All posts by Debra A. Bagnato

"Who’s-Doing–Whats in Language" by James Paul Gee

Social languages and their different practices I get all too well; working with the public for so many years, I recognized the different ways I spoke to different people from my early days in retail. Very quickly, I was made aware of the need to speak—to connect—with my present audience, in their “lingo” especially if they were complaining, venting, or simply irate over something that happened as they shopped. When I found myself transferred to the downtown Jersey City store I am presently working in, my vernacular adapted to my new area, just as it had in my previous stores.

When I was working in a highly Hispanic area, certain phrases, mannerisms, and types of body language were the precedent; one is usually unaware they acquire these, but it is simply a matter of association and immersion. In order to communicate with shoppers and co-workers, one needs to speak the same language. In the downtown store, we have many African-Americans, both on staff and as customers, so my mannerisms, body language, and speech have adapted again through these associations and friendships.

Since 9/11, the area has been flooded with an upper-class, business clientele because of many WTC companies relocating “walking distance” from our store, along the waterfront. These customers expect a different type of speech and treatment; such differentiation is not difficult, and my more formal speech can be heard when dealing with these shoppers. None of these habits are intentional, but a natural context of speaking to the many different people in our daily routine, on their terms. These are my peeps, below. Note we are many different types, and so are our speech patterns.

The example of “Jane” as she describes the story from class to both her parents and boyfriend, hoping to prove there is no change in her speech patterns, is classic. She quickly recognizes the vast differences in her social languages just as I have described the variations of my own. When I was younger, like Jane, I did not see all the adaptations of language I used but was aware of the obvious ones--talking “nicer” to parents, teachers, and clergy but being ourselves with friends. Jane’s claim that she did not ever speak differently was destined to fail when tested, and did.

The ability to read and grasp the essence of the author’s intent has a lot to do with a ready knowledge of what is going on around us. If a person is completely uninformed and reads an aspirin bottle, such as Gee’s example, they might be puzzled or misinterpret the warnings it carries. However, unless you live under a rock, on a deserted island, or in a remote cloister, you would be somewhat familiar with such information and able to discern, by the time you were an adult making this purchase, what the message intended its reader to ascertain. Understandably, in today’s ever-changing society, there may be many who use English as their second language, missing certain social cues. But because of social media, they would have an easier time adapting to mannerisms and speech patterns of average American conversations.
On the topic of social responsibility I can only say that if cigarette manufacturers should be held accountable, then what about liquor and prescription drug manufacturers, which are also highly addictive. I do not disagree BUT these are all very serious social issues and as long as they are readily available, there will be a higher incident rate which negatively affect families, and loved ones by ruining lives. Accountability needs to be addressed across many forums, deciding where freedom of choice ends and responsibility to each other begins.


Ebonics—why not? If children can take ESL classes to learn English, and others can learn a second language, such as Spanish, in school to accommodate the many Hispanic families living in the USA, why not Ebonics. If many children are more familiar with this vernacular, as long as they will also learn how to write and communicate in English, it seems as acceptable as the decision to include Spanish as a second, required language in schools. The factor of time and scheduling would, of course, be an issue, but if this would prove advantageous to students, particularly in certain areas, why not try and implement this form of expression? Yet, I wonder what will come of these changes and the absence of grammar at the same time…

"Who’s-Doing–Whats in Language" by James Paul Gee

Social languages and their different practices I get all too well; working with the public for so many years, I recognized the different ways I spoke to different people from my early days in retail. Very quickly, I was made aware of the need to speak—to connect—with my present audience, in their “lingo” especially if they were complaining, venting, or simply irate over something that happened as they shopped. When I found myself transferred to the downtown Jersey City store I am presently working in, my vernacular adapted to my new area, just as it had in my previous stores.

When I was working in a highly Hispanic area, certain phrases, mannerisms, and types of body language were the precedent; one is usually unaware they acquire these, but it is simply a matter of association and immersion. In order to communicate with shoppers and co-workers, one needs to speak the same language. In the downtown store, we have many African-Americans, both on staff and as customers, so my mannerisms, body language, and speech have adapted again through these associations and friendships.

