Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-02-29 21:03:00



Quanesha Burr


            While reading Chapter 7 Predictor Variables the Future of Composition Research in Cindy Johanek’s Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition  the first main thing I noticed is Cindy Johanek makes a distinction between literature and writing. This distinction automatically took me back to a classroom discussion. Many of us can agree that the two are very contrary to one another and it took me entering graduate school to realize that. Johanek says, “MLA treats text as a ‘living’ object of study, always in front of us, always available to us” (190). This statement and the explanations that followed were easy for me to comprehend but it became difficult when Johanek started talking about writing. The only thing that really stuck out to me was the word process. She basically says writing is more about process not the end result (Johanek 191). I honestly do not know if I agree. Maybe it just depends on the situation.


            Furthermore, I understand why teachers want us to use recent publications in our work. I think it is to combat one of the main arguments Johanek makes which is


To write about composition publications in the present tense creates the illusion that our authors, regardless of the amount of time that has passed, still believe their theories of twenty years before. (191)


If we use recent publications, there is a greater chance the author continues to support what he/she said which makes Johanek argument less important.


In addition, Johanek makes the assertion that with “APA” the person who writes the research paper voice “isn’t as” engulfed by outside sources or voices (194). I believe one reason for citations is to differentiate between research and author’s opinion. What Johanek says, is not a reason to disregard “MLA” (190). Easier is not always better.


In the same section though, I partially agree that


the two groups in composition most likely to be storytellers (and be readily accepted as such) are those who have achieved status (‘big names’) and those who couldn’t care less about status yet (undergraduate peer tutors). (Johanek 196)


 I see truth in this statement but at the same time I am in graduate school and some of the assignments we engage in gave me the opportunity to just share my story, and the story of people close to me. The story does not necessarily have to go into full detail. I think it honestly just depends on the major, the professor and what they value, and what the assignment is asking for.


To wrap my discussion up, the last two sections really touched upon what we discussed last class during Jessica’s presentation. Johanek says “numerous scholars have pointed to the lack of training in research and statistics by composition graduate programs designed to produce ‘humanists’ ” (199). I feel honored to be learning something that others may not necessarily be learning but like my class discussed it goes way beyond the graduate level. Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions by Joanne Addison and Sharon James McGee briefly touched upon the point my class made. The authors’ state,


further investigation of the data shows that of the five scales developed by NSSE there is significant adherence to, at best, only three (prewriting, clear expectations, and assigning higher-order writing) across the curriculum, and even these are subject to speculation. (Addison and McGee 156)


That statement basically proves some of the points Johanek and my class made. Moreover, these articles show teachers and students both have responsibilities to grow, adapt, and become more creative.


 


Questions


  1. What do you think was Johanek’s strongest argument? Did she blame “MLA” for doing anything she in fact did herself? (190)
  2. What did the two articles make you want to incorporate more within your classroom?
  3. Who or what do you think presented the most valuable research?
     


           

Comp Studies Research & Methods 2016-02-29 21:03:00



Quanesha Burr


            While reading Chapter 7 Predictor Variables the Future of Composition Research in Cindy Johanek’s Composing Research: A Contextualist Paradigm for Rhetoric and Composition  the first main thing I noticed is Cindy Johanek makes a distinction between literature and writing. This distinction automatically took me back to a classroom discussion. Many of us can agree that the two are very contrary to one another and it took me entering graduate school to realize that. Johanek says, “MLA treats text as a ‘living’ object of study, always in front of us, always available to us” (190). This statement and the explanations that followed were easy for me to comprehend but it became difficult when Johanek started talking about writing. The only thing that really stuck out to me was the word process. She basically says writing is more about process not the end result (Johanek 191). I honestly do not know if I agree. Maybe it just depends on the situation.


            Furthermore, I understand why teachers want us to use recent publications in our work. I think it is to combat one of the main arguments Johanek makes which is


To write about composition publications in the present tense creates the illusion that our authors, regardless of the amount of time that has passed, still believe their theories of twenty years before. (191)


If we use recent publications, there is a greater chance the author continues to support what he/she said which makes Johanek argument less important.


