“Numbers, Narratives, and He vs. She: Issues of Audience in Composition Research”

     I must admit, I never really thought much about how I write when completing a research project. By that I mean voice. In my mind, all research papers, articles, and even encyclopedia entries can be read in the same robotic voice. At least, that's been my experience up to the articles we've read over the last few months.

     My wife once told me about white privilege- certain benefits I experience just by being white. As I read through the second portion of the article dealing with the feminist perspective, I couldn't help but think that I also benefit from male privilege. This might sound ridiculous, but I've never thought of it before. As a white male, there are many perspectives that I have difficulty understanding. Perhaps ignorant would be a better term to describe my position.

zenofzero.blogspot.com
     I realize that as the only male in the class I'm treading dangerous ground. It's an area I'm not qualified to talk about because I've never experienced any issues. I know the mainstream opinion of most feminists now is that they aren't looking for equality, they are looking to tip the scales to the opposite extreme and make men inferior. But the majority are looking for a voice and a fair way to be heard and not patronized. (In brief defense of some men, sometimes "let one of the men get it" is an attempt at chivalry, not chauvinism.)

     I'm not very surprised that Hunzer found students would prefer to be tutored by members of the same sex. If I had to guess, I would automatically assume a female student would feel a male teacher was railroading her, and a male student might not take a female teacher seriously, trying instead to impress her. Of course, news stories about relationships between teachers and students have been all too common, so perhaps same sex tutoring is a good way to cover your behind.

whs.weldre4.k12.co.us
     In regards to mathematics and statistics, SGO's have made it incredibly important for teachers to be savvy in how numbers can work in your favor. We place students in one of three groups (low, medium, high) based on certain criteria (previous year's grades, attendance, a baseline test). Midway through the year, we reassign students to groups based on their performance in our classrooms. It doesn't take a genius long to figure out that if you front load the year with incredibly difficult work above grade level, students will be placed in lower groups. The midway check is given based on grade level material and viola! Students suddenly perform better.

www.comicmath.com
     I recently administered the second round of STAR testing to my students. It's a diagnostic tool used for scheduling and determining intervention. My students didn't really take it too seriously the first time and the second time they had just taken midterm exams. Neither time was an ideal representation of what my kids are capable of. The results were disappointing and has quite a negative impact on my demographic. My struggle is trying to motivate ninth graders who supposedly read on a fourth grade level. Even if the data is inaccurate and the kids are better readers than the results show, they've already defeated themselves mentally.

“Numbers, Narratives, and He vs. She: Issues of Audience in Composition Research”

     I must admit, I never really thought much about how I write when completing a research project. By that I mean voice. In my mind, all research papers, articles, and even encyclopedia entries can be read in the same robotic voice. At least, that's been my experience up to the articles we've read over the last few months.

     My wife once told me about white privilege- certain benefits I experience just by being white. As I read through the second portion of the article dealing with the feminist perspective, I couldn't help but think that I also benefit from male privilege. This might sound ridiculous, but I've never thought of it before. As a white male, there are many perspectives that I have difficulty understanding. Perhaps ignorant would be a better term to describe my position.

zenofzero.blogspot.com
     I realize that as the only male in the class I'm treading dangerous ground. It's an area I'm not qualified to talk about because I've never experienced any issues. I know the mainstream opinion of most feminists now is that they aren't looking for equality, they are looking to tip the scales to the opposite extreme and make men inferior. But the majority are looking for a voice and a fair way to be heard and not patronized. (In brief defense of some men, sometimes "let one of the men get it" is an attempt at chivalry, not chauvinism.)