Since 9/11, the area has been flooded with an upper-class, business clientele because of many WTC companies relocating “walking distance” from our store, along the waterfront. These customers expect a different type of speech and treatment; such differentiation is not difficult, and my more formal speech can be heard when dealing with these shoppers. None of these habits are intentional, but a natural context of speaking to the many different people in our daily routine, on their terms. These are my peeps, below. Note we are many different types, and so are our speech patterns.

The example of “Jane” as she describes the story from class to both her parents and boyfriend, hoping to prove there is no change in her speech patterns, is classic. She quickly recognizes the vast differences in her social languages just as I have described the variations of my own. When I was younger, like Jane, I did not see all the adaptations of language I used but was aware of the obvious ones--talking “nicer” to parents, teachers, and clergy but being ourselves with friends. Jane’s claim that she did not ever speak differently was destined to fail when tested, and did.

The ability to read and grasp the essence of the author’s intent has a lot to do with a ready knowledge of what is going on around us. If a person is completely uninformed and reads an aspirin bottle, such as Gee’s example, they might be puzzled or misinterpret the warnings it carries. However, unless you live under a rock, on a deserted island, or in a remote cloister, you would be somewhat familiar with such information and able to discern, by the time you were an adult making this purchase, what the message intended its reader to ascertain. Understandably, in today’s ever-changing society, there may be many who use English as their second language, missing certain social cues. But because of social media, they would have an easier time adapting to mannerisms and speech patterns of average American conversations.
On the topic of social responsibility I can only say that if cigarette manufacturers should be held accountable, then what about liquor and prescription drug manufacturers, which are also highly addictive. I do not disagree BUT these are all very serious social issues and as long as they are readily available, there will be a higher incident rate which negatively affect families, and loved ones by ruining lives. Accountability needs to be addressed across many forums, deciding where freedom of choice ends and responsibility to each other begins.


Ebonics—why not? If children can take ESL classes to learn English, and others can learn a second language, such as Spanish, in school to accommodate the many Hispanic families living in the USA, why not Ebonics. If many children are more familiar with this vernacular, as long as they will also learn how to write and communicate in English, it seems as acceptable as the decision to include Spanish as a second, required language in schools. The factor of time and scheduling would, of course, be an issue, but if this would prove advantageous to students, particularly in certain areas, why not try and implement this form of expression? Yet, I wonder what will come of these changes and the absence of grammar at the same time…

Three Views of Teachers as Researchers: The Truth behind the Title

I liked the first article and its simple, yet clear definition of the topic. The fact they used the six key words as prompts probably helped them to stay focused on their goal.

Teacher researchers are the topic of everything we have been studying. The six descriptive words, given in the first essay were helpful in its clarification. It would clearly be intentional, as all research begins with a purpose. Deciding on the topic and then exploring it “as an important aspect of teaching and learning” (23). Any research starts out on a given path which often changes direction as the process intensifies. The intended goal should be a better understanding of the intended topic as well as the paths traversed during the learning process.
The next descriptive word is systematic; the claim is that teacher researchers use methods and strategies to carefully document their findings. They also identify and discuss theories and assumptions, as they collect and analyze data for triangulation .Comparison is constant as they challenge findings and discuss the different interpretations of their colleagues. This systematic process creates a clearer picture of their research process.
Moving along, this research is deemed a publicendeavor as it encourages challenges and different perspectives. Voluntary seems obvious; this is a choice which involves risk as teachers re-examine their teaching process. They must be honest about the value of their in-class projects.
That brings us to ethical; I would really hope this would be at the core of the process. A teachers primary responsibility should be to their students, so they would seemingly strive to “collect data that is representative” (25) and involve students to discuss, examine, and challenge their findings. Which leads us to its contextual aspect; this descriptive value is needed for both teaching and learning processes. The ability to explain and clarify the entire context, on which it is based, helps unearth the assumptions within. 

