Thursday, December 11, 2014

The shock for entering college students

 Stanly Fish a writer for the New York Times wrote a column discussing the problems in English curriculum in grade school. Many students entering college have little to no background in writing essays. You would think a student with 13 years of public education would have so level of skill in terms of writing an essay. Stanly argues that this problem going down to how teaching curriculums are formed and a students living environment. Many schools are already struggling financially have to educate millions of students on how be prepared to write in college. Reading novel and doing creative writing could be a possible alternative to the poor educational system in America but this is generally not the most entertaining activity for most students. Children at that age often would choose to be entertained than learn. Many teachers lack of motivation do not inspire kids on the values of learning. With that students need to show a level of effort to show that they want to become successful entering college.

I generally agree with Fish’s points made to improve the learning environment of schools. Fish really explains this by stating, “But what about just doing a lot of reading and hoping that by passing your eyes over pages you learn how to write through osmosis?” This is all true in a sense however there is more of an issue. For many of the students I have come across during my time at the writer’s at The Ohio State University at Newark do not have an issue in terms of preparation but how to utilize their resources from the major life change coming to college. Entering freshman that I have met are not somehow completely lazy people and do not want to do any work. Going to college is an

exciting thing for these students and want to learn and experience new things. Going into college however is a big change. Many students seem have feelings of shock. Compared to the small environment of high school and how big college can seem to be to these students it can be scary. These fears then could lead to not using tools given to students that college provide like tutoring sessions or lab group study sessions. This all could then culminate for a student to do poorly in whatever particular writing class they are in. This could even be a bigger shock for foreign minorities or lower income people. Coming from a different country or a small town and entering a big university can bit overwhelming for these students. Vicki Madden in her New York Times column stated, “Kids at the most selective colleges often struggle academically, but they are capable of doing the work. The real key is whether they feel comfortable going to professors to ask for help or teaming up with other students in study groups and to manage the workload.”

So how should these problem be fix to help better a college freshman’s early academic career? Students show first speak out on these issues for help. Many students often hide these feeling do to embarrassment or pride. College admissions consolers should address these issues to students wanting to enter their university. Parents should also help students out in these situations. Many feel that since your child is 18 they can bare these problems on their own. Instead parents’ guide their kids so that once they are ready can work on their own.

" Fishing For The Right One ":Finding Good Sources

College teacher get frustrated when student arent prepared
In thearticle “what should college teach part 3” Stanley Fish talks about what college need to teach. Prior to his experience he had with past college students. He discussed that middle and high school teachers don't teach student the basic skills of writing that need to be learn before entering college composition classes. Which leads to college professors to take the whole load.

Fish argued that letting student use their own style and pattern is not good. Fish stated “You’re not going to be able to change the world if you are not equipped with the tools that speak to its present conditions.”  He means that if you not equipped with the modern style you’re not going far and your always going to be one step behind.

 The main point fish makes is that college composition should teach the structure of sentence. He thinks that is the most important thing that should be taught in first year. He made a lot good point of why college should teach sentence structure in the article “what should college teach part 3”. But i have to disagree with Fish prior to my experience in the Ohio State Newark writing studio. For eight weeks i was observing first year students in college get help in the writing studio. Prior to those observation I found out that most of the students had trouble with finding good and reliable sources. I watched multiple students fishing for good sources. And every time they went to the internet to fish for sources they struggled or came out empty handed.

 In the writing studio they only get one hour of tutoring and half of the time they use the time to find sources and, when they do find a good sources the time is over. So I think that college composition classes should focus on teaching how to find good sources.  They should teach student which website are reliable to use and which websites are not reliable to use.  So students can spend more time writing their paper and least time worrying about finding sources.  Anybody can write a sentence Mr. Fish. I agree with you on that one having a good sentence structure is important but, it more than that. The real question is can you write a sentences that is reliable and that can relate to your paper. If you have a good sentence structure but it doesn’t relate to your topic or if it’s not reliable it not going to do you whole a lot of good.

