Tag: English

Critique Own Work and Others

My own work:

My methods have not changed from semester to semester. If anything I would say that the time and effort that I put in declined. My drafts had a lot less thought and planning to them.  There were some times that I would look over my previous work and know exactly how I would like to improve the essay, where it would be best to work on and how I could make it better only to drop my motivation to do that.

In the most recent essay that I submitted, I failed to created complex paragraphs that built off of multiple sources within the paragraph itself. There was not a clear lead or idea of where I wanted to bring my paper, and the voices that were added in were shallow and did not create depth to the paper.

Before any of my peers had read my draft, I made this in response to a prompt in class:

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…

Following that, I added on some of the main things that my group would be concerned with in addition to what’s stated previously:

Addition to the point of the title. 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. Expand on the conclusion, worth the effort to join.

The first and second drafts of the essays.

My opinion on other people’s work:

There seemed to be two kinds of rough drafts. The ones that have all the parts of the essay and the ones that aren’t…done. The work that people submit in a rough draft can be brutally criticized so much so that the work is completely removed and the idea scrapped.

And while the first batch of essays were a chaotic mess, none of them were so far out there that as a reader, I had no idea what they were talking about. Their essays right off the bat accomplished the main goal; it introduced me a to a discourse in a way that a newcomer would understand. I had a slight advantage in the beginning stages since I knew what a discourse was already, but the fact that I could read and understand the area that my peers were talking about spoke highly of the paper.

I tried to keep my comments limited and sparse, most of the time I would try to focus on only a couple of points a page as I’ve found more than that often leads to a shut down on the author.

 

 

Culture of Hands (final draft)

Outsiders psych themselves out. Becoming an artist, more specifically a ceramist, is not about natural talent. It is about time and effort. A diligence to become better. No one is born ready to play soccer, just as no one is born to draw or sculpt clay. It’s a practice that leads to perfection with time and failures; the most basic thing individuals need to master this art is a willingness to continue even when he or she does not want to anymore.

Mastery does not come just from watching another perform the task, though it does provide a platform for imitation. The language of a ceramist is “mastered by overt instruction (even less so than languages, and hardly anyone ever masters a language sitting in a classroom setting.) We master by apprenticeship, through social practices and supported interactions and time by people who have already mastered the discourse” (Gee 7). Experience is an essential part of mastery, it is “how people, given the proper support, can ‘make it’ in culturally alien environments” (Delpit 550). Certain hand placements, recognizing how pliable clay will be just from the look of it, even mixing glazes. Talking about such things are completely different from experiencing it. That is why the best mentors will let their apprentice try out all his or her ideas, so that they will see what exactly that will do or why that would be a bad idea. Instead of simply being told yes or no, real experience is gained.

In a room, there are several students. All of them have had prior experience taking an art course, but not all of them have ever experienced building via clay. Some of the students fool around and joke. There are those who do not value the chance that they have been given. In fact, the majority seems not to care. Only one or two of the students take to this art. Of building things, out of clay with their own two hands. For those students, they understand that there is a value to creating, that the life of an artist is something most are too afraid to endure. For the kids who watch on, they see their lack of skill and claim, “I could never do that,” but that is not true. An artist is not just born. They are made. Through time and practice; a skilled artist takes years to create. Like a wine, the longer they have, the better they are. For the ‘naturals’ of the room, it is not that they are predisposed to it. It’s that they already have a foundation somewhere else that lets them mushfake the practice of ceramics. Mushfaking is when people apply other things (skills, information, values, etc.) when the real thing is not available to use (Gee 13). This allows them to create a substitute in abilities to replace the fact that they are newcomers. When it comes to clay, an apprentice who is proficient in kneading dough in the kitchen might have already mastered one area. Wedging clay is similar to kneading dough; for a ceramist, air inside of clay is dangerous. The air that is trapped inside of the clay can cause the piece to break when it is being fired. There are many air bubbles inside of reclaimed clay, which is why potters will take the time to wedge all the air out.

A ceramist’s hands are everything to them. Without steady hands, nothing can be built. The intricate designs are impossible to achieve without delicate motions, but the base of the piece that’s made needs a strong foundation. It needs hands that will not budge from their place. On a wheel to center the piece, the hands must work together to cone a piece up and down. That is why to do this properly, the hands touch one another to give them extra stability. The arms are drawn into the body, held near the core. To center clay on a wheel, one hand presses against the body of the clay, usually at the base of the palm since that is the area that will give the least. The other hand will brace the top with the side of the hand that has the pinkie finger as this is the flattest a ceramist can make their hand; this hand will also typically be holding a wet sponge. As the clay spins, it becomes dry and there is no lubrication between the clay and hand. The result of this friction which makes it impossible to deal with. Using a sponge that has a little water in it allows for the ceramist to slowly add water to the body. The water softens the clay and lets the ceramist more easily manipulate piece. There are other processes one might do to build the clay to the height they want it, both hands embrace the sides of the clay and increase the pressure. That forces the clay to ‘cone’ up. A potter might repeat these two processes a dozen times until they are happy with the starting point of the clay.