The second essay “The Teacher as Researcher” by Marian M. Mohr was delightful. She documents her road to becoming a teacher-researcher as something I could see myself doing. She found she needed to write down what was happening in the classroom; as a new teacher, things were happening to fast to process. The ability to write down what is overwhelming so you can read it over later, when you have time and presence of mind, is a reassurance you’re not missing something important. You might leave something out but you are trying to keep track of as much as possible. Through this process, she found that she was able to be more attentive but also was getting to understand her class and its habits. I especially liked her “oops” moment with the word aggressive. The ability to openly learn from her students, helped them recognize that although she was teaching them, they were learning together.
Her respect for the students learning/ writing process was inspiring as well as interesting. The various noises and habits seem very distracting, yet they made it work and she incorporated their help in deciding on class topics. This all began with her keeping that journal; I can see myself doing something similar if I become the teacher I hope to be. It is interesting how her thinking evolved from someone who was against the idea of teacher-researchers to the understanding she gained, through her simple desire to become a good teacher for her students.
The last study included teachers from different levels of education who were interested in classroom/ teacher research. Some of these had participated in a pilot seminar through the National Writing Project and the National Center for the Study of Writing. The seminar was a bi-weekly meeting for three hours in the evening, with activities to help formulate and examine questions on writing from a teachers view.

Based on the Marian Mohr model, the impressive essay discussed above, teachers met in a relaxed atmosphere, and shared ideas as they experimented to see what might work. The facilitator (Mike) guided them to share their reflections with colleagues as well as through writing. He reminded them that: “Process (was) more important than product.”
The findings were that teachers needed more TIME to sit down and write. They felt the structure and content of the group meetings needed additional comments, but the positive outcomes were reflection, networking, and a renewed view of themselves as professionals. They enjoyed the journal sharing and discussions and many had individual research “odysseys.” Most felt their teaching performance improved by this classroom-based research, and felt they had become “more reflective practitioners.”
There was an increased interest in the work of other researchers from this experience, a sort of professional evolution. Almost all of the teachers submitted papers to “validate their own perceptions." As one participant noted: “Collecting data makes me ask good questions of kids who give me good answers, answers that help me improve as a teacher.” That sounds like the most important results for the educators in attendance.





Three Views of Teachers as Researchers: The Truth behind the Title

I liked the first article and its simple, yet clear definition of the topic. The fact they used the six key words as prompts probably helped them to stay focused on their goal.

Teacher researchers are the topic of everything we have been studying. The six descriptive words, given in the first essay were helpful in its clarification. It would clearly be intentional, as all research begins with a purpose. Deciding on the topic and then exploring it “as an important aspect of teaching and learning” (23). Any research starts out on a given path which often changes direction as the process intensifies. The intended goal should be a better understanding of the intended topic as well as the paths traversed during the learning process.
The next descriptive word is systematic; the claim is that teacher researchers use methods and strategies to carefully document their findings. They also identify and discuss theories and assumptions, as they collect and analyze data for triangulation .Comparison is constant as they challenge findings and discuss the different interpretations of their colleagues. This systematic process creates a clearer picture of their research process.
Moving along, this research is deemed a publicendeavor as it encourages challenges and different perspectives. Voluntary seems obvious; this is a choice which involves risk as teachers re-examine their teaching process. They must be honest about the value of their in-class projects.
That brings us to ethical; I would really hope this would be at the core of the process. A teachers primary responsibility should be to their students, so they would seemingly strive to “collect data that is representative” (25) and involve students to discuss, examine, and challenge their findings. Which leads us to its contextual aspect; this descriptive value is needed for both teaching and learning processes. The ability to explain and clarify the entire context, on which it is based, helps unearth the assumptions within. 

The second essay “The Teacher as Researcher” by Marian M. Mohr was delightful. She documents her road to becoming a teacher-researcher as something I could see myself doing. She found she needed to write down what was happening in the classroom; as a new teacher, things were happening to fast to process. The ability to write down what is overwhelming so you can read it over later, when you have time and presence of mind, is a reassurance you’re not missing something important. You might leave something out but you are trying to keep track of as much as possible. Through this process, she found that she was able to be more attentive but also was getting to understand her class and its habits. I especially liked her “oops” moment with the word aggressive. The ability to openly learn from her students, helped them recognize that although she was teaching them, they were learning together.
Her respect for the students learning/ writing process was inspiring as well as interesting. The various noises and habits seem very distracting, yet they made it work and she incorporated their help in deciding on class topics. This all began with her keeping that journal; I can see myself doing something similar if I become the teacher I hope to be. It is interesting how her thinking evolved from someone who was against the idea of teacher-researchers to the understanding she gained, through her simple desire to become a good teacher for her students.
The last study included teachers from different levels of education who were interested in classroom/ teacher research. Some of these had participated in a pilot seminar through the National Writing Project and the National Center for the Study of Writing. The seminar was a bi-weekly meeting for three hours in the evening, with activities to help formulate and examine questions on writing from a teachers view.

