Social Class Reproduction

Four Rules for Teaching Writing:
Image result for image: joy of writing
Always give writing assignments that

1. you will enjoy reading;
2. students will enjoy writing;
3. students will enjoy reading what others in the class have written
4. you will enjoy writing.

If any one of these conditions were not true, then it probably wasn't a very good assignment.

Advice I give to my students: When your words surprise you, you know you are writing.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


One of those moments: when I thought I had written something informatory but disappeared into cyberspace--which is actually where I live. I know I said something about the book that Ed White, Norbert Elliot, and I wrote and is now in print  (link), but I have wanted to add to our discussion assessment as information rather than as performance--students telling us what worked  (or didnt') as opposed to showing/proving what worked.

At any rate, I'm going to make this quick, in case I lose it for a second time: my instructions for a final e-portfolio:


===============================================
Introduction
Introduction: Imagine that you are me and that at some point, some well-intentioned administrator might wonder about my grading practices. I would like to be able to give her for each student a fair example of the student's work and the student's reflection on what he or she has so far learned in the course, given the announced objectives. So imagine that your portfolio is that evidence of the grade that I would like to argue for in response to this well-intentioned administrator—this is not a fanciful reader-situation. As teachers, we are constantly challenged to justify a disproportionate percentage of As and Bs. Upper level administrators like to imagine that reality reproduces a Bell Curve. 


If you don’t have anything else to do this week, you could research the myth of the Bell Curve, starting here:  http://qz.com/178396/the-bell-curve-is-a-myth/
Actually, the Bell Curve Myth had its origin in racial discrimination (Elliot). We don’t have to go deeply into this discussion; for our purposes, all you have to know is that a lot of people (educators in particular) believe in the myth of the bell curve and they don’t like to see too many people getting As and Bs. My thesis here is linked to all that we have been talking about in our investigation of the relationship between our school experiences and identity formation.
So after that long-winded introduction, consider the portfolio as a presentation of what you have done and learned in this class so far.  Here were our goals for the course:

1. To investigate research—and the theory of research
2. To improve our clarity and fluency—fluency in the sense of writing easily and the flow of writing
3. To improve style, grammar, and punctuation
4. To improve our integration and evaluation of information
5. To explore the links between rhetorical situation and when claims need to be supported by evidence, and warrants
6. To explore the connection between writing and audience
7. To encourage a positive attitude toward writing
In your Introduction, you should introduce your portfolio. Imagine an administrator other than me is going to read it (which in some cases, will be true).  This would be a good place to tell her (my dean) just a little bit about you, something about your major, your hopes for the kind of career that college might help you prepare for, and some statement about how you have created this portfolio to demonstrate the kind of work you have done and what you have so far learned about writing in this class.
Keep those goals in mind as you explain what you have done and learned in this class. To organize your response, I have created some categories with specific instructions.  Please look at the pages to the right, beginning with "Attendance."
Works Cited
Elliot, Norbert. (2005).  On a Scale: A Social History of Writing Assessment in America. New York: Peter Lang.

Attendance
Just include some note about your attendance both for the face-to-face and online sessions. You'll probably be able to amend what you wrote in your mid-quarter evaluation. Most of you have been here every day and participated in all online sessions. I am going to add my own perspective: success often depends on being there. In this course, I emphasized community: we show up, you show up.

Yourself as a Writer
What did you think of yourself as a writer when you came into the class?  What do you think of yourself as a writer now--and your relationship to writing? I know that the move from our largely personal writing (like our inventory of who we are as writers) to the 4th academic essay on education and the formation of identity introduced some difficulties in this relationship. You might want to include in this discussion some reflection on the kinds of writing you/we like to do and the kinds we sometimes have to perform in our academic and professional environments.

Class Journals
Just give me a little advice on class journals. They are the way I keep in touch with you.

Compendium
After you have followed the directions for collecting all that you have written, come back up to the top of this page and write just a little bit about what you think about the writing you have done in here.
I would like to have this reflection be at the top of the compendium :).