Technical skills of an artist are just one part of the process. Another side is that of the morals, of the creativity. How far they are willing to put themselves out there. An artist bares their souls to the public and endure the critics. The best pieces are the ones that have a story, something that goes beyond the surface. And the artist is the one that knows that story best, yet rarely do they share the full extent. After all, no matter what they say, it’s the people who decide what they hear.

If someone were to look at a handcrafted bowl, they could think that making that bowl was easy or they could assume that some skill went into this. They would probably not think deeper than that. They wouldn’t think of the journey that the clay had had itself or the process by which it was made. The clay that I’m most familiar with is clay that is local to me. There is a business that digs the clay right out of the earth before being ran through machines to wedge the air out and then is it bagged. After being processed, it is driven the few miles to the studio. From there on, it is either made into something or tossed in a bucket to be reclaimed. The clay that makes it into a final product is shaped, sculpted, and then dried out. It’s size shrinks back, first when the water is evaporated from it then again when it is fired. The color or the texture that it’s given is another step of the process, but why were those colors chosen? The texture?

An artist bares his or her soul for the art. And then society overlooks it. The complex realms that they put hours, days, weeks into are thought of for a moment and then forgotten. The life of any artist is hard; they suffer in silence, and only after they are gone does society look back at their art to remember the individual. To be an artist is hard, and there is little gain from it. Some people claim that acquisition of this discourse, “the mastery of which, at a particular place and time, brings with it the (potential) acquisition of social ‘goods’ (money, prestige, status, etc.),” yet during an artist’s infancy, they are worse off (Gee 8). The few connections that they do have, it does not bring them status or fame. So why is it that someone would want to be an artist? The only thing that they could possibly get as a newcomer is self-satisfaction. An inner peace with themselves. Being an artist is one of the hardest things to master. It required an infinite pool of creativity. The best thing a budding ceramist can do is to acquire a master in the art.

Masters are not always easy to find; it is even more difficult to find one that is willing to take on a student. For an apprentice to gain the full membership to being a ceramist they need a sponsor that can open the doors for them, but sponsors don’t take pupils under their wings just for the sake of it. Thankfully there is an incentive for a master to take on an apprentice, “they lend their resources or credibility to the sponsored but also stand to gain benefits from their success, whether by direct repayment or, indirectly, by credit of association” (Brandt 557). Sponsors gain a peer, someone else who appreciates and understands them. An ally of the same field of which they are a part of. There are other forms of repayment to the master but in the end, that is the most significant piece.

Decades ago, a Japanese potter created a style of pottery called Kintsugi, they would mend broken pieces with gold. It has been reformed slightly since then, now it is a mixture between gold and an epoxy. Before this method was developed, it was originally thought that broken pieces could be fixed but they would be ugly and their value would drop. Once clay has been fired initially, it cannot revert to its pre-bisque form. This makes perfect repairs impossible. And unfortunately, the repairs were ugly. Which is why this style of repair became so popular. It would fix the cracks and while the cracks would still be clearly visible, it was made beautiful. This style demonstrates the idea that the pottery is more beautiful for having been broken. The cracks and mends show a history to the piece. The troubles that it has overcome. A ceramist of this style values what has been broken, almost more so than the pieces that have not faced hardships.

This is not meant to assume that each pot does not have its own story. On the contrary, clay has many secrets hidden in it by the time someone comes along to purchase a piece. Like where the clay originally came from. Or how many times the vase had been started only to be wedged back down or tossed in the reclaim bucket. If it had turned out the way the artist had intended, or if it was as much a surprise to them as it would be to the buyer. The glazes that are homemade tend to be more unstable in their form and decay after time, one firing might be different from the next. There are some steps to a potter’s process that must be taken on faith. A piece shrinks as it dries out and then again when it is fired and becomes bisque ware. There is of course an estimation for how much a piece will shrink and one could take the time to figure it out but a seasoned potter can draw on their previous experience to guestimate. Glazes can be tested before applying it to a piece but there will then be a delay; the final piece may not reflect what the test piece showed. The initial look of glazes cannot be trusted, reds become vivid greens while greys become blue. There are no certainties for clay, it is too fragile. Whether it will survive a firing is a chance; a chance that improves with a potter’s skill, but there are no guarantees. Some parts of the process must be taken on faith.

The basics of pottery are easy to master. Individuals can pick up on the superficial features of mastery with practice but there are subtler aspects that one cannot learn without interaction with masters (Delpit 557). A prominent difference between master and apprentice is their willingness when it comes to store made glazes. A master might claim that it is not true pottery when a premade glaze is used, that the potter slacked off. While an apprentice would find the premade glazes a blessing and appreciate the diversity that it offered them. The glazes bought from a store are more stable and still create a unique look for each piece. Newcomers apply the glaze themselves, so for them, it should count as a full piece. The difference between master and apprentice here are the values and beliefs. The apprentice who chooses a premade glaze has not yet acquired the full identity of a ceramist.