Based on the Marian Mohr model, the impressive essay discussed above, teachers met in a relaxed atmosphere, and shared ideas as they experimented to see what might work. The facilitator (Mike) guided them to share their reflections with colleagues as well as through writing. He reminded them that: “Process (was) more important than product.”
The findings were that teachers needed more TIME to sit down and write. They felt the structure and content of the group meetings needed additional comments, but the positive outcomes were reflection, networking, and a renewed view of themselves as professionals. They enjoyed the journal sharing and discussions and many had individual research “odysseys.” Most felt their teaching performance improved by this classroom-based research, and felt they had become “more reflective practitioners.”
There was an increased interest in the work of other researchers from this experience, a sort of professional evolution. Almost all of the teachers submitted papers to “validate their own perceptions." As one participant noted: “Collecting data makes me ask good questions of kids who give me good answers, answers that help me improve as a teacher.” That sounds like the most important results for the educators in attendance.





Rhetoric & Invention; Greek Style / Yancey on Reflection, Invention and the Methods Class




            Rhetoric. Invention. Aristotle wrote much about it; his thoughts are still argued, mulled over, used, or ignored. He was not the first, and will not be the last. But what exactly is it? Janice M. Lauer explains the three primary Greek interpretations of rhetoric or “invention.” Her research suggests that Sophists focused on the early parts of any discourse known as “Kairos” or the opportune moment, and believed in the “dissoi logoi” or arguing for both sides of an argument. Plato instead, emphasized the “inventional” role of dialogue but numerous reviewers remain undecided about his reasons as well as his epistemology. Aristotle developed the most explicit theory of “invention” in the Rhetoric providing a clear conception of its nature and his view of its purpose.
            Though most agree that for the Sophists, conflict triggered the discourse, the question remains—did Kairos (opportune moment) control the discourse or did the discourse control Kairos? That opportune moment should prove something right or wrong; the concept of dissoi logoi (arguing on behalf of both sides) displays the powerful effects of rhetoric as an art of persuasion with potential for disastrous effects, if held in the wrong hands. Because of differing opinions on both Kairos and dissoi logoi, Lauer affirms that there remains controversy among a lengthy list of scholars as to aspects of rhetoric or “invention.”
            Between the mythos/ beliefs and the logos/ discourse there lies the nomos or “that which is assigned.” This exemplifies thinking strategies of the rhetoricians during Greece’ Golden Age. Their goal: “…a self-conscious arrangement of discourse to create politically and socially significant knowledge” (16). Plato’s views of invention illustrate rather than systemize topics while Aristotle delineates inventional issues, strategies, and principles for analyzation of discourse. He also prompts the rhetor to find appropriate content, and frame the rhetorical epistemology, aided by the enthymeme or “body of proof.” Scholars argue effectively, on rhetoric’s art, use, and validity. Their discourse proves theirtruths through invention.
            Similar methods of looking at multiple perspectives are evidenced by Kathleen Blake Yancey as she questions herself, her teaching approaches, the importance of reflection, and the methods course. Opening with her concerns, she theorizes about how she can most effectively run a Methods Course, and which practices work best for her students “who-will-be-teachers.” She also hopes to bridge the gap between these by using reflection-in-action to shape her model as she helps students become teachers who learn with their students.

