Month: February 2017

Revision Reflection I

From last wednesday to today, I’ve spent a couple scattered hours working on revising my literacy analysis. From my first draft, I was given some advice to expand where I made connections between the experts of literacy and my own analysis as well as to the pool of literacy narratives that my analysis is based on. My conclusion was lacking in leaving a final impact and wasn’t fully expressing my train of though, that was one paragraph that multiple people commented on. So I spent most of my time trying to find evidence and quotes that I could mix in to ‘beef up’ my essay.

My introduction to the essay was completely rearranged and put in a slightly more functional order that I think will allow others to follow better. But it still needs some work to allow a reader to get the gist of the conversation upfront. To be able to better understand what question I am trying to answer.

One of the reasons that my conclusion continues to struggle is because my introduction fails to provide the base for it. Without a solid introduction, my conclusion can’t reach as far as I want it to. To properly do this, I need to continue to take in more from Alexander, Brandt and Delpit. Such as Brandt’s ideas behind sponsorship and her conclusion. Or Delpit’s example of a relationship leading to success.

An essential piece to academic writing is willing to go back and change things. To actually revise and look at the overall picture. Look at what the essay asks of the writer and then look at how you can go past that to actually create something rather than simply rearranging information into your own words. Academic writing should have the writer’s own ideas and influence on the paper. It is also important to go beyond concepts, there needs to be actual evidence in a paper. Not just ideas, proof behind them.

Revision Plans

While experiencing some technical difficulties with the video, I’ve decided to post the general summary here. This is what I hope my revision will work to accomplish.

First of all, as suggested by comments on my paper, I’m going to go back and add more direct conversation between Alexander and the rest while also checking my terms with how I presented them in the essay.

My introduction needs to be worked on, focused more on the direction of the essay and less on explanations. Summaries are handy and all but there is currently an excessive amount. As a habit, I ended up talking mostly about Gee since he was the one that we’re most familiar with and have been working with since the beginning. But One of the main voices of the paper should be Alexander.

Later on, I begin to make connections that seemed popular but failed to set it up fluently. Unless I tweak parts of the essay and rework them, my furthering of the conversation will not have as great of an impact.

One of my peers pointed to my conclusion as needing the most work. That isn’t such an unfamiliar comment for me. Often my conclusions don’t end on a powerful enough note and tend to be unfocused. By the end of my essays, I’ve usually forgotten the outline and just continue to write. That makes my endings a bit messy.

Overall, there’s a lot that I could do to improve my essay. This is just the first draft, one step in the right direction. It attempts to answer all of the questions and tries to be too many places at once. At its worst, it’s my thoughts written out on a paper. At its best, it’s the start.

Initial Findings

From the first few stories that I have read, there is certainly a theme among them. Every story can be tossed into a category. Most of them were victims or heroes. One was a prodigy. Another could make a case for an outsider. Most of the stories were able to shake the cookie cutter master narratives and become more individualized to the person, yet all the stories managed to have a common thread. The most popular category that I chose for the stories was that of an outsider. Someone who had given up, didn’t fit in, and was alone. It was them against the world for a while in the stories. Thankfully most ended on the up rather than them still searching for a way to fit.

People wrote a moment of their literacy. As a reader, we can only guess at what made them choose what they chose. Maybe it was a memory that struck them as the most interesting, the first thing that jumped into their head. Or maybe they’re bitter about reading and writing and wanted to vent their issues with it. To give an explanation. We don’t know. They didn’t exactly come out and say it. It could be that they simply wrote because they were told to. How accurate does that leave the placement of stories into categories?

Reading Alexander

Alexander took over 700 essays on literacy and broke them up into eight categories. The most common theme that she was able to place a literacy narrative into was “Success.” That was when a story linked their success with liberation and development. Every category was listed with an explanation of what it meant and how it was linked and while every story could have multiple categories, she limited it to only one. These categories were known as a whole as the cultural narratives in student essays. Something that would be a link between all stories.

She also began to talk about master and little narratives. Master narratives were more uniform than unique. The stories were conventional, institutionalized. While little narratives were more ‘local.’ They focused on the individual, on the experiences that would challenge the master.

In the end she focused on the impact that having a view of success would impact our reading thought. She claims it ruins the practice for pleasure and leaves an individual views reading as a practicality.