Gaining a foothold in the world of art is possible to anyone that has the connections or the status. That is true for any discourse, connections and status can get an individual in anywhere. Becoming a potter is an expensive endeavor that those without funds or relationships to the art would struggle to find an opening into the world, but those that have a foundation only need to be willing to dedicate themselves to the act completely. This begs the question of whether it is worth the effort to enter such a world. Each person must answer that by their own standards, are they willing to spend the time, money, and effort on something that could end up benefiting themselves? For me, the answer is yes; pottery is an opening to a word that calls for me. The art and creativity are relaxing but also challenging. There is a solace that comes with the hours spent over a wheel, slowly pulling the walls of the clay up and then carving out the perfect form. The immediate frustration when you nick the lip of the pot; the satisfaction of being able to save it anyways. Pottery for me is nothing but opportunity, an endeavor that I would like to continue with for the rest of my life. Outsiders who want to join are scared off by the skill of masters, yet people should not hesitate to put themselves out there. After all, only those who become a member will truly understand the meaning, the value behind being in such a world.

Happily Ever After

At long last, we’ve reached the conclusion to 123. There have been long hours slaved over a computer, trying in vain to find the words that would be most appeasing. Reading and rereading articles, looking for the right quotes and sayings that will propel our essays just that much further.

We came in to English as a newcomer to the discourse of college. At least mostly. Looking back I’m not all that sure where I progressed. I mean I did. A bit. But that’s typical with practice, you get better. Though I will admit to never before this class spending so much time on any one piece of writing. That was a new thing for me, at most I’ve only ever gone over a paper two or three times before submitting the final version. So this submitting of rough drafts, drafting ideas, exchanging thoughts with my peers as well as my instructor has been an experience for me.

I refuse to say that anything that I submitted was perfect, there’s always room for improvement. I will say that some of it was pretty good though.

When I first came into English 122, I had the mindset not to care about what others thought of my work. I had been a decent yet reserved writer in high school; I decided that I didn’t want to be that way here are UNE. As a result, my writing took a turn for being a bit out there are times and for the most part I was only interested in the creative side of writing. That ended up as my focus.

Still in the end, one could say that English 122 & 123 taught me something.

On the other hand, what did it come to? This year has been an interesting mash of organized chaos. There were many points to this year that I looked at as a refresher while other times it was an interesting challenge.

This class made you work for your grades and essays, it was near impossible to skim any of the work without being left behind in the class. Or found out. Missing class just did not seem to be an option, though for some people that didn’t stop.

Overall, English 123 was a continuation of English 122. There was no great separation between the classes, at most the struggle came from the classes being too similar. There were times when one had to wonder why this was a two part course. The overuse of the word discourse drove one near mad.

Yes there is the benefit with working with a term for so long and building off of it, but on the other hand, it is a near nightmare. There are only so many ways to define terms in papers with your own words before you begin to plagiarize the author or yourself. There were times when I would cancel paragraphs because they had turned out to be too similar to the things that I had previously worked on.

CoH (draft 1)

Outsiders psych themselves out. Becoming an artist, more specifically a ceramist, is not about natural talent. It is about time and effort. A diligence to become better. No one is born ready to play soccer, just as no one is born to draw. Or sculpt clay. It’s a practice that leads to perfection with time and failures, the most basic thing individuals need to master this art is a willingness to continue even when he or she does not want to anymore.

In a room, there are several students. All of them have had prior experience taking an art course, but not all of them have ever experienced building via clay. Some of the students fool around and joke. There are those who do not value the chance that they have been given. In fact, the majority seems not to care. Only one or two of the students take to this art. Of building things, out of clay with their own two hands. There is a value to creating, the life of an artist is something most are too afraid to endure. They see their lack of skill and claim, “I could never do that,” but that is not true. An artist is not just born. They are made. Through time and practice; a skilled artist takes years to create. Like a wine, the longer they have, the better they are.

Technical skills of an artist are just one part of the process. Another side is that of the morals, of the creativity. How far they are willing to put themselves out there. An artist bares their souls to the public and endure the critics. The best pieces are the ones that have a story, something that goes beyond the surface. And the artist is the one that knows that story best, yet rarely do they share the full extent. After all, no matter what they say, it’s the people who decide what they hear.

If someone were to look at a handcrafted bowl, they could think that making that bowl was easy or they could assume that some skill went into this. They would probably not think deeper than that. They wouldn’t think of the journey that the clay had had itself or the process by which it was made. The clay that I’m most familiar with is clay that is local to me. Where I am from, there is a business that digs the clay right out of the earth. After being processed, it is driven the few miles to the studio. From there on, it is either made into something or tossed in a bucket to be reclaimed. The clay that makes it into a final product is shaped, sculpted, and then dried out. It’s size shrinks back, first when the water is evaporated from it then again when it is fired. The color or the texture that it’s given is another step of the process, but why were those colors chosen? The texture?

An artist bares his or her soul for the art. And then society overlooks it. The complex realms that they put hours, days, weeks into are thought of for a moment and then forgotten. The life of any artist is hard. They suffer in silence. And only after they are gone does society look back at their art to remember the individual. Being an artist is hard. There is little gain from it. During an artist’s infancy, they are worse off. The few connections that they do have, it does not bring them status or fame. So why is it that someone would want to be an artist? The only thing that they could possibly get is self-satisfaction. An inner peace with themselves. Being an artist is one of the hardest things to master. It required an infinite pool of creativity.