            Yancey defines reflective transfer as: “the procedure that enables us to learn from and theorize our practice” (235). Its four steps are clarified simply: observation and examination of one’s practice, hypothesis regarding ones successes and failures, planning the next attempt using all one has learned, and finally, starting over. Through this exercise, teachers can begin to grasp how students learn, and which assignments prove beneficial to that process. Results place one on the path of thinking like and becoming that future teacher.
            Reflection in this context becomes collaborative; Yancey plans and delivers the lessons that her students experience. Through this process they connect. She knows this transfer of knowledge may result in something other than her original intent, but that will provide new insights—collaborative learning—to their methods class. Her implementation of reflection throughout this course offers numerous contexts to encourage and inspire learning.
The focus is to shape her course as the most effective tool for this diverse group of students, hoping to soon be teachers. The two aspects of development she addresses are helping prospective teachers see their prospective students as both like and unlike them, and helping those “almost-teachers” explain their own learning process thus enabling them to better teach and direct their students learning skills in the near future.
Yancey speaks of invention, not for the purpose of rhetoric or discourse, but through a process called cubing to reveal the many perspectives of any subject. Her lesson is unique and inspired as she gives them the opportunity to “invent” their model classroom, complete with students. She asks them to decide who these “students” are, how they will cooperate and also, how they will resist. This process requires thought, reflection, honesty, and the applied insight from the cubing exercise.
The exercise of literary analysis forces students to think and react like teachers as they study a high school student, “Ryan’s” portfolio. Guided by simple questions, the students supply more than enough responses. According to Yancey, they did what she does for every student: “read the data, reflect upon it, make meaning” (241). Differing feedback, interpretations, and recommendations evidence each student’s position on their journey to become the “teacher.”
Leaving behind the role of student to become “the teacher” is discussed by Yancey. Perceiving her students concern about this transition, she points out that “good teachers are always students” (242). Yancey reminds them that teachers are working in communion through many worthwhile venues, like the NWP and NCTE towards clearer student understanding, enrichment, and to insure that the circle of learning never ends.
Yancey has students work in groups for a non-graded curriculum project which requires different thinking, strategies, and seeing themselves as learners. She stops them midway and has them implement “reflection-in-action” using three simple questions: How’s it going, what’s left, and what are you learning? The reactions differ as each student offers their perspective, but Yancey can assess individual progress through these replies. They have learned about voicing opinions, the sequence of texts to goals, and the flow of knowledge through timing and directions. Mostly, they have started to think like teachers, which was the original intent.
Finally, Yancey gives her class questions to ponder that may help them further move into the role of teacher. She reminds us of the two questions with which she began her “reflective quest” and reviews the success of the semester’s exercises. Because reflection-in-action worked well she hopes to unearth a link from this to reflective teaching in the future. She believes teaching the course reflectively will create knowledge. Yancey always strives for improvements as she reflects on her teaching practices. She reminds us that when reflection works it not only answers questions but creates many more. But that is what learning is all about, isn’t it?

1.      Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and, effectively used, can bring an audience to believe—or disbelieve—almost anything; good and truthful to bad or evil. Grasping the power of this art, and given the role of educator, how might one use this powerful tool for the best possible results in a classful of impressionable writing students?
2.      Yancey is notably pleased with her students’ ability to articulate their learning experience through metaphors.  Their unexpected use of figures of speech indicate to Yancey, “…a developmental mark of teacher identity formation” (239). Why do you think she feels this way? Do you think this is a deciding indication of readiness?
3.      Yancey uses reflection effectively in many aspects, and encourages her students to do the same. She implements it into her exercises and classwork to enable this process to reach some level of success. She now wants to teach reflectively, tying it in with reflection-in-action. In your opinion(s), can this be done and might it create a better learning experience for both Yancey and her students?