In addition, Johanek makes the assertion that with “APA” the person who writes the research paper voice “isn’t as” engulfed by outside sources or voices (194). I believe one reason for citations is to differentiate between research and author’s opinion. What Johanek says, is not a reason to disregard “MLA” (190). Easier is not always better.


In the same section though, I partially agree that


the two groups in composition most likely to be storytellers (and be readily accepted as such) are those who have achieved status (‘big names’) and those who couldn’t care less about status yet (undergraduate peer tutors). (Johanek 196)


 I see truth in this statement but at the same time I am in graduate school and some of the assignments we engage in gave me the opportunity to just share my story, and the story of people close to me. The story does not necessarily have to go into full detail. I think it honestly just depends on the major, the professor and what they value, and what the assignment is asking for.


To wrap my discussion up, the last two sections really touched upon what we discussed last class during Jessica’s presentation. Johanek says “numerous scholars have pointed to the lack of training in research and statistics by composition graduate programs designed to produce ‘humanists’ ” (199). I feel honored to be learning something that others may not necessarily be learning but like my class discussed it goes way beyond the graduate level. Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions by Joanne Addison and Sharon James McGee briefly touched upon the point my class made. The authors’ state,


further investigation of the data shows that of the five scales developed by NSSE there is significant adherence to, at best, only three (prewriting, clear expectations, and assigning higher-order writing) across the curriculum, and even these are subject to speculation. (Addison and McGee 156)


That statement basically proves some of the points Johanek and my class made. Moreover, these articles show teachers and students both have responsibilities to grow, adapt, and become more creative.


 


Questions


  1. What do you think was Johanek’s strongest argument? Did she blame “MLA” for doing anything she in fact did herself? (190)
  2. What did the two articles make you want to incorporate more within your classroom?
  3. Who or what do you think presented the most valuable research?
     


           

blog 2

CH 7 - Predictor Variables


The issue of present and past tenses in research writing is really interesting, and one that I had never even thought about. I only recently became aware that I often write in the present tense; I became aware of this when my boss at the newspaper told me to "watch my tenses, you're reviewing something. It'd always in the past." And until reading this passage, I couldn't understand why I was having such a hard time doing something that is so elementary. I never realized that when we discuss literature, we always do so in the present. Of course we all know that written work is frozen in the time it was written, but now I'ms starting to wonder: what does that say about how we see the author? Apparently we believe they too are frozen in time. Super interesting, and so simple! Like why hadn't I ever thought of this before? I also never realized how limiting that is. (Reasons 1 - 4 say it all). Although I think it is supposed to be the researcher's job to try and combat these issues.

I agree that APA is worth discussing in a comp class. And it's weird that APA is often cast off in comp courses in lieu of MLA whent he reality is most of the students we encounter (or will encounter for future teachers) will use APA a lot more than MLA. Yet because it is a comp course, we tend to view it strictly as an English course, when really composition spans across all majors.

Interesting contrast in this reading compared to the last one we did; specifically how this author disagrees with the "personal voice"/ storytelling method while the previous author praised it. Furthermore, this text justifies appropriate times for storytelling (namely, after you have made a recognizable name for yourself in the field).

"Guilt from not studying absolutely everything" this made me laugh, because that is exactly how it feels.

I never thought about how shielded (excluded?) students are from the research of their teachers. But now that I'm thinking about it, I've never read a single thing by any of the professors I've had, even though I knew they had or were in the process of writing/ researching. However, it always seemed that my professors were only researching/writing in order to keep their jobs. Not necessarily to advance their own knowledge as the texts suggests. The idea of  teacher discussing their research with us (as a class) seems to violate the standard social norms of the classroom. Like I actually think a professor discussing their children and spouse would seem less intrusive than them sharing their research.

"publish or perish" this seems to be more complicated by the fact that virtually anyone can publish anything, anywhere. It really raises the bar and makes it that much harder for those of us who want/need to publish  for work. How do we make our voices distinctive in a sea of them? And what's more, if we do get published, how impressive will it actually look? And as for having "substantial" publishing experience, it's that awful cycle that first-time job hunters encounter: I need a job to gain experience, but I need experience to get a job. ("Preferably a book"! As if it was that easy. Publishing a book is the dream, and this nameless job is heavily implying that it as a requirement.)