Mastery does not come just from watching another perform the task, though it does provide a platform for imitation. The language of a ceramist is “mastered by overt instruction (even less so than languages, and hardly anyone ever masters a language sitting in a classroom setting.) We master by apprenticeship, through social practices and supported interactions and time by people who have already mastered the discourse” (Gee 7). Experience is an essential part of mastery. Certain hand placements, recognizing how pliable clay will be just from the look of it, even mixing glazes. Talking about such things are completely different from experiencing it. That is why the best mentors will let their apprentice try out all his or her ideas, so that they will see what exactly that will do or why that would be a bad idea. Instead of simply being told yes or no, real experience is gained.

While masters and sponsors are important for an apprentice to gain the full membership to being a ceramist, they don’t take pupils under their wings just for the sake of it. They are getting something out of this arrangement as well, “they lend their resources or credibility to the sponsored but also stand to gain benefits from their success, whether by direct repayment or, indirectly, by credit of association” (Brandt 557). Sponsors gain a peer, someone else who appreciates and understands them. An ally of the same field of which they are a part of.

Decades ago, a Japanese potter created a style of pottery, called Kintsugi, where broken pieces would be put together again with a mixture of gold and an epoxy. Originally it was thought that broken pieces could never truly be fixed, at least to a level that would be pleasing to the eye. Once clay has been fired initially, it cannot revert to its green-ware form. This made the idea of saving broken pieces improbable, but with this technique, broken pottery can be given a new image. This style holds a strong belief that the pottery is more beautiful for having been broken. The cracks and mends show a history to the piece. 

This is not meant to assume that each pot does not have its own story. On the contrary, clay has many secrets hidden in it by the time someone comes along to purchase a piece. Like where the clay originally came from. Or how many times the vase had been started only to be wedged back down or tossed in the reclaim bucket. If it had turned out the way the artist had intended, or if it was as much a surprise to them as it would be to the buyer. The glazes that are homemade tend to be more unstable in their form and decay after time, one firing might be different from the next. There are some steps to a potter’s process that must be taken on faith. A piece shrinks as it dries out and then again when it is fired and becomes bisque ware. There is of course an estimation for how much a piece will shrink and one could take the time to figure it out but a seasoned potter can draw on their previous experience to guesstimate. Glazes can be tested before applying it to a piece but there will then be a delay; the final piece may not reflect what the test piece showed. The initial look of glazes cannot be trusted, reds become vivid greens while greys become blue. There are no certainties for clay, it is too fragile. Whether it will survive a firing is a chance; a chance that improves with a potter’s skill, but there are no guarantees. Some parts of the process must be taken on faith.  

The basics of pottery are easy to master. Individuals can pick up on the superficial features of mastery with practice but there are subtler aspects that one cannot learn without interaction with masters (Delpit 557). A prominent difference between master and apprentice is their willingness when it comes to store made glazes. A master might claim that it is not true pottery when a pre-made glaze is used, that the maker slacked off. While an apprentice would find the pre-made glazes a blessing and appreciate the diversity that it offered them. The glazes are more stable and still create a unique look for each piece. They apply the glaze themselves, so it should count as a full piece. The difference between master and apprentice here are the values and beliefs. The apprentice who chooses a premade glaze has not yet acquired the full identity of a ceramist.

Gaining a foothold in the world of art is possible to anyone that has the connections or the status. Becoming a potter is an expensive endeavor that those without funds or relationships to the art would struggle to find an opening into the world, but those that have a foundation only need to be willing to dedicate themselves to the act completely. This begs the question of whether it is worth the effort to enter such a world. The answer is yes, but only those who are a member will truly understand the meaning, the value behind such a world.

 

Engagement

Throughout the class, I have been here and focused on whatever was happening in class. Whether it be listening, conversing, or creating.

At times we would be broken down into groups and then we would share ideas with each other. Most of that, if not all was just discussion and there were no notes for it. Online, we commented on our questions and in the essays, we looked at our peer’s writings and pointed out areas of global revision for them to focus on.

This work was done over a few days in class. There would be points of discussion where we would look to how we could further our pieces and how it would be best to improve other’s work as well.

Other times we would look over other’s  thoughts and post responses on line.

Posts throughout on my page are other examples of participation and engagement throughout the semester.

(II)

As the year continued on, while in class, my engagement would stay focused. We did a collaborative google doc between four of us that showed idea generation, examples from papers, and references to use. From there on, most of the engagement came from discussing and reviewing each others’ work. We peer reviewed and marked up pages of fellow students, then talked about what exactly we meant in our comments and expanded on that. There were a few discussion questions posted by the instructor as well.

Integration with Others

The major idea of integration is carrying on a conversation with those that are a master. This is the the end result of active reading typically. You’ve come up with ideas from reading the works of others and now you’re combining those thoughts with theirs in a formal writing instead of along the margins.