Rhetoric & Invention; Greek Style / Yancey on Reflection, Invention and the Methods Class




            Rhetoric. Invention. Aristotle wrote much about it; his thoughts are still argued, mulled over, used, or ignored. He was not the first, and will not be the last. But what exactly is it? Janice M. Lauer explains the three primary Greek interpretations of rhetoric or “invention.” Her research suggests that Sophists focused on the early parts of any discourse known as “Kairos” or the opportune moment, and believed in the “dissoi logoi” or arguing for both sides of an argument. Plato instead, emphasized the “inventional” role of dialogue but numerous reviewers remain undecided about his reasons as well as his epistemology. Aristotle developed the most explicit theory of “invention” in the Rhetoric providing a clear conception of its nature and his view of its purpose.
            Though most agree that for the Sophists, conflict triggered the discourse, the question remains—did Kairos (opportune moment) control the discourse or did the discourse control Kairos? That opportune moment should prove something right or wrong; the concept of dissoi logoi (arguing on behalf of both sides) displays the powerful effects of rhetoric as an art of persuasion with potential for disastrous effects, if held in the wrong hands. Because of differing opinions on both Kairos and dissoi logoi, Lauer affirms that there remains controversy among a lengthy list of scholars as to aspects of rhetoric or “invention.”
            Between the mythos/ beliefs and the logos/ discourse there lies the nomos or “that which is assigned.” This exemplifies thinking strategies of the rhetoricians during Greece’ Golden Age. Their goal: “…a self-conscious arrangement of discourse to create politically and socially significant knowledge” (16). Plato’s views of invention illustrate rather than systemize topics while Aristotle delineates inventional issues, strategies, and principles for analyzation of discourse. He also prompts the rhetor to find appropriate content, and frame the rhetorical epistemology, aided by the enthymeme or “body of proof.” Scholars argue effectively, on rhetoric’s art, use, and validity. Their discourse proves theirtruths through invention.
            Similar methods of looking at multiple perspectives are evidenced by Kathleen Blake Yancey as she questions herself, her teaching approaches, the importance of reflection, and the methods course. Opening with her concerns, she theorizes about how she can most effectively run a Methods Course, and which practices work best for her students “who-will-be-teachers.” She also hopes to bridge the gap between these by using reflection-in-action to shape her model as she helps students become teachers who learn with their students.

            Yancey defines reflective transfer as: “the procedure that enables us to learn from and theorize our practice” (235). Its four steps are clarified simply: observation and examination of one’s practice, hypothesis regarding ones successes and failures, planning the next attempt using all one has learned, and finally, starting over. Through this exercise, teachers can begin to grasp how students learn, and which assignments prove beneficial to that process. Results place one on the path of thinking like and becoming that future teacher.
            Reflection in this context becomes collaborative; Yancey plans and delivers the lessons that her students experience. Through this process they connect. She knows this transfer of knowledge may result in something other than her original intent, but that will provide new insights—collaborative learning—to their methods class. Her implementation of reflection throughout this course offers numerous contexts to encourage and inspire learning.
The focus is to shape her course as the most effective tool for this diverse group of students, hoping to soon be teachers. The two aspects of development she addresses are helping prospective teachers see their prospective students as both like and unlike them, and helping those “almost-teachers” explain their own learning process thus enabling them to better teach and direct their students learning skills in the near future.
Yancey speaks of invention, not for the purpose of rhetoric or discourse, but through a process called cubing to reveal the many perspectives of any subject. Her lesson is unique and inspired as she gives them the opportunity to “invent” their model classroom, complete with students. She asks them to decide who these “students” are, how they will cooperate and also, how they will resist. This process requires thought, reflection, honesty, and the applied insight from the cubing exercise.
The exercise of literary analysis forces students to think and react like teachers as they study a high school student, “Ryan’s” portfolio. Guided by simple questions, the students supply more than enough responses. According to Yancey, they did what she does for every student: “read the data, reflect upon it, make meaning” (241). Differing feedback, interpretations, and recommendations evidence each student’s position on their journey to become the “teacher.”
Leaving behind the role of student to become “the teacher” is discussed by Yancey. Perceiving her students concern about this transition, she points out that “good teachers are always students” (242). Yancey reminds them that teachers are working in communion through many worthwhile venues, like the NWP and NCTE towards clearer student understanding, enrichment, and to insure that the circle of learning never ends.
Yancey has students work in groups for a non-graded curriculum project which requires different thinking, strategies, and seeing themselves as learners. She stops them midway and has them implement “reflection-in-action” using three simple questions: How’s it going, what’s left, and what are you learning? The reactions differ as each student offers their perspective, but Yancey can assess individual progress through these replies. They have learned about voicing opinions, the sequence of texts to goals, and the flow of knowledge through timing and directions. Mostly, they have started to think like teachers, which was the original intent.
Finally, Yancey gives her class questions to ponder that may help them further move into the role of teacher. She reminds us of the two questions with which she began her “reflective quest” and reviews the success of the semester’s exercises. Because reflection-in-action worked well she hopes to unearth a link from this to reflective teaching in the future. She believes teaching the course reflectively will create knowledge. Yancey always strives for improvements as she reflects on her teaching practices. She reminds us that when reflection works it not only answers questions but creates many more. But that is what learning is all about, isn’t it?