Again, there is contrast between this week's reading and last week's. Although this reading brings up the many ways in which math IS important, and how it doesn't automatically;y trigger panic attacks in those who use it.

blog 2

CH 7 - Predictor Variables


The issue of present and past tenses in research writing is really interesting, and one that I had never even thought about. I only recently became aware that I often write in the present tense; I became aware of this when my boss at the newspaper told me to "watch my tenses, you're reviewing something. It'd always in the past." And until reading this passage, I couldn't understand why I was having such a hard time doing something that is so elementary. I never realized that when we discuss literature, we always do so in the present. Of course we all know that written work is frozen in the time it was written, but now I'ms starting to wonder: what does that say about how we see the author? Apparently we believe they too are frozen in time. Super interesting, and so simple! Like why hadn't I ever thought of this before? I also never realized how limiting that is. (Reasons 1 - 4 say it all). Although I think it is supposed to be the researcher's job to try and combat these issues.

I agree that APA is worth discussing in a comp class. And it's weird that APA is often cast off in comp courses in lieu of MLA whent he reality is most of the students we encounter (or will encounter for future teachers) will use APA a lot more than MLA. Yet because it is a comp course, we tend to view it strictly as an English course, when really composition spans across all majors.

Interesting contrast in this reading compared to the last one we did; specifically how this author disagrees with the "personal voice"/ storytelling method while the previous author praised it. Furthermore, this text justifies appropriate times for storytelling (namely, after you have made a recognizable name for yourself in the field).

"Guilt from not studying absolutely everything" this made me laugh, because that is exactly how it feels.

I never thought about how shielded (excluded?) students are from the research of their teachers. But now that I'm thinking about it, I've never read a single thing by any of the professors I've had, even though I knew they had or were in the process of writing/ researching. However, it always seemed that my professors were only researching/writing in order to keep their jobs. Not necessarily to advance their own knowledge as the texts suggests. The idea of  teacher discussing their research with us (as a class) seems to violate the standard social norms of the classroom. Like I actually think a professor discussing their children and spouse would seem less intrusive than them sharing their research.

"publish or perish" this seems to be more complicated by the fact that virtually anyone can publish anything, anywhere. It really raises the bar and makes it that much harder for those of us who want/need to publish  for work. How do we make our voices distinctive in a sea of them? And what's more, if we do get published, how impressive will it actually look? And as for having "substantial" publishing experience, it's that awful cycle that first-time job hunters encounter: I need a job to gain experience, but I need experience to get a job. ("Preferably a book"! As if it was that easy. Publishing a book is the dream, and this nameless job is heavily implying that it as a requirement.)

Again, there is contrast between this week's reading and last week's. Although this reading brings up the many ways in which math IS important, and how it doesn't automatically;y trigger panic attacks in those who use it.

Johanek’s "Predictor Variables: The Future of Composition Research"


I really enjoyed reading Johanek’s seventh chapter, “Predictor Variables: The Future of Composition Research”. The first section, “MLA Voice, My Voice”, in which Johanek writes about her decision to switch from MLA to APA during the process of writing her book, was especially interesting. As I may have mentioned in the past, I am a die-hard MLA fan. But… I will admit that this chapter, and Johanek’s reasoning, made me soften a little to the prospect of using APA.

The reasoning behind her decision to switch to APA was something that I had never considered before. Johanek writes that the use of present tense in MLA is fitting because one is writing about literature, and literature “can always be interpreted, reinterpreted, criticized, but the work itself will not change”. So its ok to write in present tense because the focus is on the product, and the product never changes.

However, in composition, “our texts serve a different purpose: constructing theory, presenting research, and discussing pedagogy are acts that focus not on the product of the text that resulted from such inquiry, but on the process of thinking that was used to arrive at that text”. The product still lasts forever, but now the world around it has changed, and so the writer may have changed as well.

Johanek writes: “Our use of MLA ties the theories, research, and pedagogies to their authors in the present tense as if those authors still believe… that theory, research, or pedagogy”. The use of MLA in composition research makes it seem “as if those works will always represent what those authors are thinking now”.  This seems irresponsible. Most authors evolve; they gain experience and insight that change the way that they think about their field. But, I have to admit, I had never thought of this as being such an oversight before now. In the future, this will change the way that I gather information. It’s not enough to find a source and use it. To tell the whole story, you need to look into what the author wrote before and after that, to make note of the changes in that field of research and how the researcher’s ideas changed and evolved (or if they didn’t).