Using the formulas that you gave us, I tried to integrate my ideas with other voices whenever possible. One post that I did was:

Sociologists call it the “Matthew Effect.” The way to the ultimate success is through success itself. The better you are, the more you get (30). The richer you are, the richer you become. All it takes is initial success to get the ball rolling, because that’s what creates opportunities. The author makes the argument that one of the biggest opportunities that individuals get is when they are born. He says that it is something that they have neither deserved nor earned the right to this head start (30).
He gets hung up on the smallest of things. It’s true that a baby does not choose when it’s born. It had no say in when it would be conceived. But the parents did, the parents are the ones who created the opportunity for their child. So yes, the child didn’t do anything to deserve or earn a head start. But the parents still worked for that to happen. Because that’s what parents do. They create opportunities for their children and put in the extra effort. One girl, Abby, wrote her narrative “The Giving Tree and Me.” She talks about when she was little and how her and her parents would read book after book. She was raised to see it as a reward. That influenced how she looked at it. Reading wasn’t a punishment, it was an enjoyable moment with her and her parents. Something that she would look forward to. Gladwell would likely say that she had an advantage over her peers. She was exposed to more books early on and was given more opportunities at reading. She was given the support she needed to be able to become better at something.
Sometimes there is no control in the opportunities that we are given. Some people get none while others get hundreds. Being exposed to something often builds a familiarity or a resistance to it. The writer of “The Giving Tree and Me” was given a safe and early environment in the world of reading. There her love for books was able to grow. Unlike other kids who weren’t exposed to the pages of a book early on. The people in her life were able to show her the joy of reading. In her mind books made a strong connection to her family as they became part of her nightly ritual. Gee would agree that her discourse was made to be around books, to the point where it could be considered part of her primary discourse. She was having books read to her by the time that she was two. This would likely affect her language skills and influence her later on in life. For her, her life didn’t have any significant negative moments that would impact how she read. And if there were negative moments, they weren’t strong enough for her to write about them now. She’s able to make connections with the characters in every book that she reads. Characters and poems would be able to influence her in her life that would further her success in reading. Characters who struggled, she faced those struggles with them and was able to survive it. People who are able to make connections to characters are able to go on their journeys with them, to make just as big as an impact, to be able to grow just as much as a character. Initial success in reading is what often leads to this particular opportunity.

This response incorporates voices from multiple sources in each paragraph. In my essay, I took Gee’s, Alexander’s, Delpit’s and Brandt’s voices and incorporated them into my essay. Voices from my peers also came forward. Those however could have been chosen more carefully to bring a move powerful feel to my essay.

Of course if you use multiple sources, you have to cite them. There was no official citing for this piece but there were in text references for the pages that I used to make my points.

I’m not sure if I’ve really made progress anywhere from where I was before. Maybe it’s because I’m too close to it that my level just always feels the same. But again, I feel like the reasoning is the same as on the recursive writing process. Lack of motivation to bring my writing to any higher level. But again, it’s not as if I feel that the work that I did was terrible. In fact, I’m happy with it. There was nothing that really screamed out to me that needed to be looked at for hours on end. That feeling will probably come back to hurt me in the end, but too late now. In the future I would definitely say that I need more attention to all my writing and a willingness to go back again and continue working.

Active Reading

Active reading is when you engage with the text. Instead of simply reading the words on a page, you’re actively thinking about them. Drawing connections between authors and adding your own thoughts. Last semester this was done repeatedly and this semester, thanks to that, the writings of Gee, Delpit, and Brandt were easily discovered again. The varying colors on the page of the different times and thoughts that were added can clearly be seen.

Yet, this semester, I don’t believe we did as many readings. One of the new readings we were introduced to were the stories from Raising Cairn. We read over the work of our peers. You could also point to our peering editing as a form of active reading. Some of my brief summaries on that were:

The Year I Started to Hate Writing
Hannah Clark

Freshmen year. English teacher was a good teacher but not at teaching students… Pretty contradicting. It’s a bit confusing. Extreme amounts of homework. She stayed after for extra help. The fish bowl. Given up on the fact that she needed help from feitas and realized that she was on her own… realized if she was struggling she would need to get help. This is very unclear. At first she was open to the idea of writing but in the end she began to hate it due to her awful teacher. There should be a limit to how much work can be assigned in one night, it gets a bit unreasonable. Though it’s another thing if the teacher can talk through all the concepts in class.

Help
Isolated
Struggling
On her own

Turn Around?
Kayla Farrell

Liked writing and reading until highschool. Teacher ruined it. Put effort into a paper and got a 70. Devastated. Never enough. Then goes on to connect it to the big picture of how everyone has had that teacher that takes the fun out of a subject and ruins it for a student… (Can’t think of one, personally.)

Works lightly with the idea that constructive criticism is a necessity. Duh. Peer review is the start of her reform. Interesting ideas, would’ve loved to see them more developed.

Teacher’s influence
Constructive criticism
Devastated
Your all isn’t enough

The Giving Tree and Me
Abby

Loved being read to/reading bedtime stories. Usually picks. Lets her father pick it instead for once. The giving tree. Sounds familiar. Also score, she went onto harry potter. Another booknerd. How lovely<3 This demonstrated how a positive influence early on helped to view reading as a pleasure. Something that she would stick with for the coming years.

Put aside dislike.
Exception to the norm.

Reread it until you know it. Almost line for line. Then try to forget it. So much so that you can go back another time and feel like it’s the first. A dream I wish I could live.

The Pearl
Bailey Ridley

Elementary school. Mrs. Pearl… plot twist. It’s about a lady not the book. Pushed her to work harder and reach farther. How nice. Hard work pays off, years later and she’s still using her essay as an example for the incoming classes. This is a showcase of what happens when teachers push students the right what.

Striving
Motivated
Aggravation

There were other cases where we would make notes on pages or write responses to questions that you had posted. And one of the new readings that you introduced was Alexander’s.