1.      Rhetoric is the art of persuasion and, effectively used, can bring an audience to believe—or disbelieve—almost anything; good and truthful to bad or evil. Grasping the power of this art, and given the role of educator, how might one use this powerful tool for the best possible results in a classful of impressionable writing students?
2.      Yancey is notably pleased with her students’ ability to articulate their learning experience through metaphors.  Their unexpected use of figures of speech indicate to Yancey, “…a developmental mark of teacher identity formation” (239). Why do you think she feels this way? Do you think this is a deciding indication of readiness?
3.      Yancey uses reflection effectively in many aspects, and encourages her students to do the same. She implements it into her exercises and classwork to enable this process to reach some level of success. She now wants to teach reflectively, tying it in with reflection-in-action. In your opinion(s), can this be done and might it create a better learning experience for both Yancey and her students?


"Theory, Research, Practice, Work" by Christopher Ferry & "Composing Composition" Studies by Peter Vandenberg

The strongest sense of frustration is evident in both of these chapters, written by two very different authors who recognize their publications place them in an elite group despite the subject matter at hand. In Ferry’s “Theory, Research, Practice, Work” as well as Vandenberg’s piece, the rule of thumb is as follows; compositionists are and have been, the upper echelon of college English Department hierarchies while teachers of writing—something I aspire to be—remain groveling in the trenches. Oh my! This is not very good at all. BUT, who has the right to pass judgment on whom?
These are questions many have presumably contemplated or even worried over. Maybe, because I have worked an inglorious job (in the trenches) for so very many years, I am not too offended personally by this dichotomy but do see the unfairness of the situation. Perhaps the compositionists should work actively in the field, collect data as they research first-hand what is going on in the classroom. This type of strategy might generate positive results and the compositionists’ objectivity might lead to worthwhile discoveries for all (even those who struggle for writing opportunities as compositionists perfect their style and assume higher standing). This ongoing process of separation will only increase with budget-cutting across campuses. Because the split seems destined to widen, students that would benefit from simple solutions and/ or learning options, will instead be left out in the cold. Even the most experienced student-writers will suffer discouragement as they discover they are at the bottom rung in this untouchable hierarchy. Teaching is an honorable, exciting, one-on-one experience of living the stories, the writing process, and growing in knowledge together. Why should it be treated as a valueless position, when it has been carried on since the early days of mankind? Ferry tells us that teachers are the guides who promote the “praxis” or dialogue, and are rewarded with a rebirth of knowledge trough their students. That is an amazing accomplishment and my thought was that those who teach surely canresearch, but perhaps have less time to doas they focus on this more valuable communion with their students. 

“Composing Composition Studies” by Peter Vandenberg offered hope; Rhetoric and Composition as a specific field of study, is making a comeback! Aristotle must be pleased…The “growing gulf between research faculty and teaching faculty” seems to be an ongoing (losing) battle for the underdogs—the teachers. Ironically, the more I read about this hierarchal arrangement, my goal to change such thinking—at least for my personal ventures—is strengthened. First-year College English should be fun, exciting, and challenging BUT certainly not looked down on by the research community. Maybe, they should “research” better learning approaches by getting off their arses and into a classroom—but I do digress…This ongoing battle which screams of the snobbery of pseudo-intellectuals placing themselves above “regular” people (such as students) doesn’t intimidate me as much as I thought. It does, instead, encourage me to find a way to sponsor change that may (hopefully) prompt others to do the same. This battle is not new by any means, and its history clarifies the progression to this current state (coupled with those university budget cuts). The result for this optimistic, future-teacher, is my decision to channel frustration into something positive after reading all of these arguments. Even if my enthusiasm to create something different for freshman English is a bit premature, working with students towards expressing their unique creativity is something I have always embraced and excelled at because we are then collaborating on something new and exciting together. With my children this concept, and the amazing educators they were blessed with, were equally important parts of their learning process. My work on student shows involved this type of energy and rapport with positive results. All these factors have prompted my plans to create a learning environment that might prove beneficial to a variety of students while offering simple fun, and supportive encouragement for everyone involved. Perhaps, if I can pull the ideas together with some level of success, those important researchers can wander into my class one day and do a study on my strategies. Or maybe, I’ll just write about it myself…



