Cindy Johanek (Chapter 7) & Joanne Addison and Sharon James McGee’s “Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions” i

     So I'll start off by addressing something that I'm not proud of: I had no idea that MLA and APA used different tenses. According to Johanek, MLA uses present tense and APA uses past tense. I checked a bunch of different websites for the differences between the two, and they all state the only real change is in how to cite. Refining my search by typing "Does MLA use present tense?" and "Does APA use past tense?", I received the results I was looking for (Thank you, Howard Rheingold).

     I find the argument that present tense is ill-suited for an essay because it doesn't allow for a change in the author's mentality to be ridiculous. If a paper that is being cited was from 1980, I should hope that anyone who is reading it knows that the present tense refers to 1980 and not 2016. It seems too literal an idea to be discussed in such an advanced paper. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but it really bothered me.

     Perhaps the first thing I agree with Johanek about is the idea that storytellers emerge when they have put in the time and paid their dues. I don't mean to say that younger members of a group don't have anything worthwhile to say, but as a sign of respect, the "big names" get first dibs. When my wife's 92 year old grandfather would speak up at dinner, everyone listened. Even if he cut someone off. Even if he'd already told the story numerous times. Even if the story didn't have a point. He'd earned it.

     Allow me to complain for a moment. At school, individual classrooms are a thing of the past. In my twelve years, this is the first year that I don't move among two or more classrooms. But I still share the room with two other teachers. I don't have resources. The newest textbooks my school has are from 2007. Common Core was adopted in 2010. First and second year teachers have openly complained about how they have to change classrooms throughout the day and they don't have a teacher's edition of the textbook. As if those of us with seniority have our own suites where we use the teacher's edition like it was toilet tissue. My point is, put in some time before you take the floor.

fy.chalmers.se
     Addison and McGee discusses something that my department has been trying to figure out for years: how does the writing experience in high school compare to the writing experience in college? We've had committees that went to Rutgers in an attempt to create alignment, with little success. I tried the recommended assignments to prepare the students, only to have them complain and say they were still in high school. They didn't want to be prepared for something that was months away. My wife sees it from the college perspective. When she administers placement tests to high school seniors, the overwhelming majority of them are placed in remedial writing.

     The only issue I had with the study that was presented was the fact tat students evaluated themselves based on performance. There's a reason I don't let my students grade themselves.

     After every quiz or test, I ask the students how they think they did. The majority always respond with an exact number. Unsurprisingly, those who think they got a 92 got a 65. As the authors state,    "[s]tudents... think much more highly of their abilities than their teachers."

     I always wondered why, as a country, we didn't just copy countries with higher levels of literacy. I know that Scandinavian countries always have high levels, some are even at 100%. Why doesn't our school system just copy and paste what they are doing? If that isn't possible because of other roadblocks, then we have a place to start.

web.mit.edu









Cindy Johanek (Chapter 7) & Joanne Addison and Sharon James McGee’s “Writing in High School/Writing in College: Research Trends and Future Directions” i

     So I'll start off by addressing something that I'm not proud of: I had no idea that MLA and APA used different tenses. According to Johanek, MLA uses present tense and APA uses past tense. I checked a bunch of different websites for the differences between the two, and they all state the only real change is in how to cite. Refining my search by typing "Does MLA use present tense?" and "Does APA use past tense?", I received the results I was looking for (Thank you, Howard Rheingold).

     I find the argument that present tense is ill-suited for an essay because it doesn't allow for a change in the author's mentality to be ridiculous. If a paper that is being cited was from 1980, I should hope that anyone who is reading it knows that the present tense refers to 1980 and not 2016. It seems too literal an idea to be discussed in such an advanced paper. Maybe I'm overthinking this, but it really bothered me.

     Perhaps the first thing I agree with Johanek about is the idea that storytellers emerge when they have put in the time and paid their dues. I don't mean to say that younger members of a group don't have anything worthwhile to say, but as a sign of respect, the "big names" get first dibs. When my wife's 92 year old grandfather would speak up at dinner, everyone listened. Even if he cut someone off. Even if he'd already told the story numerous times. Even if the story didn't have a point. He'd earned it.

     Allow me to complain for a moment. At school, individual classrooms are a thing of the past. In my twelve years, this is the first year that I don't move among two or more classrooms. But I still share the room with two other teachers. I don't have resources. The newest textbooks my school has are from 2007. Common Core was adopted in 2010. First and second year teachers have openly complained about how they have to change classrooms throughout the day and they don't have a teacher's edition of the textbook. As if those of us with seniority have our own suites where we use the teacher's edition like it was toilet tissue. My point is, put in some time before you take the floor.

fy.chalmers.se
     Addison and McGee discusses something that my department has been trying to figure out for years: how does the writing experience in high school compare to the writing experience in college? We've had committees that went to Rutgers in an attempt to create alignment, with little success. I tried the recommended assignments to prepare the students, only to have them complain and say they were still in high school. They didn't want to be prepared for something that was months away. My wife sees it from the college perspective. When she administers placement tests to high school seniors, the overwhelming majority of them are placed in remedial writing.

     The only issue I had with the study that was presented was the fact tat students evaluated themselves based on performance. There's a reason I don't let my students grade themselves.

     After every quiz or test, I ask the students how they think they did. The majority always respond with an exact number. Unsurprisingly, those who think they got a 92 got a 65. As the authors state,    "[s]tudents... think much more highly of their abilities than their teachers."

     I always wondered why, as a country, we didn't just copy countries with higher levels of literacy. I know that Scandinavian countries always have high levels, some are even at 100%. Why doesn't our school system just copy and paste what they are doing? If that isn't possible because of other roadblocks, then we have a place to start.

web.mit.edu