Then again, as she points out, the assignment often leads the individual to thinking that the teacher wants a success story. It would help to understand why 98% had a successful theme in the story.

She sums up her essay by noting the importance of bringing more attention to little and master narratives. That the more awareness that they have the deeper that children will be able to go in terms of understanding literacy.

It’s true that before reading this, I had never heard of little and master narratives. Those were new terms, by name. The ideas behind them were somewhat familiar though. There are those ideas that are uniform and those are that are not. It is important to notice a difference between the two. I find that the stories that are more ‘little’ come from the people that have more creativity and individuality.

There are some points in her writing that I disagree with, mostly her points where she begins to talk about success  and practicality getting in the way of pleasure and how seeing reading as a necessity is a limiting point.

Nowadays, reading is a necessity. You can’t function in today’s world without being able to read. That doesn’t stop others from reading for pleasure.

Alexander makes many points throughout her writing and research which are practical and understandable to the point where they will influence how i look at the literacy narratives that I am reading. Her system of categorizing, though not perfect, is a good way to start. And incorporating her ideas of little and master narratives would give a better understanding to the process of literacy.

Rising Needs

At the beginning of 122, you asked us what a teacher was. People tossed around answers and for the most part, you agreed with them. Except you shied away from the idea that a teacher should inspire a student. Something to hope for yes, maybe. but not necessarily a norm. But it should be. Students are young and stupid. Too many of them don’t know what they have and what they’ll need. They need teachers to inspire them and challenge them to go farther than they would. So much of a student’s life is writing just for the grade. And it shouldn’t be like that, teachers should try to make students look past that. To reach for more than just a grade.

Nearly every story so far has spoken of a teacher. For the most part, it’s in a negative light. Too much work, too hard, impossible. The words of people who have given up on reaching. But those who talk of a teacher that pushed them, there’s almost a light.

Which is why students need inspiration. Something to strive for.

Especially in a world where answers can be found instantaneously. The idea that we need to learn permanent information is a bit fuzzy. Those of us without a clear goal and the motivation to get there, won’t. At least not honestly.

People are raised in groups, and often that means that they are used to at least a minimum amount of support. Most of the stories failed to get that support early on and had an impact on how they view learning.

Kids need to be able to strive towards something. But that takes just the tiniest bit of understanding and acceptance from people outside of a group. How can they learn this discourse if their mentor is unwilling to induct them?

On  the other hand, looking at some of the stories make me frustrated at the narrators. In part because there are the few that only see one answer to their problems and fail to try to talk to the ‘bad’ teacher. Maybe it’s just parts of the literacy that they left out but if that’s the case, then it’s frustrating not to hear the whole story.

One story, a girl’s entire class was struggling. And yet there was no mention of going to the teacher and asking him to slow down or anything. She contradicts herself in saying that she needed help, realized she was on her own, and that she couldn’t just hope for the best and do it on her own. She describes him as a good teacher before saying that everyone was struggling and he would assign too much homework for one night and expect it the next day.

Maybe he was a frustrating teacher that never listened to the students but then how could he be defined as a good teacher?

It’s an interesting story that leaves me unsatisfied.



Most of the stories that I’ve read seem to be reflective. The authors took up the voice of an adult looking back into the past. For some of them, the resentment had faded out but for others… you could still feel their frustration. The more positive ones, stories that had reached a conclusion, had gotten their answers were the most satisfying ones to read.

When I read,  I get into it. I tap into the emotions that my eyes pick up on and I run with it. So to the stories that never got a happy ending and are still waiting for a conclusion, those stuck out to me.

For most of the stories, the big event where there’s a change or a start in someone’s literacy career, that’s when new relationships were made. Which makes sense since literacy was created for communication. So of course relationships are going to have the biggest impact on them.

Besides the narrator of the story, there were supporting characters that either played the villain or took on the role of a mentor/friend. Someone introduced them to literacy. And either they got along or they didn’t.

Some stories, their primary discourse simply didn’t lead into writing and reading. Other stories set them up for a perfect introduction to reading but something went wrong. All of them had someone.

Who deserves the blame? It’s weird because most of the stories that I’ve read so far place the blame on someone else.