With her work, I ended up focusing mostly on her ideas behind master and little narratives. Those concepts were intriguing to me and were a large part of my interest in the pieces from Rising Cairn. Parts where she analyzed the similarities in stories also received attention.

One of my struggles with Active reading is to actually make marks on the page. Most of the time I’m content with thinking thoughts or highlighting passages because I believe that I won’t need to write things down and simply seeing what I’ve marked with trigger my memory. This isn’t always the case and often later on leads to a struggle to understand where I was heading. When I write thoughts down, I am then able to build on my understanding and move forward. This was a significant issue when it came to Alexander’s piece. Since it never asked to print it out and bring it to class, I failed to print a copy for my own use. This left me with only a pdf version and a generic summary of my thoughts.

Last semester I would have considered myself close to a master of active reading. Yet with my poor performance this semester, I would downgrade myself. My writings were more of a novice than anything and failed to go beyond anything more than generic if it wasn’t printed out.

Writing as a Process

Writing isn’t just a one shot and submit process. There should be a number of layers that go into your writing process before the first draft is even started. We started out with reading stories, and then we were told to come up with a list of questions, this was mine:

1. What did the stories accomplish?
2. Why is the archive significant?
3. Besides reading/writing, what are common threads between the stories?
4. How should we look at this collection?
5. Where would potential bias come from?
6. Who are we being influenced by?
7. How do the stories compare?
8. How unbiased were the authors?
9. What does it mean to be made the villain/to be hated?
10. What did their stories reveal about who they are now?

We were given two outlines to use for our essay. From that I tailored it to my own question, just to get ideas and thoughts flowing in the order that I would want. This ended up what I typed out:

  • Welcome to discourse/literacy
  • What it is
  • What it does
  • Little/masters
  • Non/dom
  • What the f*** is my research question? (relationships play a role)
  • Connect to alex
  • Intro raising cairn
  • What does studying them have to teach us?
  • Research towards scholarly conversation about literacy
  • Bring in all the other people and discuss.
  • Conclude
  • Answer the question
  • Explain how research contributes

My rough draft followed my ideas pretty well but then on advice from my peers, the following drafts rearranged my outline to be more direct with my question which my paper would be based on and connect it more quickly with people like Alexander.

One of the most significant steps to writing in a recursive process is the global changes that are made. Without looking at the grammar and sentence structure, it’s important to look at the overall flow of the work. That’s why I redesigned my introduction to being more direct and not so wishy-washy.

Another thing I did in prep for my essay was create the 4 slide presentation that was asked of us. This was another moment of generating ideas and finding connections that I would use to build my essay. From there came my first draft.

There are simple universal concepts and actions that span all cultures and discourses. Things that all people do no matter where they are from. In groups, people socialize. There is communication between individuals. But society has advanced on the communication front. Social groups have formed their own discourses.

That was the opening for my essay originally. Afterwards, I’d set it up as:

Conflict is unavoidable because people are different throughout the world. They hold onto their own ideas and thoughts. These conflicting ideas and beliefs often lead to either the rejection or acceptance into a new social group. Kara Poe Alexander examined over seven hundred essays where students explained their story behind whether or not they were accepted into a new discourse.

Honestly, I’m not sure whether or not that I improved more in my writing this semester from last. But I feel like the writing styles from semester to semester were completely different. This semester we wrote a more serious piece, a research essay. Last semester we focused more on out personal narratives, a more creative style of writing. As always, writing will always help to improve yourself, but it still doesn’t feel like I’ve made any progress. There are several explanations that I can theorize as to why, the main two being that this semester I didn’t take a writing tutor. And While last semester’s didn’t help all that much, it at least made me look at my work more. This semester, my motivation to tear apart my work and completely rebuild or to dedicate serious amounts of hours towards a project just wasn’t there. And while I’m happy with the essay that I produced, I know that I could have done a lot more in an attempt to bring it forward.

If I was only looking at this semester’s work, I would say on a scale of 1-10 on novice to master (1 being novice and 10 being master) I’m a 7 or so.

(II)

Interestingly, I wouldn’t change anything that I’ve written about so far. I still struggle to remember or be motivated to add in multiple direct sources. I find that the newer an article is in my mind, the more challenge I’ll take in it. So the continuing use of several papers has sapped all interest in challenging ideas and finding just the right words that will give me the most impact.

TCOR (draft 1)

There are simple universal concepts and actions that span all cultures and discourses. Things that all people do no matter where they are from. In groups, people socialize. There is communication between individuals. But society has advanced on the communication front. Social groups have formed their own discourses. Special ways in communication that involve more than simply saying the right words. Discourses have several layers to them, the first being the primary discourse. This is the basis for someone’s beliefs and values. As relationships expand so do discourses. Following the primary discourse is the secondary discourse. This is further developed into non-dominant and dominant discourses. Dominant discourses provide monetary or status gain along with beneficial connections. Non-dominant discourses typically only provide social connections. All these concepts were first introduced by James Paul Gee. He is one of the foremost thinkers on discourse.

