachers can’t learn new ideas and tricks. That is exactly what Murray suggested in the first quote above; teach unfinished writing.

Murray also mentioned ten implications to the writing process:

  1. The text of the writing course is the student’s writing.
  2. The student finds his own subject.
  3. The student uses his own language.
  4. The student should have the opportunity to write all the drafts necessary for him or her to discover what he has to say on this particular subject.
  5. The student is encouraged to attempt any form of writing which may help him, or she discover and communicate what they have to say.
  6. Mechanics come last.
  7. There must be time for the writing process to take place and time for it to end.
  8. Papers are examined to see what other choices the writer might make.
  9. The students are individuals who must explore the writing process in their own way, some fast, some slow, whatever it takes for them, within the limits of the course deadlines, to find their own way to their own truth.
  10. There are no rules, no absolutes, just alternatives. What works one time may not another. All writing is experimental.

These implications don’t require much. According to Murray, they require, “a teacher who will respect and respond to his or her students, not for what they produced, but for what they may produce, if they are given an opportunity to see writing as a process, not a product” (Murray, 5). This statement is what the article is all about. As a future teacher and learner, I believe applying this method would show a significant shift in the classroom culture.

“Good writing disturbs: it creates dissonance. Students need to seek the dissonance of discovery, utilizing in their writing, as the experienced writers do, the very difference between writing and speech-the possibility of revision.” -Nancy Sommers (387)

Tieing Murray’s article to Nancy Sommer’s article, she discusses another important aspect of writing that I don’t hear much about either, which is inspiration. Just like the unfinished writing, inspiration was something that my teachers did not strive upon. I had to be analytical and sound a certain way to have the “okay” for my teachers to give me a passing grade. Sommers, however, explains how a student’s level of inspiration is what’s going to allow them to write to their best ability.

“For the students, the extent to which they revise is a function of their level of inspiration. In fact, they use the word inspiration to describe the ease or difficulty with which their essay is written, and the extent to which the essay needs to be revised. If students feel inspired if the writing comes easily and if they don’t get stuck on individual words or phrases, then they say that they cannot see any reason to revise. Because students do not see revision as an activity in which they modify and develop perspectives and ideas, they feel that if they know what they want to say, then there is little reason for making revisions” (Sommers, 382).

There needs to be more of a push for students to want to write, not a need. What I took away from these two articles are not only reviewing strategies but that we need to rethink what the purpose of the classroom is for. Is the classroom a place for sacrificing young minds to create a product that doesn’t benefit them? Or is a place to create and recreate a writing process for students to become experienced writers and become inspired?

“This process of discovery through language we call writing can be introduced to your classroom as you have a very simple understanding of that process, and as soon as you accept the full implications of teaching process, not product” (Murray, 4).

We need to do better…


POTLUCK!: Reflection on Final Project


I was really inspired from last week’s class from the idea created by my classmates of having a Potluck website for our final project. The theme that I had in mind to bring to the table was the idea of language. The two articles from my presentations during this semester have broadened my spectrum when it comes to the idea of what language really is and how it can affect students during their learning process. Starting off with my own experience of language and discover how my home dialect conflicted with academic writing. Second language speakers, native English speakers, ASL, all of these language barriers are brought to the classroom. Unfortunately, there are not many methods and teachings on how to deal with them. I would like to contribute the articles and findings of my own from this semester to the Potluck along with whatever my fellow grad classmates have in mind as well.


A Quick Stop by the Writing Center

The first thing I remembered after reading the article, Tutoring ESL Students:
Issues and Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva, was the Learner Autonomy class that I had to take when I was an undergraduate student. More specifically, the time when we had guests from the writing center of the university who conducted an exceptional long presentation for us. The goal of their presentation was encouraging students to take full advantage of their services in writing center. It was a meticulous and an effective presentation. As I had expected, none of the students in that class decided to attend any of those tutoring sessions afterwards. I knew ESL students all too well.

I still find it fascinating to this day, that majority of ESL students are very reluctant for tutoring in writing. I believe one major problem tends to be the fear that stems from the idea of being inadequate. I’m sure most ESL teachers deal with this issue quite often. I remember a certain student from one of my ESL courses who could write poems in her own language and share them with others during breaks. Unfortunately, she used to struggle with English and it was obvious that made her tense during the lessons. That inability to take full advantage of the language caused her to feel incompetent and she was reluctant to push herself to full potential. ESL students feel the need to hide their proficiency level, especially if they believe it is at a low level. It serves as a great obstacle. Attending the writing center is seen by some as a sign of weakness. So, most of the students avoid it. The students who do not shy away from it are the ones who stand a great chance of improving their abilities in writing.

It is important to note that some of those attentive students might have different set of expectations than intended. As the article puts it: “Tutors are supposed to be educators, not personal editors. This problem is often a result of a mismatch between the assumptions and expectations of tutors and students.” That seems to be the case most of the time. The students attend sessions in writing center simply to get their essays edited out before handing them in. One possible reason why this sort of expectation occurs could be the way that writing centers are promoted as. They need to be seen as additional lessons. As in, certain students require “make-up” classes to improve their abilities without spotlighting the inadequacy and making sure that the focus of these sessions are not just error-correcting.

There was an example in the article about the usage of prepositions and how it could be challenging to delve into. It was this particular statement: “Tutors can be reduced to stunned silence when they try to explain why we say ‘on Monday’ but ‘in June’.” Although I understood what the intention was, I believe the chosen example was poor. Prepositions indeed pose a great challenge for ESL students to comprehend but it is not the basic form as shown in that example. I remember doing a preposition exercise in the class with domino pieces (actually cutout papers) after going over an intuitive chart that displays the rules; general settings require ‘in’, more specific settings require ‘on’, and very specific settings require ‘at’. The students could always recall back to that fun exercise and correct their errors; it was not that hard. I believe a more complex preposition comparison such as ‘about’ vs. ‘of’, when to use which, would have been a better example to display in the article (I do not know why this bugged me so much).

Speaking of errors, the article makes an interesting distinction between global errors and local errors. This was a topic of many discussions in my TESOL classes in university. Though, I can’t seem to recall if we ever used those particular terms from the article while we were discussing them. An example from one of the discussions included the answer “I think, it went boring” after being asked: “How was the meeting?” The verb ‘went’ does not seem to make sense in that context but the logic is something transferred from the mother language of the student. The article suggests that these types of patterns could be detected by the instructor. However, I do not think it is necessarily easy to correct them on the spot without explaining the reasoning. Obviously, a grammatical reasoning could be offered but it is not a local error as mentioned. Global errors in writing, especially by ESL students, occur by mixing the logic of two different languages. Although I am certain a more in-depth lesson about this issue could be conducted in class, offering alternative examples as to why the term ‘went’ does not sound right would probably the best approach to handle it during a session in the writing center, where the time and resources are limited.

It is difficult to handle these sorts of issues at times. The section of the article that introduces certain strategies reminded me of my own presentation from last week. It was based on the article, Writing Comments on Students Papers, by John Bean and there are a lot of parallels between the two articles in terms of how to effectively resolve certain issues in writing. Of course, the effectiveness depends on the execution by the instructor. One specific common strategy mentioned was hierarchy of errors to be concerned about; higher-order issues such as ideas, organization, and development that tend to be more rhetorical in comparison to lower-order issues such as grammar, spelling, and style that could be addressed better at a final stage.

This article ended up being a great follow-up to previous week’s. It was very informative, and it could also serve as a reminder of many important aspects that we have discussed in class so far. It certainly did remind me of many things from my own experience and it is a great thing; being conscious of possible issues in order to be ready to deal with them when encountered.