By, finding a good sources it can give a lot of information that you can talk about in your paper. Also you don’t have to worry about false information. Even, Harvard thinks that sources are important. They stated “When you use sources in academic writing, you engage in a conversation with scholars whose work you have been asked to read, analyze, or discuss in your courses.”   A good source gives you a reliable information that is related to your topic.  A good source can turn your little small sentences into a full blown essay paper.  Evermore, it’s the 21 century nobody uses books for sources anymore everything is online.   So for the future composition classes I highly suggest every college to teach how to use sources.

Many student are using online sources than book sources

Fishing for Success

As Stanley Fish makes his argument on why college students are not advanced or as "ready" for being able to write in a college atmosphere, he refers to many different ideas as he make a claim. In the beginning, he claims that middle and high school courses may be a problem. He connects this to his question as to why college professors have to pick up the slack and basic "teach the obvious knowledge" to a college freshman. This then leads to the overall question, “What should first year college writing classes be teaching?”

In a freshman English course, reading can be the most important parts aquiring to writing a paper.

 Referring back to Fish, I don’t think it is entirely the prior education fault.  Every student is different and learns a different way so I think each person may take a different approach to the subject.  I do think though that in secondary education, the English teachers should bring the students up to par on what to except as they leave for higher education. Having been in and taking a freshman- level English course, I have been lead back to an overall theme at hand, which is “an argument” or what I have learned as “they say, I say”. Referring to the topic on what exactly a college class should teach, I can elaborate on what Fish is trying to say. In my experience in a college writing studio and sitting in on tutoring sessions for research, there has been many new topics and strategies that I can further use in moving on in my college career. It is not entirely about the format or stage of the writing, it is about the point that you are trying to get across to the reader or what the reader is going to take away from the paper.

Sometimes your overall idea of a paper may not be to argue with your reader, but to convince them that what you say is true and can affect their view. I think that in a first level college class, you should be first starting out learning on how to develop a paper or piece of writing that someone can either question or agree with, then being able to expand on that chosen topic. The goal should be how to become an overall good writer. Going back to the they say/ I say topic, I have been adding this into my writing. I can say and write what I think, but at the same time, comparing it to another piece. And when you can use this, it then develops into the argument. (to read more on this topic, refer to pages 3-4 in the chapter)

I can see where Fish is trying to go with his point but, there can be a counterexample for each one he is writing about. Some I can agree with and some I cannot. There was one quote in particular that did stand out. He claims that, “you’re not going to be able to change the world if you are not equipped with the tools that speak to its present condition.” This kind of defines what a freshman class should teach. You are learning and developing your tools to move ahead in your education. If you only use the tools you have had for a long time and not bring in the new ones, your style will be plain. Adding in the tools to make an argument or how to contrast with the writer of another source will expand your abilities and make your writings successful.

This fish obviously had a successful paper.

Why Fish Follows "Carp" Diem

As we all know, nothing, even physics is not eternally set in stone; nothing that we know of makes an exception to the universal rule. We all the that the only consistent idea we can truly count on is the idea of change. A professor see's through his many years of both teaching and learning that their job is consistently changing. We cannot find anything concrete, not even our own continents. We find Stanley Fish attempt the impossible in section "What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3" from The New York Times.

Something that seems concrete
In the lime light his main point is that the student should not be held to a standard of the way they speak. Fish believes we cannot stand by and watch this as in the long run will impact their lives. I do agree with him that they should not encourage college students to better them selves and get to a higher form of writing. in this unique writing if they should not encourage college students in this unique writing class. However, I do feel it is important to note that I do not believe should not have an impact on the grade a student receives. A student should be able to learn from their mistakes if they are actually engaged in the class. To be honest I do not think a set high ground should necessarily be set. Creativeness is some what rare theses days and should be rewarded versus the teacher miss understanding and failing the student.
Final Boss similar to putting together your final project.

Another main point Fish makes is about sentence structure; he notes that it is also an important part to understanding a writer. Since schools have failed to teach such basic writing skills as this colleges must then fill the void that has been created. His intentions are to give professors on the limitless range of education they may be required to give a particular incoming class. 