First collect your initial post to one of the writing tasks, and underneath that, all the posts you made in response to what others had written. 
Note: Here’s the easy way to collect your response on any forum:
Go to the Forum and click on the top box on the left (Thread Actions/Date)
That should put a check mark on all threads.
Click on “Collect” (to the right of “Thread Actions”)
Then Sort by “Author’s Last Name.” All your responses will be grouped.
Repeat that for each of the writing tasks we did.

It should look something like this:
Post for:  Inventory of Writing Experiences
Responses to others: 
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
......(that means and so on)
Post for:  Subjective School Experiences
Responses to others: 
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
...
Post for:  Responses to "Correctness"
Responses to others: 
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 ....
Post for:  Responses to Anyon
Responses to others: 
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 ....
Post for:  Responses to Tate
Responses to others:
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 ....
Post for:  Inventory of Research Experiences
No Responses
Post for: Third Essay on Educational Experiences
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 ....
Post for: Writing our 3rd essay on Education and Identity Formation
No responses
Post for: Reading and Being Read—3rd Essay
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 ....
Post for Next Essay Topic: Outline
No responses

Post for 4th Essay
Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 ....

Post for: Writing the 4th Essay (We didn’t have time for responses here, but a few of you responded to each other).
 Response 1
Response 2
Response 3
Response 4
 .... 
Ok: I think I pretty much have all the major work we did in here. Email me if there’s something I missed.

Notes You Have Taken
In this section, paste any notes you have taken from others and that you have gleaned from your research on the Internet--important notes about the relationship between our educational experiences and who we are, what we think of ourselves, our relationship to learning, and perhaps to our society. I will be interested in which excerpts you thought were important.

Analysis of Writing
Please post a paragraph or two of
  1. What you wrote in response to Subjective School Experiences
  2. 4th Essay
Then give me about 30 minutes in which you think and write about the similarities and differences here regarding you as a writer (as you are revealed in these different kinds of writing tasks).  You might consider differences/similarities in your voice, your attitude toward the writing task, your attitudes toward who your readers might be, whether it’s fake or real writing. I’m very interested in your analysis here of who you are as a writer and how you met these different writing tasks.

Favorite Thing You Have Written in Here

In this section, just post the favorite thing you have written in our class--This could be one of the essays, a response you have written to other, to one of our readings, an inventory--anything.  And tell us why you picked this one.


Goals of the Course

1. To investigate research—and the theory of research
2. To improve our clarity and fluency—fluency in the sense of writing easily and the flow of writing
3. To improve style, grammar, and punctuation
4. To improve our integration and evaluation of information
5. To explore the links between rhetorical situation and when claims need to be supported by evidence, and warrants
6. To explore the connection between writing and audience
7. To encourage a positive attitude toward writing
I realize that we have explored some of these goals more deeply than others (and some explorations have been tacit, some overt). But tell me what you may have learned about each of these goals--and how well we succeeded as a class in exploring them.
Note: by "rhetorical situation," we generally mean the writing situation: the demand for writing (why is this thing being done in the first place), the writer's relationship to the subject, the reader's relationship to the subject, the writer's relationship to the reader(s), the reader(s) relationship to the writer--thinks like that.
Regarding 5: The relationship between claims and evidence are probably obvious.  I know we haven't covered "warrants." They refer to the logic that ties evidence to claims--why is this evidence for the claim? You might claim that the sun goes around the earth (claim). As evidence, you could cite that's what I see everyday.  Your warrant would be, because I see a phenomenon, that's what it is.  (You are of course leaving out knowledge of limited perspective, the position from which you "see" something, relegating you to the category of "flatlander.")
Similarly, as I have noted: You could claim that the United States is the best country to live in.  You evidence is that everyone you know says that. Your warrant is that if everyone you know says something, then it is true--relegating you again to the category of a flatlander.






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