     I'm not very surprised that Hunzer found students would prefer to be tutored by members of the same sex. If I had to guess, I would automatically assume a female student would feel a male teacher was railroading her, and a male student might not take a female teacher seriously, trying instead to impress her. Of course, news stories about relationships between teachers and students have been all too common, so perhaps same sex tutoring is a good way to cover your behind.

whs.weldre4.k12.co.us
     In regards to mathematics and statistics, SGO's have made it incredibly important for teachers to be savvy in how numbers can work in your favor. We place students in one of three groups (low, medium, high) based on certain criteria (previous year's grades, attendance, a baseline test). Midway through the year, we reassign students to groups based on their performance in our classrooms. It doesn't take a genius long to figure out that if you front load the year with incredibly difficult work above grade level, students will be placed in lower groups. The midway check is given based on grade level material and viola! Students suddenly perform better.

www.comicmath.com
     I recently administered the second round of STAR testing to my students. It's a diagnostic tool used for scheduling and determining intervention. My students didn't really take it too seriously the first time and the second time they had just taken midterm exams. Neither time was an ideal representation of what my kids are capable of. The results were disappointing and has quite a negative impact on my demographic. My struggle is trying to motivate ninth graders who supposedly read on a fourth grade level. Even if the data is inaccurate and the kids are better readers than the results show, they've already defeated themselves mentally.

Numbers, Narrations, and He vs. She



Qualitative Research or Number Crunching...in My English Class??


This chapter covered a lot of ground and paid attention to the numerous essays and lengthy research papers that we have all read and often disliked intensely, because of their endless mention of statistics or inclusion of confusing graphs. I am actually a fan of math, and like to be offered proof in simple terms which often means a numeric count to back up the pros and /or cons of any topic in question.


As I used the annotation tool I noticed Martha’s comments often reflected my own feelings; she also felt the use of numbers to prove results on a survey is the norm. It did occur to me, as the bowling scores were being manipulated, that numbers can also be skewed in a variety of ways and that could affect the argument. The author’s personal distaste for statistical proof or avoidance of math in general might be the root of this discussion. My personal reaction still accepts the use of statistics—in English and anywhere that numbers both clarify and prove the validity of any research in question. While numbers can be manipulated, words are far easier to use in deceptions. And writers are quite adept at both using and misusing words to their benefit.

Thinking along these lines, I was taken aback when Colin made a very insightful comment that I had not considered. He asked: ”…what if the students interviewed as part of the gathered “data” are not invested in the study and give the easiest or more popular answer simply to fulfill a requirement?” That was something I had not even considered! Perhaps a criteria for being involved in such a survey would need to be a genuine interest or personal investment. His point is valid and would definitely lead to an invalid numeric outcome BUT would also lead to the same falsity if using qualitative answers. In truth, that question would need to be considered by the researchers before they started any study.

One thing that was unsettling as I read this chapter was the tone of Johanek, often in accordance with her cited sources. It seemed they were treating female English research-writers, in a different fashion than men. And that makes absolutely no sense as each writer, male or female, has their own style, and preferred manner of research methods. Ultimately, they should choose their most powerful tool to prove the importance of any outcomes their research has unearthed. Enos’ decision to omit her supporting data, thus omitting the full scope of the outcomes, highlights the ridiculous concept of only providing a narrative. I don’t want to be “told a story.” I want the facts when research is involved! If women repeatedly adapt their writing style to gain approval from an “other” in an allegedly male-dominated field, they can never reach their personal degree of expertise, and contribute freely as research-writers.


How can masculine writing be more scientific? That is a bold generalization, especially for someone (like me) who has embraced Shakespeare, and spent time, tears, and hours of research on his works. Yet, I never noticed that detail… Albeit, they are discussing male research-writers vs. female, and suggesting that women should tell the story and create the research as a narrative. BUT WHY?  Many men (Peter Elbow anyone?) also present their findings in this manner, and many women include statistical data to empower theirs. Writing, any writing, should always be the writer’s decision and interpretation of their story.


I imagine that some of the statements about women needing to write in a different style can be attributed to the original publication date of this text. My reaction is that women have proven repeatedly over the centuries their power of the pen, and their mastery of capturing the story. Emotional writing should not only be associated with women any more than rational writing assigned only to men. That is a sexist idea and one I have never associated with one particular sex; a healthy balance of both is an integral part of any writer’s personal style.

Numbers, Narrations, and He vs. She



Qualitative Research or Number Crunching...in My English Class??


This chapter covered a lot of ground and paid attention to the numerous essays and lengthy research papers that we have all read and often disliked intensely, because of their endless mention of statistics or inclusion of confusing graphs. I am actually a fan of math, and like to be offered proof in simple terms which often means a numeric count to back up the pros and /or cons of any topic in question.