The professors, unfortunately need to teach basics first if the students do not yet have a full grasp on it.Once their education is to the right criteria I believe they should work towards furthering a student writers ability. they may actually even begin to teach during my observations, in the writers studio for my English 1109 class, help ones sentence structure and will allow for the way you speak to ensure you are getting the point across. It could be that prewriting (from what I saw in the writing studio) is the universal objective that that would lead to better overall writing. Through a student's ability to prewrite we can easily address the level that they are currently at. This ability may allow for us to make drastic changes, such that an earthquake does, to go from our own words of prewriting to a more formal understanding version as the final project comes together.

Unfortunately prewriting cannot make-up for everything that primary schools have failed at. Of course nothing, not even prewriting, can ensure that everyone's writing ability will prosper. However, it does nearly guarantee that the flow of the paper will be smooth. As I saw in my observations structure is important to any piece of writing. Fish also makes a note of this in his article but, his is to a much smaller scale. He believes that we need to focus on the structure of sentences rather than what I was pertaining to; the order of sentences and paragraphs as a whole.
World Turning.

So as the light upon our forever moving continent  we see that it is not the only object of the universe that it is consistently changing. though it does seem it is good to have a standard for writing it is also just as important to understand that everyone need not be held to these standards. I believe Fish has some very well addressed thoughts and concerns; however it seems he is not looking from any point of view but his own. So I say we cannot have a universal standard, for every situation in life is different considering individual situations may be different then their piers.This is why Fish I say fish follows Carpe Diem; He and I both agree we must do with what we are given and bring students to a potential that is of common understanding.

Fishing Fish

For my current English class in the Ohio State University I was required to read the article "What Shoul Colleges Teach?" by Stanley Fish. In the article he talked about how there is debate over whether writing classes should allow students to write their papers in their own English dialect or if they should be required to do them in proper English. Mr. Fish argued how proper English is more respected and more universal among the professional world. After reading this I do find I agree with this thought there are a lot of places where proper English is extremely important to your career and not a lot where less formal dialects are important.

I feel that college is meant to educate people and prepare them for the professional world. For colleges to do that it means that a lot of colleges will require you to take general education classes such as history, mathematics, and for this topic English. English classes I feel needs to teach you a professional dialect that is respected in the professional world and a dialect that is more universally understood by English speakers and writers. Unfortunately for a lot of people that means they have to learn proper English and for a lot of people that is not their native English dialect. This can be for many reasons such as they have just learned English and don’t know all the proper rules or the high school they went to was not very effective at teaching it.

In the professional world it is very important to appear as educated as possible and sadly a lot of dialects for English are not viewed this way. A lot of the different dialects for the English language can often come across as lazy and unprofessional and, this could cost one a potential job or to not be well respected among your peers. For example if you were to submit an article to an academic database that was riddled with slang terms and phrases that aren’t proper English it can appear that you were too lazy to learn proper English and thus hurt your credibility as someone who dose research for those databases both among the people who review and put it up and the students who would read it looking for information to use on whatever assignment they had. This is just one example of how proper English can make one look professional and how informal English can make one look unprofessional.
Slang offten makes you look
like this to potenal emplyers
Dielects very from place to place meaning that some words have different meanings. If you are the kind that travels to English speaking areas or communicates with English speakers and writers all over the world it is also very important you learn proper English. This is due to the fact that a lot of dialects are not very accessible to those who don’t know them. Proper English is more universal in the world people who speak and write English can understand something that is written and spoken in proper English. However if you are traveling and you ask for something in your own slang term from your home area then the person you are asking would likely give you a blank stare. Another example could be if a writer for a nationwide newspaper or a writer for really anything that will be seen by English speakers and readers around the world was to use their local English dialect then likely a large number of the readers will be confused over what the writer was trying to say or could even completely misinterpret the message the article was trying to deliver. 
You don't want your reader to look like this. Do you?