Johanek’s "Predictor Variables: The Future of Composition Research"


I really enjoyed reading Johanek’s seventh chapter, “Predictor Variables: The Future of Composition Research”. The first section, “MLA Voice, My Voice”, in which Johanek writes about her decision to switch from MLA to APA during the process of writing her book, was especially interesting. As I may have mentioned in the past, I am a die-hard MLA fan. But… I will admit that this chapter, and Johanek’s reasoning, made me soften a little to the prospect of using APA.

The reasoning behind her decision to switch to APA was something that I had never considered before. Johanek writes that the use of present tense in MLA is fitting because one is writing about literature, and literature “can always be interpreted, reinterpreted, criticized, but the work itself will not change”. So its ok to write in present tense because the focus is on the product, and the product never changes.

However, in composition, “our texts serve a different purpose: constructing theory, presenting research, and discussing pedagogy are acts that focus not on the product of the text that resulted from such inquiry, but on the process of thinking that was used to arrive at that text”. The product still lasts forever, but now the world around it has changed, and so the writer may have changed as well.

Johanek writes: “Our use of MLA ties the theories, research, and pedagogies to their authors in the present tense as if those authors still believe… that theory, research, or pedagogy”. The use of MLA in composition research makes it seem “as if those works will always represent what those authors are thinking now”.  This seems irresponsible. Most authors evolve; they gain experience and insight that change the way that they think about their field. But, I have to admit, I had never thought of this as being such an oversight before now. In the future, this will change the way that I gather information. It’s not enough to find a source and use it. To tell the whole story, you need to look into what the author wrote before and after that, to make note of the changes in that field of research and how the researcher’s ideas changed and evolved (or if they didn’t).

Predicator Variables/ The Future of Composition Research by Cindy Johanek & Writing in High School/ Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions ByJoanne Addison and Sharon James McGee


Johanek seems to pose a war between MLA style and that of APA. Evidently, she quite prefers APA and wants all writers to agree on its importance and superior qualities. The problem is I, like many people in the English field, am unfamiliar with APA, and therefore have no grounds for comparison. She also concedes her preference may be the result of: “…my interest in science and psychology and in numerical evidence” (190). I personally have never felt confined by MLA, and cannot grasp her argument, but her writing reflects different schools of thought than mine, probably supporting her support of APA.


Her next focus on “big storytellers” and the need to establish oneself to gain the privilege of having a voice seems like a frustrated complaint; in all fields, one must earn their place to be heard, so this is not unusual. Everyone has stories—particularly in the field we are discussing! But not all stories can be heard at once, and each storyteller has to find their voice, and arrive at the place where they are not only heard, but can make a difference. That takes time, talent, and hard work. While one is finding their place, the lessons of those big names are fuel for success.

Johanek does express the ease some undergraduate peer tutors have in telling stories; she illustrates the top and bottom of this literary hierarchy and the ability for these opposite ends to be heard. At the same time, she ascertains that grad students (like us), new Ph.D’s, and non-tenured professors must first “earn the privilege” (196) before having a voice of interest. Although initially this sounds awful, it is actually the way of the world. When we are young students we are encouraged to speak out and as we acquire knowledge, our voice becomes more refined as we learn what and how we are to make an imprint. Also, we listen and learn from those who have already made their mark, and embrace the lessons they provide.


Boyer’s four kinds of scholarship model puts research in a broader place for professor’s scholarly works; it appears a very sound plan to me. Teachers teaching their research—is that not what we are reading and studying in these pages? Personally, I feel it is beneficial to both the researcher and the student. And Johanek makes a solid point: “Teaching our research will make us more accountable for that research…” (199). The discussion about researchers needing a statistics class seems to be a person’s preference. I had a statistics class and do not feel it has been either a help or hindrance to my research work. If one wants to run studies and create graphs to prove a literary point, perhaps work with people who are skilled in that field, as we discussed in class. There should be some math studies in any degree program, even if only a core course, but that should not be the main focus unless one is pursuing that field.


