Category: English 123

The Culture of Hands, realize & revise

first drafts are always a mix between unfortunate and a half done ideas. Parts of my paper work already, but there are some areas that could be touched up on to make it that much smoother and have a stronger impact. Some of my ideas for change came up before my group even looked at the paper, other things were discussed in the group, or they provided ideas on how I might want to further what I say.

Things that I knew I wanted to work on before the group round up:

Editing on: looking at the basic grammar, correction some comma splices, sentence fragments, as well as faulty comparisons. There was some repetition in my writing that I noted and plan to fix before my final draft. The biggest issue that I seemed to have was nonsense sentences. When read, the sentence simply wouldn’t make sense with the words that I had chosen, this led to some of the sentences being rewritten. Nonsense sentences are a typical error for me. There are a lot of times where I will think of a sentence in my head and simply type the words out incorrectly, or I will look away from the screen to type it out. Distractions that pull me from my writing lull and whatever someone says to me will make it onto the paper instead of the thought I was in the middle of. There is also a lack of quotes and speaking from other authors that need to be added in. I lead onto some points but lack the direct communication that will give my claims more weight. That’ll also be worked on between now and the final draft…

After meeting with my group and discussing my paper:

Addition to the point of the title, build more into that. Culture of hands. Reference the comments, build into that. Japanese potter expand on that, how it applies to life, being a potter. Newcomers, to art in general can sometimes forget the value in things that are already used, they prefer new to old.

Add in small section of the hand techniques, probably next to the techniques/strength it takes to actually form the clay.

Add in more direct references to what discourse is and incorporate it into the paper.

Expand on the conclusion, why it is worth the effort to join.

Final Review of the Product

Weak points:
A lot of the time I resort to paraphrasing my work and not making clear my evidence. I was told that the introduction was a bit rough, while it tried to set up the essay, there would be a bit of confusion for any newcomer that tried to read my essay. Terms that they wouldn’t completely understand. Throughout my essay though, my sources are limited. They don’t have a strong and direct voice in the paper. My focus also is usually universal, which can be a good thing but I never focus my work in or provide concrete examples or expand on my thinking through the examples I do provide.

My definition of terms and there uses were considered good. This led to my solid argument, which also led to my conclusion that was connected decently to the whole of my essay. I leave the essay with a lot more questions than answers. This could be considered a weakness but as I intended for that to be the result, since that would possibly lead a curious passerby to further investigate and create there own claims, this generation of questions is a pro.

The best thing to do to improve in my work for the future would be to work on my weaknesses so that they can further my arguments that I try to make in essays in the future. I have a lot of ideas that I try to incorporate into my paper, it would be helpful to focus more on one or two ideas and find solid evidence base for it, for future papers.


Analyzing Problem 23

The best way to show someone how to speak and communicate is to start off with the basics. In Problem 23, a teacher begins by dictating a short sentence, “I love the puppy.” Students are then expected to write down the sentence with the correct spelling. She adds on to the writing experience by asking for all the students to write down an additional 7 spelling words. She then begins an interactive activity of correcting all the words and having the students correct each other. This is a good opportunity for the students to practice their words as well as practice play with others. Later on she introduced a book for the group to possibly one day read, but for today their job was to translate images into words and try to figure out the story.

There were some conflicts in this program though. One girl continued to try to jump ahead. She would see patterns in the words and that would cause her to go to the next word before anyone else. While her eagerness and confidence could be admirable, the child does not yet have a solid grasp on language well enough to go alone. This is what led to her having two words incorrect. Part of her job right now is to listen and learn. Her jumping ahead also harms the other children’s learning, it takes time from the teacher and then repeated instruction is needed.

In the passage, there are points where the teacher’s frustration can easily be seen. The troublemaker girl is excited at the book reading, and the teacher’s tired response of “Well, just calm down” could be the response of a bored teacher who’s done this activity countless times in the past. Her repeated attempts to tell the girl to calm down lead a reader to believe she is frustrated by a girl who never listens.

Looking at the child’s response to the teacher, an argument for their initial meeting and social standings with each other could be the cause of her disobedience. The teacher likely made the mistake of trying to be social and placating in the past, become a friend figure rather than the teacher. This can cause a conflict when she tries to teach concepts to the children, especially to troublemakers, as they don’t feel the need to listen closely or to stay engaged.

Welcoming in the Newcomer (idea gathering)

Discourses. For what feels like a hundred times now. Discourses are the doing-saying-believing combinations that a person/group of people practice. It incorporates the language, communication, and culture. The way and how a person talks.

I, like everyone else, have a set of discourses that I’m fluent in. But the one that I think that would be the most entertaining to introduce a newcomer to would be my discourse as a ceramist. Since I’m fairly new to this as well, yet thanks to years of interaction with art and actual master in the area, I’ve submerged myself into the art.

Honestly, if you don’t know the terms, you’ll already be lost. The movements and hand placements. Holding yourself steady and not budging against the clay. Ceramists for the most part, especially when you make your own glazes just have to accept that they won’t know for sure what the piece will look like until after it’s been fired. And fired. And sometimes fired a third time. Or if the piece will even survive. You accept the unknowing.

The feel of the clay is something else too. When it’s too wet or too dry. It’s things that you learn by doing and that just explaining to an outsider, you’d struggle to understand.

Some interesting points from Gee’s Building Things through Language:

“It is as if you could build a building by simply speaking the words” (31)

His ideas of social groups and practices, how they compliment each other (31)

The Seven Building Tasks of Language (32-41):

Sign Systems and Knowledge

Literacy Archive Project Reflection II

This project started back at the begining of the year when English 122 did. From there we learned what discourse was, who Delpit and Brandt would be to us, and this semester we wrapped up our masters with Alexander. This multi-month project has led to here. The end. After writing our own stories, we went back and analyzed our peers and compared them with the thoughts of our masters and ourselves.

In the essays, we were told to create layered paragraphs that would include thoughts from various authors. That allows for the essay itself to become more complex than it would be if all the voices we’ve learned from spoke separately. Sources are an essential piece of essays that can’t be overlooked. You must integrate them as well as cite who’s information it is that you’re taking.

The interesting thing about this project is seeing how similar some of the stories can be. Literacy is the same for most of the English 122 classes. There are those who struggled with it, those who thrived, those who succeeded as well as those who failed. Alexander was able to divide these stories into 8 simple categories. I believe for the sample that we were able to look at, the categories could have been simplified even further.

There is likely a lot more that I could have done for this process, thoughts that were never written and ideas that were never said. I can look back and see how I failed to make connections to make my piece stronger. But I can also recognize that I’m satisfied with how my essay turned out.

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.