I really hope that this argument helped you see my point of view even if you don’t agree with it. I can understand why people would feel that colleges need to pick up the slack from others but I feel that it happens enough that it is unavoidable. I really do see the value of learning proper English in college to help prepare for the professional world. For without proper English a lot of professionals can come across as unprofessional or unintelligible. I want to thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you were able to take something from this

Yes Fishy, You're Right... But You're Missing Something

In a New York Times article, titled “What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3,” the author, Stanley Fish, argues a claim that colleges need to focus on teaching students sentences structure because he believes and has noticed that those [students] coming from traditional high schools lack the ability to put together good sentences. He also claims that colleges need to get away from allowing students to write in their own language. Fish believes that allowing students to write in their own language will only hurt them in the future when the student will have to write in an educated, scholarly manor.

I agree with Fish’s claim that students should not write in their own language, if a student gets a job that revolves around communication between co-workers, the student will not be able to use their own language without risking their employment status. I can also agree with the second claim that student’s should be taught sentence structure. I know a couple friends who struggle putting together sentences. In fact, they’ve always struggled with sentences and it causes problems when writing essays, which of course hurt their grade. Now teaching sentence structure and stopping students from using their own language are a good places to start teaching but it is my belief that colleges should also teach students how to build arguments.

In college, it seems like students spend more time arguing claims than doing anything else. Therefore, students should be taught the correct way to build their arguments.
In this photo, from Thoughtful Learning's blog, every step to 
building an argument is laid out.
You may ask, "How have you come up with your claim?" Well, I've spent weeks of studying in multiple English 1109 classes, taught by Derek Boczkowski, and I've also sat in on tutoring sessions at the Ohio State University at Newark Writer's Studio. During these weeks, I've learned that there are three key parts to building an argument that should be taught: (1) informing oneself in order to make a claim, (2) supporting the presented claim, and (3) sell the claim to the reader to make them agree with the claim presented.

Arguments are made to further a conversation. A conversation cannot begin without a claim. A claim cannot not be made without information. Students must do research into a topic to make a claim, whether it is from word of mouth or from studies. It is the only way a claim and conversation can start. After a claim is formed and presented, students must support that claim with evidence to why their claim is true.

Supporting a claim is probably the second most, if not the first, important step to arguing. Backing a claim makes readers believe that the author of a piece has done their research and understands what they are talking about. The reader thinks this because supporting claims involves bringing in secondary voices (of course these secondary voices should only agree with the presented claim) which one can only find through research. After supporting the claim, the last step is to get the reader to believe why the claim is correct.

The key to an argument is to make others agree with a claim. That is not something that just happens. Authors use rhetorical devices to emphasize certain areas of their claim to get the reader to think a certain way (to learn more about the importance and use of rhetorical devices, see David Hood's blog "Rhetoric and Rhetorical Devices").

The repetition of "We shall" is a rhetorical device used to influence the feeling of patriotism within a country.

If the author fails to lure the reader to agree with their claim or have not made the reader thinking about what was presented, they have failed their purpose and the argument is presented for naught.

Again, I agree with Fish’s claim that students should be taught the proper English language and should be taught how to properly structure a sentence. At the same time, colleges should teach students how to properly form arguments. By having all of these necessary tools in the students’ “back pocket,” I believe that students will be prepared for all challenges that they face in writing. Thing is, these tools must be taught to students in order for them to acquire the ability to use them. Right now, colleges are doing a pretty good job to get by, but just imagine what a college essay would look like if all knew how to use these tools correctly.

What should Teachers before College Teach?

High school teacher helping a student with reading
Writing in general is something that I personally struggled with but I didn’t give up. I believe this day six years ago I was struggling with English its self. Writing is something you have to work for and put in the effort. Through my time trying to learn what writing is all about I sometimes struggled and the reason I struggled is because I didn’t have the experience coming in to college.  Today is the last day of my first semester in college. One thing I can say is that I struggled in coming in but I learned and expected a lot through the help of my English professor. Students coming from high school to college often struggle the most because of the lack of education their instructors provided them.