Lastly, I am relieved I will not be thrown out of grad school for not publishing (considering I never thought I needed to…)


Moving on to the Addison and McGee study, this was very interesting and seemed to bridge many various types of schools, teachers, and students. It was slightly dated at six years old, but seemingly that does not matter too much, since the same issues and concepts are still in focus. I enjoyed the surveys but was puzzled at the ratio of faculty to students. Assuming that was what they were able to get as reliable “subjects” for their survey, they covered a number of important issues in writing..

I personally found the five Scales very well thought through and remember from my children’s high school days some of these practices being implemented. My high school days would have incorporated four of the five but that last one would have been on a largely different scale from students of today. The Stanford Study of Writing was fascinating to me; the variety of writing through the four years would seemingly prove beneficial for these students (and across the board, all students) when they moved on to the work place.

The discovery that many students do not take the advice of faculty and go to a writing center is not a big surprise; many students are uncomfortable with that undertaking. Also, they might have time issues or simply feel it won’t make a difference. The only possibility might be to ask (or even require) to see their revised work after they have taken the steps for help. Some writing centers may be more effective than others, depending on the schools financial situation and amount of help available.            
 

The one time I went to a writing center for assistance with citing my sources in an annotated bibliography, the only “help” I was given, was the name of a book for citing available at the bookstore. I had genuinely hoped that someone would have taken some time with me and perhaps given me an example or two, but that was not the case. I, of course, bought the book and figured it out myself  (which was not as easy as it sounds!) BUT if I had been a student with greater needs, I wonder if I would have received any worthwhile assistance. (This did not happen here at Kean, but at the OCC campus; the result was I never returned to see if I was on the right track, as I felt so uncomfortable.) Students need more encouragement than I received to achieve success with writing questions; I hope other writing centers are far more supportive then my experience suggests.

Predicator Variables/ The Future of Composition Research by Cindy Johanek & Writing in High School/ Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions ByJoanne Addison and Sharon James McGee


Johanek seems to pose a war between MLA style and that of APA. Evidently, she quite prefers APA and wants all writers to agree on its importance and superior qualities. The problem is I, like many people in the English field, am unfamiliar with APA, and therefore have no grounds for comparison. She also concedes her preference may be the result of: “…my interest in science and psychology and in numerical evidence” (190). I personally have never felt confined by MLA, and cannot grasp her argument, but her writing reflects different schools of thought than mine, probably supporting her support of APA.


Her next focus on “big storytellers” and the need to establish oneself to gain the privilege of having a voice seems like a frustrated complaint; in all fields, one must earn their place to be heard, so this is not unusual. Everyone has stories—particularly in the field we are discussing! But not all stories can be heard at once, and each storyteller has to find their voice, and arrive at the place where they are not only heard, but can make a difference. That takes time, talent, and hard work. While one is finding their place, the lessons of those big names are fuel for success.

Johanek does express the ease some undergraduate peer tutors have in telling stories; she illustrates the top and bottom of this literary hierarchy and the ability for these opposite ends to be heard. At the same time, she ascertains that grad students (like us), new Ph.D’s, and non-tenured professors must first “earn the privilege” (196) before having a voice of interest. Although initially this sounds awful, it is actually the way of the world. When we are young students we are encouraged to speak out and as we acquire knowledge, our voice becomes more refined as we learn what and how we are to make an imprint. Also, we listen and learn from those who have already made their mark, and embrace the lessons they provide.


Boyer’s four kinds of scholarship model puts research in a broader place for professor’s scholarly works; it appears a very sound plan to me. Teachers teaching their research—is that not what we are reading and studying in these pages? Personally, I feel it is beneficial to both the researcher and the student. And Johanek makes a solid point: “Teaching our research will make us more accountable for that research…” (199). The discussion about researchers needing a statistics class seems to be a person’s preference. I had a statistics class and do not feel it has been either a help or hindrance to my research work. If one wants to run studies and create graphs to prove a literary point, perhaps work with people who are skilled in that field, as we discussed in class. There should be some math studies in any degree program, even if only a core course, but that should not be the main focus unless one is pursuing that field.