Another prominent figure to this discourse is Kara Poe Alexander. She is responsible for the ideas of the little and master narratives. Alexander also gathered data and analyzed the discourse of a few hundred applicants. There she was able to categorize them into a maximum of eight categories, which was how she was able to start drawing lines between all the narratives. Master narratives were stories that focused on the mainstream ideas such as literacy equaling success. They followed a by the book procedure while little narratives became more local, they would be stories that would focus on an individual rather than that actual literacy. Her categories branched from the ideas of master and little narrative. The categories included were: success, hero, child prodigy, literacy winner, victim, outsider, rebel and other (Alexander 615).

This past semester, a pool of students was asked to submit their own original literacy narrative. From there, students have been given the task of distilling the slough of words in an effort to further the conversation of discourse. While the selection was minute compared to Alexander’s seven hundred essays, this local pool offered the unique views of students who are all at a relatively similar time in their life. Instead of her diverse collection, the students have a uniform selection.

This essay hopes the further the discussion of discourse by looking at the relationships that form the discourse. The majority, if not all, of the students who submitted an essay included a close bond with someone. The story of their discourses all tended to revolve around an individual. That individual could be themselves or someone else. Kayla Farrell’s essay “Turn Around” focused on her struggling against a difficult teacher that pushed too much homework on all of the students displayed a strong influence on how relationships influenced someone’s view. For some students of her story, lost their affection for English. Others faced his difficult teacher head on. Kayla Farrell fell into the side of a fighting. Instead of giving up when presented with a negative influence, she struggled. Spending time after class, she would ask the teacher for help. And when that failed, she went somewhere else. A tutoring center at her high school. The teacher in this case was a mentor that rejected her. He was a member of a dominant discourse yet he was unwilling to positively guide her. Thankfully she’d had enough experience prior that she was able to mushfake her way through. Mushfake is a term coined by Gee that refers to a person substituting in a different discourse when they don’t have right one.

Another essay from the collection was “The Giving Tree and Me,” written by Abby. Her narrative spoke of herself as a young girl with her father. Together they would read stories every night. He was her mentor into literacy. And a positive one at that. Deborah Brandt, another thinker on discourse, would call him her sponsor. A sponsor is someone who offers their knowledge and credibility to the younger and more unaware person (Brandt 557). He introduced her passion for reading, he showed her the value and joy that it can bring. Gee calls their relationship that of a master and an apprentice. Brandt looks at it like a sponsorship. In the end, it is all the same. To be a full member in a discourse, one must first have a way to get in. The standing tradition is to have someone show the other in. There are cases where someone is able to mushfake their way to mastery. But it is a fake one, the only way to truly understand a discourse to become them. Lisa Delpit was another master of discourse. She also believed in the necessity for masters and exposure to the discourse.

Unlike Alexander, the students here seldom wrote about success. Instead, the majority of students focused on local and little stories that emphasized the individual rather than the literacy. This could be due to the initial essay question. Perhaps it was phrased in a way that urged the ideas of a local story. Or the sample size was smaller. It would not be completely out of the question that the majority crafted unique stories that avoided the idea of literacy means success. And maybe literacy does not anymore. Literacy is such an important piece but it is not the only piece. It is something that everyone learns in this culture. Its significance is not so meaningful anymore. The idea that literacy is a step in the right direction has downgraded to being only shifting someone’s eyes to the right direction. Success is still far away and only his or her eyes have moved.

Relationships are an important part of acquiring discourses. In the opinion of the essay, relationships are vital to discourse. Any discourse that involves language needs multiple people so that conversation may happen. Without practice or exposure to those who have already master the discourse, they will be unable to become masters. This is why the masters of language and discourse have a significant amount of responsibility for how individuals turn out. If they fail to accept anyone into a new discourse, then eventually there could be no one around to continue on the discourse. Theoretically if that happened, a new discourse would emerge of people who would value being more open for new members. This is why acceptance and guidance into a new discourse is important for everyone. Why teachers need to focus on having a positive impact on students. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the cases. Many teachers fail to inspire their kids to reach further than they thought to. Those are the teachers and people who help kids learn to hate reading. Their disinterest is the start of a downward spiral for a lot kids. They are forced to mushfake things instead of truly submersing themselves into the conversation.

Of the essays read, the students all clearly showed interactions of people. That there was either someone there to push them forward or someone there to hold them back. This influence of people is significant, especially those who reject them from a discourse. Gee and Brandt have their terms to define the positive influence, but what about the negative? People who discourage are classified only by their rejection. Those who reject however, often have an incredible amount of power towards the individual.

The Conflict of Relationships (final draft)

Conflict is unavoidable because people are different throughout the world. They hold onto their own ideas and thoughts. These conflicting ideas and beliefs often lead to either the rejection or acceptance into a new social group. Kara Poe Alexander examined over seven hundred essays where students explained their story behind whether or not they were accepted into a new discourse. Discourses are how people people speak and act; there are several layers to them, the first being the primary discourse. This is the basis for someone’s beliefs and values. As relationships expand so do discourses. Following the primary discourse is the secondary discourse. This is further developed into non-dominant and dominant discourses; dominant discourses provide monetary or status gain along with beneficial connections while non-dominant discourses only provide social connections. All of these concepts were first introduced by James Paul Gee.