As I used the annotation tool I noticed Martha’s comments often reflected my own feelings; she also felt the use of numbers to prove results on a survey is the norm. It did occur to me, as the bowling scores were being manipulated, that numbers can also be skewed in a variety of ways and that could affect the argument. The author’s personal distaste for statistical proof or avoidance of math in general might be the root of this discussion. My personal reaction still accepts the use of statistics—in English and anywhere that numbers both clarify and prove the validity of any research in question. While numbers can be manipulated, words are far easier to use in deceptions. And writers are quite adept at both using and misusing words to their benefit.

Thinking along these lines, I was taken aback when Colin made a very insightful comment that I had not considered. He asked: ”…what if the students interviewed as part of the gathered “data” are not invested in the study and give the easiest or more popular answer simply to fulfill a requirement?” That was something I had not even considered! Perhaps a criteria for being involved in such a survey would need to be a genuine interest or personal investment. His point is valid and would definitely lead to an invalid numeric outcome BUT would also lead to the same falsity if using qualitative answers. In truth, that question would need to be considered by the researchers before they started any study.

One thing that was unsettling as I read this chapter was the tone of Johanek, often in accordance with her cited sources. It seemed they were treating female English research-writers, in a different fashion than men. And that makes absolutely no sense as each writer, male or female, has their own style, and preferred manner of research methods. Ultimately, they should choose their most powerful tool to prove the importance of any outcomes their research has unearthed. Enos’ decision to omit her supporting data, thus omitting the full scope of the outcomes, highlights the ridiculous concept of only providing a narrative. I don’t want to be “told a story.” I want the facts when research is involved! If women repeatedly adapt their writing style to gain approval from an “other” in an allegedly male-dominated field, they can never reach their personal degree of expertise, and contribute freely as research-writers.


How can masculine writing be more scientific? That is a bold generalization, especially for someone (like me) who has embraced Shakespeare, and spent time, tears, and hours of research on his works. Yet, I never noticed that detail… Albeit, they are discussing male research-writers vs. female, and suggesting that women should tell the story and create the research as a narrative. BUT WHY?  Many men (Peter Elbow anyone?) also present their findings in this manner, and many women include statistical data to empower theirs. Writing, any writing, should always be the writer’s decision and interpretation of their story.


I imagine that some of the statements about women needing to write in a different style can be attributed to the original publication date of this text. My reaction is that women have proven repeatedly over the centuries their power of the pen, and their mastery of capturing the story. Emotional writing should not only be associated with women any more than rational writing assigned only to men. That is a sexist idea and one I have never associated with one particular sex; a healthy balance of both is an integral part of any writer’s personal style.

Liminal Spaces and Research Identity:The Construction of Introductory Composition Students as Researchers by James P. Purdy and Joyce R. Walker