Lastly, I am relieved I will not be thrown out of grad school for not publishing (considering I never thought I needed to…)


Moving on to the Addison and McGee study, this was very interesting and seemed to bridge many various types of schools, teachers, and students. It was slightly dated at six years old, but seemingly that does not matter too much, since the same issues and concepts are still in focus. I enjoyed the surveys but was puzzled at the ratio of faculty to students. Assuming that was what they were able to get as reliable “subjects” for their survey, they covered a number of important issues in writing..

I personally found the five Scales very well thought through and remember from my children’s high school days some of these practices being implemented. My high school days would have incorporated four of the five but that last one would have been on a largely different scale from students of today. The Stanford Study of Writing was fascinating to me; the variety of writing through the four years would seemingly prove beneficial for these students (and across the board, all students) when they moved on to the work place.

The discovery that many students do not take the advice of faculty and go to a writing center is not a big surprise; many students are uncomfortable with that undertaking. Also, they might have time issues or simply feel it won’t make a difference. The only possibility might be to ask (or even require) to see their revised work after they have taken the steps for help. Some writing centers may be more effective than others, depending on the schools financial situation and amount of help available.            
 

The one time I went to a writing center for assistance with citing my sources in an annotated bibliography, the only “help” I was given, was the name of a book for citing available at the bookstore. I had genuinely hoped that someone would have taken some time with me and perhaps given me an example or two, but that was not the case. I, of course, bought the book and figured it out myself  (which was not as easy as it sounds!) BUT if I had been a student with greater needs, I wonder if I would have received any worthwhile assistance. (This did not happen here at Kean, but at the OCC campus; the result was I never returned to see if I was on the right track, as I felt so uncomfortable.) Students need more encouragement than I received to achieve success with writing questions; I hope other writing centers are far more supportive then my experience suggests.

The blog post in which I realize how married I am to MLA– Blog #2

Predictor Variables: The Future of Composition Research

 This article...wow. So far, this has been the first article that I have read that has truly gripped me from the first page, and perhaps because of how eloquently Johanek explains the difference between APA and MLA, calling MLA a "'living' object of study" (190). I never thought of it this way! The literature lover in me came alive upon reading:
"The novel, the poem, the short story-- works of literature-- can always be interpreted, reinterpreted, criticized, but the work itself will not change. Once it is published, it's published. It's 'there.' Forever. Thus, present tense treats the text adequately-- the work 'is.'" (191)

This introduction also made me curious as to how Johanek was about to juxtapose composition next to literature, and she proceeds to do so in the next paragraph. Her proposal that composition focuses on process rather than product struck me as a pretty valid argument for separating composition from literature. As someone who always argues the importance of composition across all disciplines, this struck me as being a good point. I'm not yet sure that I agree with this assertion, but it brings up an interesting argument.

Moving forward, I found that I don't quite agree with her arguments for APA over MLA. Her discussion that the MLA present tense locks the authors into what they said in the past as being forever true does not seem to be a valid point. For example, if I were writing a paper on Hamlet, and I found an article from 1999 from a certain critic proposing one argument, and another article from the same critic written in 2010 refuting his former claim, both points would be worth noting in my paper for the sake of discussion. If I were to only use his old argument, my paper would not be up-to-date and reliable. If I were to use only his new argument, my paper would probably be fine, but both arguments would make for a more interesting discussion. If I were to write the paper and somehow manage to find the old argument and not the new argument, then I have not done enough research.
What I am saying, in short, is that research should always be up to the present. We work with what we have.

Further into the article, Johanek loses me. Like, 100%. I could be reading this wrong, but her arguments begin to sound petty to me. For example, "We all have stories, of course, but not everyone is allowed to tell one at a convention in front of everybody" or "Storytellers emerge when our field has granted them the privilege to do so" or "if I earn a 'name,' can I, too tell stories?" (195)  Her tone just rubs me the wrong way. I make a note of this in one of my annotations, but in terms of storytellings vs. the traditional research method, I think that the people who become known for storytelling are the ones who fought hard enough to make it work against the tide of the traditional. That being said, maybe I am not well immersed in the research world, but it seems to me that it is natural that you do what you have to do and you study whom you must in order to one say break away and be your own kind of researcher. One day, students will complain about having to cite you in their research papers.