Students of the English 122 class were given the opportunity to replicate Alexander’s study. They were all required to write their own literacy narratives, stories about a significant moment in their life that had to do with reading or writing. Afterwards the narratives would be pooled together under the name Rising Cairn. These stories more often than not, shared a time where a student’s relationship with a mentor was developing. Students of the English 123 class went on to read these narratives and were then responsible for distilling the stories in a process similar to Alexander. Following her study where she first introduced master and little narratives, master narratives followed a tradition outlook at literacy where literacy would lead to success and little narratives were more localized to the individual, she then branched the categories out further into eight choices: success, hero, child prodigy, literacy winner, victim, outsider, rebel and other (Alexander 615). Interestingly, instead of Alexander’s diverse collection of essays, those from English 122 seemed to offer the unique views of students who are all at a relatively similar time in their life. Most of the essays submitted had a common thread, a theme that connected all of the stories.

There are simple universal concepts and actions that span all cultures and discourses. Such as smiling when happy, marriage, and the way people speak. Social groups form habits and create their own values and beliefs, something that someone outside of the discourse could struggle to embrace and understand. This struggle comes from an individual’s primary discourse. Conflicts of discourse could attribute to one of the reasons that people of both Alexander’s study and they people of Rising Cairn struggled. It’s no surprise that most of the essays revolved around their relationships with people. Kayla Farrell’s essay “Turn Around” focused on her struggling against a difficult teacher that pushed too much homework on all of the students and displayed how relationships influenced someone’s view. For some of the students of her story, they lost their affection for English. Others faced his difficult teaching head on. Kayla Farrell fell on the side of a fighter. Instead of giving up when presented with a negative influence, she struggled. Spending time after class, she would ask the teacher for help. And when that failed, she went somewhere else. A tutoring center at her high school. There she was able to find willing masters and sponsors to guide her. Kayla’s teacher in this case was a mentor that rejected her. He was a member of a dominant discourse yet he was unwilling to positively guide her. Thankfully she’d had enough experience prior that she was able to mushfake her way through. Mushfake is a term coined by Gee that refers to a person substituting in a different but similar discourse when they don’t have the ‘correct’ discourse for their audience.

People struggle to obtain the correct discourse without a sponsor. As Brandt explains them, sponsors “are powerful figures who bankroll events or smooth the way for initiates” (Brandt 557). Without them to act as a guide, a newcomer would be unable to master a discourse as they would be unable to gain the experience that they need. Abby’s piece, “The Giving Tree and Me,” was about herself as a young girl with her father. Together they would read stories every night. He was her mentor into literacy and a positive one at that. He introduced her passion for reading, he showed her the value and joy that it can bring. Gee calls their relationship that of a master and an apprentice. Brandt looks at it like a sponsorship while Delpit would see a mentor. No matter the term used to describe the relationship, it is the easiest way to enter a discourse. There are cases where someone is able to mushfake their discourse, to imitate. As they perform, they gain experience and become encultured by it. Mushfake can lead to mastery without a direct sponsor. Lisa Delpit, another master of discourse, also believed in the necessity for masters and exposure to the discourse. To truly become a member of a discourse, people must engage in with others.

Unlike Alexander’s study, the students of English 122 seldom wrote about success. Instead, the majority of students focused on local and little stories that emphasized the individual rather than the literacy. This could be due to the initial essay question. Perhaps it was phrased in a way that urged the ideas of a local story. Or the sample size was smaller. The majority crafted unique stories that avoided the idea that literacy means success, instead they focused on the impact that literacy had on their relationships. Literacy is something that everyone learns in this culture, knowledge does not equal success anymore. The idea that literacy is a step in the right direction has downgraded to being only shifting someone’s eyes to the right direction. Success is still far away and only his or her eyes have moved.

Relationships are an important part of acquiring discourses. In the opinion of the essay, relationships are vital to discourse. Any discourse that involves language needs multiple people so that conversation may happen. Without practice or exposure to those who have already master the discourse, they will be unable to become masters. This is why the masters of language and discourse have a significant amount of responsibility for how individuals turn out. If they fail to accept anyone into a new discourse, then eventually there could be no one around to continue on the discourse. Theoretically if that happened, a new discourse would emerge of people who would value being more open for new members. This is why acceptance and guidance into a new discourse is important for everyone. Why teachers need to focus on having a positive impact on students. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the cases. Many teachers fail to inspire their kids to reach further than they thought to. Those are the teachers and people who help kids learn to hate reading. Their disinterest is the start of a downward spiral for a lot kids. The first step of their disinterest. In class they start to mushfake, apply what they already know instead of expanding their conversation.

The majority of papers from Rising Cairn were about experiences with people. Stories of how there was either someone there to push them forward or someone there to hold them back. The influence that relationships have is significant, especially those that reject them from a discourse. Gee and Brandt have their terms to define the positive influence, but what about the negative? Those who are in a position to reject, often have an incredible amount of power towards the individual. Relationships play a significant role in life. They are unavoidable and a necessity in today’s society. Yet many people fail to value them to the right degree. Students from across the country were able to admit to being victims in their essays to Alexander and again the posts on Rising Cairn. These individuals will soon graduate from being students and be active members of society, those who rejected them from a discourse have played a hand in denying them opportunities in the future. While those who were guided now have the connections and values to give them a better opportunity at life.