Dear Professor Vee,
I usually get the same comment on my report cards, something along the lines of “Michelle your work proves you understand the material however you need to participate more.” Every. Single. Time. I do not know if this is a blessing or a curse but as much as I love to write is just as much as I hate to verbally articulate my thoughts during group discussion. Evaluated discussion is frankly not my cup of tea because I have a hard time verbalizing my ideas. This is why I enjoy the blog component of our course—it is an outlet for me to articulate my thoughts without the on-the-spot pressure of class discussion. I have found the outside forum to very useful for me and I can imagine using a similar method as a teacher myself.
One reason I enjoy the blog component of the course is because in the short posts you are able to clearly illustrate your train of thoughts about the readings. In most of my blog posts and comments I start with an anecdote or a question that reflects my thoughts during the readings. For example, in my blog post about technology possibly replacing the teacher I was able to link my memory of using YouTube as a teacher to the reading about educational technology. With a textual space to provide such commentary and disclose my thoughts I think I was able to participate and demonstrate my understanding of the material.
If there is one student like me there may be others in the future. I hope to find ways to infuse both on-the-spot class discussion (because it’s an important skill) and exterior participation in my own classroom. Whether that means we turn to online blogs or handwritten personal journals, having a way to see the thoughts and progress of my students will be very helpful to my instruction. While my students will be forced to write some sort of reflections I on the other hand will not be required to write for much longer after college. However it is on my bucket list to start a blog. I am not sure what the topic will be (education, travel, etc.) but I do know that having a place to articulate your thoughts can be therapeutic. To close, I want to reiterate that I enjoyed the unique blog component of the course I hope you keep it for semesters to come.
A temporarily retired blogger,
This week we read an interesting collection of articles that posed many questions about writing and how it should be taught in schools. In Vershawn Young’s piece (a rebuttal to Michael Fish’s article) Should Writer’s Use Their Own English? he writes in a more conversational manner to prove several points about writing and how it could be successful outside of the tight box of Standard English. Personally his piece took a little bit of time to adjust to–once I trained myself to picture a person talking to me instead of reading to me I was on the same wavelength with Young. One thing I noticed after reading his piece in its entirety is his ability to really make the words jump off the page or evoke emotion in his readers. I found that his non-traditional or informal use of transitions and commentary found a way to captivate the attention of the reader throughout the piece. I might even dare say that writing in the “traditional” or Standard English manner might not be able to achieve such reactions from the audience. What do you think-can you write the same witty and cunning piece in Standard English as you can in more conversational jargon?
During spring break I got to babysit my two younger cousins before we left for a family party. My one real job besides making sure they didn’t kill each other over toys was to get them dressed. Without Youtube I would have failed. Both their outfits were left with ties to match and I never had to tie a tie in my life before this moment. Luckily I ran to my trusty ol’computer and within the span of one video I was a tie-tying machine. In the Living and Learning with New Media:Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project the authors talk about the “self-directed learning” aspect of digital youth generation. (2) With a few click of some buttons I was able to learn a new skill and I know many people our age and younger who do the same, so do you think that physical teachers may eventually be second to the world wide web?
In both of this week’s readings we learned about women’s writing communities and informal education. In Anne Ruggles Gere’s “Kitchen Tables and Rented Rooms: The Extracurriculum of Composition” the female writers in these roundtable groups speak of the impact coming together to write has had on their lives. As adults many reported of the importance of feedback and sharing their work. “You gotta get rejected and get applause.” (77) says one of the women, and this brings me to my question is feedback apart of the beauty of writing and reading (e.g. literacy)?
I ask this question because as an aspiring writing teacher I am always looking for new ways to hopefully engage students in writing and reading. I know that composition can be a therapeutic outlet for students but in my experience it is hard to get my students to notice that themselves. So if communal feedback is an engaging part of read/written literacy I want to infuse peer feedback into my everyday lessons.
On an average day I write about three-five emails. Before I go to bed I read the shortened headline articles on Buzzfeed. Due to so many long assigned readings from just about every course I must admit that I have developed impeccable ‘skimming’ skills. All of my daily activities coincide with the “literacy shift” (3) that Brandt talks about in our reading. I do agree that lately I (alongside many of my peers) am more preoccupied with writing than I am reading. I think it speaks volumes that I choose to read articles from Buzzfeed because they are so short and get to the point. Those emails I write are also simple ways of me just getting across direct messages to my co-workers and professors. Looking back I skim each article just enough to get the gist of the thesis. Every time I sit down to read or write my goal is to be as direct, concise, and quick as I can be. My question however is similar to a question Brandt poses, today is the beauty of reading lost?
I am lucky enough to call the great state of New Jersey my home. New Jersey the land of Taylor Ham, subs, and going “down the shore” has been very influential in shaping me into the young woman I am today but when I got to college I quickly had my NJ-language literacy put on the chopping block. If there was a Buzzfeeed list (and there very well might be) of the top conversations you have in college this would be #1. I am referring to the “How Do You Say?” test that often takes place during late night chats in the dorm lounge Freshman year. In those conversations I stand by my use of the term “sub” and “soda” but my Mid-Western peers will not budge with “pop” and “hoagie.” I think those heated conversations happen so often because for most this is the first time our language literacy is the center of attention.
I thought of these terminology conversations when reading the Language Diversity and Learning chapter. The same attachment we, college students, have to our home terminology is similar to the attachment young students have to their home/community languages. I agree with the reading; teachers everywhere need to stop “correcting” Ebonics or ‘Non-Standard English’ and instead incorporate it in lesson plans while teaching code-switching for optional future endeavors. As a class on literacy I wonder if I am the only one who feels indebted to my home state and it’s lingo. Is your language literacy apart of your identity? How so?
Blog for January 19th:
My sister and I always have the same fight. Without fail we habitually argue about cleaning up. Since I usually helped my sister wash her dishes, clean her room, and tidy up before her friends come over, I expected that she would do the same but that is where I was wrong. My mother usually butted in mid-screaming match and advised that “one should not do for others, expecting anything in return.” After several reoccurring fights and maturing I have found this advice useful but it contradicts Brandt’s theory that sponsors of literacy encourage literate activities to “gain advantage.”
I think this idea of “gain[ing] advantage” and sponsorship does not encompass the job of a teacher. While Brandt list teachers as a main sponsor of literacy I do not think that teachers choose a life of reading/writing instruction for personal gain. As an aspiring teacher I can say that I plan to teach reading/writing for the sole benefit of my deserving students. The barely there money incentives of teaching is definitely not what I am seeking walking into my classroom each day. Frankly even in my future career my mother’s advice pertains, I will teach for students but I do not expect any personal “advantage” from them. So my question is, are school teachers really sponsors of literacy?
From the age of 6 my parents (like most parents I assume) urged me to read daily. My mother always says that she learned most of her English from reading each day! While I listened to their advice and read a lot, I do not think I grew to love reading until about middle school. It was not the middle school reading curriculum that caught my interest but instead it was the oh-so-hot series’ that came out at the time. Twilight, novels by Sarah Dessen, and Harry Potter (even though I never read the Potter books) were all anyone could talk about in the cafeteria and I think being apart of book pop culture or frankly any pop culture was important to me. I can still picture large novels being glued to my hand each, Rory Gilmore style, so that I would never be left with nothing to do. I have since cracked open a few of those books and I can not help but laugh of what I once thought was literary genius. After studying adolescence more in college I think that my avid reading can be deemed a positive result of the need to ‘fit-in’. Even though I do not get to read much for leisure now I often find myself connecting with students in college about books that we raved over in middle school.