I also, honestly, completely lost track of what the article originally seemed to be about. I was totally following the whole "APA for composition" idea, when suddenly I got lost in the sea of "why can't I tell my story?" Where did that idea get off to? When she went off to talk about Boyer (and I did like his four points of scholarship!), I had to continually reread and refocus, because I felt completely lost. The end of this article seemed to veer off into the world of statistics that we discussed last week, and I am grateful we had that discussion because it gave me some insight into the area the article dipped into. I think she made good points in the latter part of the article regarding research and statistics, and the inclusion of the students in the teachers work, but there was a lot of weird stuff going on in the middle.

I enjoyed reading this article because, as much as I disagree and will probably rant about it in class tomorrow, it was something I can relate to. I am certainly looking forward to hearing everyone else's opinions on the latter part of the article, because I began to struggle to apply it to what came before.


Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Decisions

I found this report to be well compiled and a compelling look at the education systems of both high school and college. I was immediately drawn in by the the statistics that brought the important differences between high school and college teaching practices to light. I enjoyed reading through Tables 2 and 3, which presented the teaching practice data of high school vs. college faculty, and I found that the article led me to reflect upon my own academic history. 

When I was in high school, we had every class every day. We had time to work in partners or groups, the teacher was more readily available to meet with us and give us feedback, let us submit drafts, and gave us time to  freewrite and evaluate before the paper was due. In college, the opposite was true. Whenever a paper was due, even in my English classes, if I needed a professor's opinion I needed to schedule an appointment for office hours. If classmates wanted to peer review their work, they needed to meet on their own time. The writing center was rarely utilized but for the freshmen who were required to go there, and we next to never considered it as a resource. It was my opinion that this is just the way college is considered to be. Classes have less time together, two or three class periods a week depending on the day, and a lot of information to cover. I'd be surprised to hear that it was different anywhere else. 

However, I'm beginning to think that less class time might just be an excuse. So far, even though these graduate classes only meet once a week, we stay in contact through the website, our blogs, Twitter, email, and Hypothesis. Could it be, perhaps, that not enough college professors engage on all platforms? Perhaps the classes do not meet every day, but this might be averted through utilization of resources we now have on hand. Free writing, drafts, peer reviews, and the professor's comments might not be easily done during class time, but perhaps these statistics would be different if more people were open to the world of resources we have.

Further into the article, the line "Many faculty resist workplace genres on philosophical grounds, often arguing that their role is to help prepare citizens of the world, not train workers" (164). Look...I get it. I left college wanting to forever live in the world of scholarship and research papers, always having deep philosophical conversations. However, that is not what life is always like. And, for the majority of students, I would argue that practical application trumps the research paper. How many students get through college by learning the fine art of bullshitting a research paper, and cannot type a simple email? I know far too many. 

I like that the article included the college survey in its appendix. I plan on saving that survey for use in my own classroom one day, because I think it would a useful resource to start the semester. It's best to know what you are in for!

The blog post in which I realize how married I am to MLA– Blog #2

Predictor Variables: The Future of Composition Research

 This article...wow. So far, this has been the first article that I have read that has truly gripped me from the first page, and perhaps because of how eloquently Johanek explains the difference between APA and MLA, calling MLA a "'living' object of study" (190). I never thought of it this way! The literature lover in me came alive upon reading:
"The novel, the poem, the short story-- works of literature-- can always be interpreted, reinterpreted, criticized, but the work itself will not change. Once it is published, it's published. It's 'there.' Forever. Thus, present tense treats the text adequately-- the work 'is.'" (191)

This introduction also made me curious as to how Johanek was about to juxtapose composition next to literature, and she proceeds to do so in the next paragraph. Her proposal that composition focuses on process rather than product struck me as a pretty valid argument for separating composition from literature. As someone who always argues the importance of composition across all disciplines, this struck me as being a good point. I'm not yet sure that I agree with this assertion, but it brings up an interesting argument.

