To The Non-writers in The Class

As a Lit major, I write at least one paper a week. To my fellow English majors this might not seem too abnormal, however the people in my peer editing group were appalled by this statement. Being that Uses of Literacy is mainly a composition course, I would love to hear the outsiders take on the comp. requirement, and writing intensive courses, in general. Did you hate it as much as you thought you would? Do you agree with Pitt’s mandatory writing requirements? Would you take another comp course if you were given the chance?

Feel free to speak your mind. This is a broad question about Comp. courses in general, not about Professor Vee, or about our class in particular! I am interested in being a High school English teacher, which is why I am excited to hear how it feels to have mandatory writing, so open up! You might even help some of my future students that despise writing.

Can you read the Young article?

Reading “Should Writer’s Use They Own English?” was initially painful for me to read. Being a literature major I write at least one paper a week and my grammar is critiqued with each grade I receive. After going through this process one million times, reading “’clear [they] mind of the orthodoxies that have taken hold in the composition world’” as a quotation that has been corrected to fit the article’s context, with replacing their with they. Clearly this is all intentionally done, and is making a statement, but is the statement accessible to students like us?

Did you read the whole way through without wincing once, or was it just me? And if so why do you think this reaction was elicited? Does Young’s writing support her argument that writers should have more freedom to use their own language?

Does Ito Remain Relevant with Newer Media?

Since Ito’s report was written a few years ago, there have been developments in media used by the youth that she could not account for. Today there is newer social media than MySpace and Facebook, which are medias like Instagram, and Twitter. Gaming has grown, to larger audiences, and new sites have been created in attempts to improve gaming experiences. And as for video sharing sites, YouTube remains popular, but Vine is a relatively new form, which is growing in popularity  as well.

With this newer media, do Ito’s theories of the benefits of new media still stand? Do the restrictive nature of Instagram, Twitter, and Vine improve these literacy spaces, or lessen their quality? Can you hang out, mess around, and geek out on these newer medias, and if so what kinds of examples are there?

Are there really writing groups?

In the Gere article, she describes the Tenderloin Women’s Writing Workshop, and Lansing, Iowa Writers Workshop in which they are groups of people of the community coming together to develop their writing with the help of each other. While reading this article I questioned her when she said that these groups are just a “tiny portion of the enormous number of individuals” that take part in groups like these (76). If this is such a large population of people how have I never heard of these groups? Have you heard of any? Gere claims a major reason we don’t know of these groups is because our history focuses on classroom literacy rather than outside the classroom walls. Do you agree with her points?

Along with this, I know at least ten book clubs, and zero writing clubs. Writing clubs does not even sound right to me. Why do you think that reading is able to be sociable while writing is personal? Would you want to share your writing in these clubs?

Generational Histories of Literacy

This weeks readings have a lot to due with how perspectives on literacy have changed historically. I am interested in the more recent changes literacy has had in your personal backgrounds. How does your perspective of literacy compare to your parents’, grandparents’, younger relatives’? Why do you think this change has occurred?

For example, my grandparents could care less what who I read, or how I write, they only care about what I am doing to help me get into the occupation of my choice. Their focus is getting a job, because when they grew up you got a job as soon as possible, whatever it took. They do not value the acts of reading or writing, but when they were in school they learned to do both to the extent that the available jobs in the town required. Personally, I love having the ability to have intelligent conversations while referencing nationally respected writers. I value the knowledge one can gain from reading and writing, while my grandparents could care less.

Do the generations in your family have the same amount of disconnect? What part of history explains your differences or similarities?

Q: School Programs: Writing vs Reading

We have had discussions in class, in which, programs of our schools were brought up that promoted literacy. Reading contests, pizza parties, and accelerated reader were some of the things that were brought up, and I would love to see your opinions on these programs. Did they help you? Did you enjoy them? How did your parents react to them?

Another thing I was wondering about, is the fact that not one of us could remember programs like this for writing. I challenge us to think a little harder and try to remember anything remotely like the things we talked about in class. For my middle school, we had a program that taught us how to write a five paragraph essay while thinking of the writing as the parts of a cheeseburger. If in the end we successfully wrote a “cheeseburger” essay we could be at the cheeseburger party. Any other programs you can think of? If not why do you think reading programs are favored over writing programs in schools?

Which Metaphor Fits College Students?

On Thursday’s we discussed Sylvia Scribner’s three metaphors for literacy, which were, “literacy as adaptation, literacy as power, and literacy as a state of grace.” A short, easily understood explanation of these three ideas is that literacy is defined by functionality, power, and the status a society gives to the idea. Scribner says that these metaphors can not stand on their own, and must be said all together in order to give a complete definition of literacy, but for the sake of this discussion we can look at them separately.

As college students, we are in a different place in our lives than most. In the classroom we surpass functional language, and literature, and have moved onto theoretical ideas. We are on the verge of using our literacy as power, but can be stopped by our age and the time and place we are currently in. Lastly, we all believe that we are the elite of the gracefully literate because the emphasis our society puts on literacy and college education, but are we? If we think about each of these ideas, what is the literacy metaphor that is or should be the most relevant to us, right now? Does this change with age in our culture? Where will the relevance be after graduation? Am I correct in the statements I have made?

First Great Literature

My most fond memory of literacy is when I started to actually appreciate it. In middle school, there were plenty of programs that promoted the development of reading and writing, and I hated 95% of them. It was not until I found a book that I adored, that I actually understood the emphasis the school was placing on these topics. Shamefully, this book is titled My Teacher is an Alien, and, needless to say, does not have very dense subject matter, but I guess one has to start somewhere. I will never forget that silly book, nor will I forget how meaningful literacy is, especially in our society.