Reading this essay, I became very defensive about the misconception of first-year college students and their ability to research properly. Being a late-life, returning student myself, I had become somewhat adept at all manners of research as a source of survival. Four children over six years, a husband who assumed the homework was magically completed by elves, and minding the responsibilities of  home, kids, work, and, of course, school-mom-volunteer who ran shows and various other functions, afforded a necessity for honing my research skills with whatever reliable tools were available. As an incoming freshman, I was trying to cross the threshold from mom to student-researcher, and was open to all possibilities that would enhance my work. Despite my age, I felt the pressure of transition to college-life and the urgency of perfecting college-level research tools. This article stressed the importance of using both the old proven resources (textbooks) but stressed the obvious fact--most students are more adept at online research than any other resources available!their threshold to a robust teaching experience just as new college students liminal space is their threshold to attaining the full potential of a college-level researcher. I have always felt the benefit of a textbook as a model for curriculum, but I know many of my younger peers do not benefit at all from the use of a textbook in the classroom. In order for instructors to reach their students, there needs to be a middle ground and a sense of acceptance when the use of online sources is involved. And they will be more involve--actually the norm--with each passing year. Because I hope to be one of those Grad-students, first-year professors soon, I want to fully grasp the importance of utilizing the best tools available to help freshman transition into college-level researchers. I believe they have the ability, most of the skills required, and should be treated with some level of respect for what they already know but should still be offered the other tools available, as an ends to the means of becoming the best they can be in the ever-changing land of research-writing.
I also realize that Martha, who dwells in this scary land of novice writers, probably could lend some wise thoughts (and wise-cracks) on this entire situation from an up-close and personal level! I may simply be a wide-eyed dreamer, with undue optimism. But I enjoyed this essay and the direction it went as it covered the possibilities for emerging student-researchers.
The need for crap detection is definitely a must for these novice writers, but one cannot disregard the benefits of their immersion in computer resource gathering--started at an early age. I was amazed by the ease of finding resources and quickly learned to separate better, scholarly sources from B.S. sites. The speed with which things change in today's global society necessitate the careful use of online sources as well as the ability to differentiate the scholarly from the bullcrap. The essay goes on to explain that many of these composition instructors are graduate students or first-year professors themselves--trying to develop their style, lessons, and manner of advice for their students best research results. This means that Grad students liminal space is their threshold to a robust teaching experience; it also means that new college students liminal space is their threshold to attaining full potential as a college-level researcher. Because research often takes many detours, and other times seems to travel in a circular pattern, different leads will bring one on an interesting journey. Linial patterns of expected steps will not usually be the means to an end but instead one of many paths to a great beginning.

Liminal Spaces and Research Identity:The Construction of Introductory Composition Students as Researchers by James P. Purdy and Joyce R. Walker

Reading this essay, I became very defensive about the misconception of first-year college students and their ability to research properly. Being a late-life, returning student myself, I had become somewhat adept at all manners of research as a source of survival. Four children over six years, a husband who assumed the homework was magically completed by elves, and minding the responsibilities of  home, kids, work, and, of course, school-mom-volunteer who ran shows and various other functions, afforded a necessity for honing my research skills with whatever reliable tools were available. As an incoming freshman, I was trying to cross the threshold from mom to student-researcher, and was open to all possibilities that would enhance my work. Despite my age, I felt the pressure of transition to college-life and the urgency of perfecting college-level research tools. This article stressed the importance of using both the old proven resources (textbooks) but stressed the obvious fact--most students are more adept at online research than any other resources available!their threshold to a robust teaching experience just as new college students liminal space is their threshold to attaining the full potential of a college-level researcher. I have always felt the benefit of a textbook as a model for curriculum, but I know many of my younger peers do not benefit at all from the use of a textbook in the classroom. In order for instructors to reach their students, there needs to be a middle ground and a sense of acceptance when the use of online sources is involved. And they will be more involve--actually the norm--with each passing year. Because I hope to be one of those Grad-students, first-year professors soon, I want to fully grasp the importance of utilizing the best tools available to help freshman transition into college-level researchers. I believe they have the ability, most of the skills required, and should be treated with some level of respect for what they already know but should still be offered the other tools available, as an ends to the means of becoming the best they can be in the ever-changing land of research-writing.
I also realize that Martha, who dwells in this scary land of novice writers, probably could lend some wise thoughts (and wise-cracks) on this entire situation from an up-close and personal level! I may simply be a wide-eyed dreamer, with undue optimism. But I enjoyed this essay and the direction it went as it covered the possibilities for emerging student-researchers.
The need for crap detection is definitely a must for these novice writers, but one cannot disregard the benefits of their immersion in computer resource gathering--started at an early age. I was amazed by the ease of finding resources and quickly learned to separate better, scholarly sources from B.S. sites. The speed with which things change in today's global society necessitate the careful use of online sources as well as the ability to differentiate the scholarly from the bullcrap. The essay goes on to explain that many of these composition instructors are graduate students or first-year professors themselves--trying to develop their style, lessons, and manner of advice for their students best research results. This means that Grad students liminal space is their threshold to a robust teaching experience; it also means that new college students liminal space is their threshold to attaining full potential as a college-level researcher. Because research often takes many detours, and other times seems to travel in a circular pattern, different leads will bring one on an interesting journey. Linial patterns of expected steps will not usually be the means to an end but instead one of many paths to a great beginning.