Moving forward, I found that I don't quite agree with her arguments for APA over MLA. Her discussion that the MLA present tense locks the authors into what they said in the past as being forever true does not seem to be a valid point. For example, if I were writing a paper on Hamlet, and I found an article from 1999 from a certain critic proposing one argument, and another article from the same critic written in 2010 refuting his former claim, both points would be worth noting in my paper for the sake of discussion. If I were to only use his old argument, my paper would not be up-to-date and reliable. If I were to use only his new argument, my paper would probably be fine, but both arguments would make for a more interesting discussion. If I were to write the paper and somehow manage to find the old argument and not the new argument, then I have not done enough research.
What I am saying, in short, is that research should always be up to the present. We work with what we have.

Further into the article, Johanek loses me. Like, 100%. I could be reading this wrong, but her arguments begin to sound petty to me. For example, "We all have stories, of course, but not everyone is allowed to tell one at a convention in front of everybody" or "Storytellers emerge when our field has granted them the privilege to do so" or "if I earn a 'name,' can I, too tell stories?" (195)  Her tone just rubs me the wrong way. I make a note of this in one of my annotations, but in terms of storytellings vs. the traditional research method, I think that the people who become known for storytelling are the ones who fought hard enough to make it work against the tide of the traditional. That being said, maybe I am not well immersed in the research world, but it seems to me that it is natural that you do what you have to do and you study whom you must in order to one say break away and be your own kind of researcher. One day, students will complain about having to cite you in their research papers.

I also, honestly, completely lost track of what the article originally seemed to be about. I was totally following the whole "APA for composition" idea, when suddenly I got lost in the sea of "why can't I tell my story?" Where did that idea get off to? When she went off to talk about Boyer (and I did like his four points of scholarship!), I had to continually reread and refocus, because I felt completely lost. The end of this article seemed to veer off into the world of statistics that we discussed last week, and I am grateful we had that discussion because it gave me some insight into the area the article dipped into. I think she made good points in the latter part of the article regarding research and statistics, and the inclusion of the students in the teachers work, but there was a lot of weird stuff going on in the middle.

I enjoyed reading this article because, as much as I disagree and will probably rant about it in class tomorrow, it was something I can relate to. I am certainly looking forward to hearing everyone else's opinions on the latter part of the article, because I began to struggle to apply it to what came before.


Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Decisions

I found this report to be well compiled and a compelling look at the education systems of both high school and college. I was immediately drawn in by the the statistics that brought the important differences between high school and college teaching practices to light. I enjoyed reading through Tables 2 and 3, which presented the teaching practice data of high school vs. college faculty, and I found that the article led me to reflect upon my own academic history. 

When I was in high school, we had every class every day. We had time to work in partners or groups, the teacher was more readily available to meet with us and give us feedback, let us submit drafts, and gave us time to  freewrite and evaluate before the paper was due. In college, the opposite was true. Whenever a paper was due, even in my English classes, if I needed a professor's opinion I needed to schedule an appointment for office hours. If classmates wanted to peer review their work, they needed to meet on their own time. The writing center was rarely utilized but for the freshmen who were required to go there, and we next to never considered it as a resource. It was my opinion that this is just the way college is considered to be. Classes have less time together, two or three class periods a week depending on the day, and a lot of information to cover. I'd be surprised to hear that it was different anywhere else. 

However, I'm beginning to think that less class time might just be an excuse. So far, even though these graduate classes only meet once a week, we stay in contact through the website, our blogs, Twitter, email, and Hypothesis. Could it be, perhaps, that not enough college professors engage on all platforms? Perhaps the classes do not meet every day, but this might be averted through utilization of resources we now have on hand. Free writing, drafts, peer reviews, and the professor's comments might not be easily done during class time, but perhaps these statistics would be different if more people were open to the world of resources we have.

Further into the article, the line "Many faculty resist workplace genres on philosophical grounds, often arguing that their role is to help prepare citizens of the world, not train workers" (164). Look...I get it. I left college wanting to forever live in the world of scholarship and research papers, always having deep philosophical conversations. However, that is not what life is always like. And, for the majority of students, I would argue that practical application trumps the research paper. How many students get through college by learning the fine art of bullshitting a research paper, and cannot type a simple email? I know far too many. 

I like that the article included the college survey in its appendix. I plan on saving that survey for use in my own classroom one day, because I think it would a useful resource to start the semester. It's best to know what you are in for!