"Theory, Research, Practice, Work" by Christopher Ferry & "Composing Composition" Studies by Peter Vandenberg

The strongest sense of frustration is evident in both of these chapters, written by two very different authors who recognize their publications place them in an elite group despite the subject matter at hand. In Ferry’s “Theory, Research, Practice, Work” as well as Vandenberg’s piece, the rule of thumb is as follows; compositionists are and have been, the upper echelon of college English Department hierarchies while teachers of writing—something I aspire to be—remain groveling in the trenches. Oh my! This is not very good at all. BUT, who has the right to pass judgment on whom?
These are questions many have presumably contemplated or even worried over. Maybe, because I have worked an inglorious job (in the trenches) for so very many years, I am not too offended personally by this dichotomy but do see the unfairness of the situation. Perhaps the compositionists should work actively in the field, collect data as they research first-hand what is going on in the classroom. This type of strategy might generate positive results and the compositionists’ objectivity might lead to worthwhile discoveries for all (even those who struggle for writing opportunities as compositionists perfect their style and assume higher standing). This ongoing process of separation will only increase with budget-cutting across campuses. Because the split seems destined to widen, students that would benefit from simple solutions and/ or learning options, will instead be left out in the cold. Even the most experienced student-writers will suffer discouragement as they discover they are at the bottom rung in this untouchable hierarchy. Teaching is an honorable, exciting, one-on-one experience of living the stories, the writing process, and growing in knowledge together. Why should it be treated as a valueless position, when it has been carried on since the early days of mankind? Ferry tells us that teachers are the guides who promote the “praxis” or dialogue, and are rewarded with a rebirth of knowledge trough their students. That is an amazing accomplishment and my thought was that those who teach surely canresearch, but perhaps have less time to doas they focus on this more valuable communion with their students. 

“Composing Composition Studies” by Peter Vandenberg offered hope; Rhetoric and Composition as a specific field of study, is making a comeback! Aristotle must be pleased…The “growing gulf between research faculty and teaching faculty” seems to be an ongoing (losing) battle for the underdogs—the teachers. Ironically, the more I read about this hierarchal arrangement, my goal to change such thinking—at least for my personal ventures—is strengthened. First-year College English should be fun, exciting, and challenging BUT certainly not looked down on by the research community. Maybe, they should “research” better learning approaches by getting off their arses and into a classroom—but I do digress…This ongoing battle which screams of the snobbery of pseudo-intellectuals placing themselves above “regular” people (such as students) doesn’t intimidate me as much as I thought. It does, instead, encourage me to find a way to sponsor change that may (hopefully) prompt others to do the same. This battle is not new by any means, and its history clarifies the progression to this current state (coupled with those university budget cuts). The result for this optimistic, future-teacher, is my decision to channel frustration into something positive after reading all of these arguments. Even if my enthusiasm to create something different for freshman English is a bit premature, working with students towards expressing their unique creativity is something I have always embraced and excelled at because we are then collaborating on something new and exciting together. With my children this concept, and the amazing educators they were blessed with, were equally important parts of their learning process. My work on student shows involved this type of energy and rapport with positive results. All these factors have prompted my plans to create a learning environment that might prove beneficial to a variety of students while offering simple fun, and supportive encouragement for everyone involved. Perhaps, if I can pull the ideas together with some level of success, those important researchers can wander into my class one day and do a study on my strategies. Or maybe, I’ll just write about it myself…