Tag: revision

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.


First Week Draft 1

School and learning are two separate entities. A school is a place, where occasionally, learning can be found. Learning, on the other hand, is not bound to a school yard. A person can learn anywhere. Be it through traveling, relationships, or a textbook. A higher education is the dedication of learning beyond government standards. Anyone who strives for higher education does it because of their own selfish desires. There is no third party force, it is simply one mind craving for more.

The ideology of Barnett’s The Idea of Higher Education, is accurate in the sense that it is a disturbing experience. A higher education isolates a person from the surrounding world. They know knowledge that the average body does not necessarily know. This then creates a system of power, because knowledge is power. Even in the very beginning, knowledge was revered. Those who knew what poisonous berries were, would survive. Or someone who used a cart with wheels rather than carrying items. Society advances based on knowledge and the capabilities to further educate themselves and the next generation. Barnett’s claim that there are no final answers, allows for the belief that there is always more that can be reached.

There are a few downsides to knowledge. The first being that, knowledge is not absolute. It’s fluid, it can always change. For hundreds of years, people assumed that the center of the universe was the Earth. Nowadays, that idea is laughable. The second thing is, it strips the individual of his or her’s innocence. Like a kid growing up too fast, knowledge forces a person to accept the hard facts that they encounter. Instead of living in a false happy world, people realize they are limited.

Barnett’s passage correlates to Nussbaum’s thoughts from “Education for Profit, Education for Democracy,” in the sense that higher education is the work of an individual. That one must actively reach for it on their own accord. Which is what most college students are doing. For the first time in their career, they are only ones that are responsible for collecting their knowledge. But that is why they are there. Because they want more knowledge and they are willing to work for it. Unlike high school, it is a challenge. Professors will not track a student down if they are missing work, or go out of their way unless the student makes the first move and shows the initiative.

Higher education is described as education that is beyond high school. That should not be limited to schooling solely in college or university. It should encompass any experience where the individual is the one who reaches out for the information and actively possesses it.

Higher education is essential to society because without it, society would stagnate. It would cease to advance and other cultures and civilizations would advance past us. Right now, the USA is a leading world power. But once higher education levels off, the country will decline. Knowledge gives the beholder superiority over others. As a result, knowledge is coveted throughout the world. The challenge is figuring out what would be the best thing to dedicate time and effort towards discovering.

Reading Gee


  • Phrases and tags noted during initial scans:
  • A way of talking about Literacy.
  • Language is misleading. Too often suggests grammar.
  • Discourse is an identity kit.
  • There are many discourses.
  • Primary socialization.
  • Secondary/primary discourse.
  • Metaknowledge
  • Meta-language, meta-values, meta-words, meta-beliefs
  • Language contact, pidginization, creolization
  • Language fossilizes
  • Non-member of a group
  • Empirical claim
  • Sociolinguistic literature
  • Mark you as a pretender to the social role…
  • As far as literacy goes, there are only fluent speakers and apprentices.
  • Authentic critism
  • “superficial features of language”
  • Mushfake, resistance, and meta-knowledge
  • Teaching that inculcates Discourse and not just content, is political.

Summary/Difficulties: skimming it. This is not a thorough enough read. And it leaves too many holes. It is my least preferred method of reading. This being said, I feel like I have a pretty good understanding about who this guy is and what he wants to talk about. And agree with the few words that I have picked up. Language at a beginners’ level is basic and direct. There is no deeper meaning, because there can’t be. My Spanish teacher once told me that you’ve only mastered the language once you can hear the humor in the joke, or pick up on sarcasm. You have to be able to hear deeper than the surface shows.

Pages 9-13 initial markups:

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10/10/16–James Paul Gee

Was born in 1948 in California. He received his bachelor’s from the University of California. From there on he went to Stanford  and obtained his doctorate in linguistics. His career focused on theoretical linguistics. Linguistics is the study of language. His focus was on the the behavior, values, customs, and cultures and how they in turn influenced how language worked.

He focused a lot on Discourses. With a big D which relates more to the overall of language. Discourse is the social practices within specific groups or communities. While discourse focuses more on “connected stretches of language.”

Currently he is working at Arizona State University, there he is continuing his work on linguistics. He has worked for over a decade on the integrated parts of language. He believed that literacy was more than reading and writing. That it was also a social experience. That people unconsciously learned the mannerisms that went along with the situation and work place. How peers as well as what we read would influence us in how we acted as well.

He focused a lot on video games in his works. He looked at their learning principles and how they motivated players.

Co-Written by
Ian Miller, Caliann Wood, and Blake Beverage


Language is much more complex. As time goes on, it seems to grow more and more. We start out with just a single thread that is spun into the most intricate of webs. Much of Discourse is done and learned unconsciously. You learn by being surrounded with the culture and diction of the group. I connected this a lot to psychology and how peers are the biggest of influence on behavior. Peers surround you, their language is constantly in your ears. As are their behaviors and movements. It is no surprise that you would create/copy their Discourse.

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