Stanley fish proved to me that before even coming to college middle and high school instructors should teach the proper writing skills.
Stanley fish stated in his post “By all evidence high schools and middle schools are not teaching writing skills in an effective way, if they are teaching them at all”. This absolutely true not just by agreeing with him but experiencing this through my time in middle school and high school. Literally in high school it was just basically writing something simple or reading something simple. We never focused on terms like research and thesis statement I mean we had to have it in the paper but we never actually experienced what it was all about. Also stated in Stanley fish “why a failure of secondary education relieves college teachers of a responsibility to make
Tutor session with a student and a teacher
up the deficit”. Now these college instructors have to deal with a handful of kids who aren’t ready or never experienced what they’re about to teach.

When first starting college I took a placement English test and got placed in English 1109. This class was very interesting because it was for kids like us they didn’t get the proper education in high school. The instructor understands our issue. We worked on our writing skills by going to the Ohio State University Newark writing studio and observing other students to get experience and learn by others. This was a very helpful matter because going there I didn’t know many writing skills for example there were students who were struggling to cite a quote or a research and I barely knew how to cite either. After observing so many students I now have a clear understand that citing takes a big impact in your paper and helps back you up and also prevents plagiarism.
Ohio state Placement Test 

So the real question here is what should be taught in a classroom? After all my research and doing the reading about Stanley fish I believe that high school and middle school instructors should prepare their students for the next level and teach them the right writing skills. Instead of just reading random books and writing essays they should provide what writing is all about and also teach them the proper structure it should be in.

According to Stanley Fish “But what about just doing a lot of reading and hoping that by passing your eyes over many pages you will learn how to write through osmosis? I’m not so sure.ording to Stanley fish”. I also tend to agree with this because I honestly remember just reading a whole chapter book in high school and not even knowing the meaning of the book just basically reading it. So at the end of the day it’s not the college instructor’s fault it’s the middle school and high school instructor’s for not preparing their students for the next level or not even caring. Hopefully my work paid off this semester and I feel like I’m ready for the next level.

Fishin or Wishin

O NOO!! You have to do it this way or you will fail!
"What Should Colleges Teach Part 3?" is by Stanley Fish. In Fish's article he is mainly arguing because throughout his observation of college students he has noticed that many students are lacking the basic skills necessary to succeed in a college level paper and beyond. I quote Fish when he states “You’re not going to be able to change the world if you are not equipped with the tools that speak to its present condition.” He basically states that lacking the ability to be able to fluctuate from one style of communication to another would and can lead to a downfall in your career path. The main topic Fish states is that composition classes should focus on sentence structure and being able to arrange them in such a manner in which the reader can still understand them. In fact he is arguing and voicing out his opinion because throughout his observations of college students he does see the lack of basic fundamentals and the inability for students to transition from one style of communication to another.
Just as Fish believes your structuring of sentences is a key to success I also believe that structuring within a paragraphs in a paper is key to success as well. I say that the organization of sentences should be taught in high schools and colleges as well. My study of organization within college level students shows evidence that, as Fish found; some students aren’t able to clearly state what they are trying to convey because they are not organizing their words or the structuring of their sentences. If their sentences or structure of their paragraph isn’t correct it does give off a different meaning.

I observed a student who was working on a paper and formed a thesis but had an issue keeping on topic with their thesis. She felt as if she was wandering off and including unnecessary information within her paper. That little bit of wandering off can lead her thesis to portray a different message then what was intended. The same applies to Fishes idea; if one word in that sentence is changed in any way it can lead to the reader to develop a different meaning to it. Imagine having to get ready to present a subject to a comedic crowd and you organize your paper in a style that is mainly for a business presentation. Organizing your paper in the wrong style can lead to the audience getting a different interpretation, which leads me to my next conclusion.

Simple things like metaphors can change the view of a sentence
and even a paper.
Giving your paper a certain style of organization pertaining the message you are trying to relay can help you in college and beyond. Another example of this is in Dave Barry’s "The Frog Plague" Barry is a comedian and structures his paragraphs in a manner that tells a story but also gives the readers a sense of his goofiness. Barry’s style of writing differs from that of a normal college paper or a
business presentation paper. He begins his paper with a story then starts using metaphors to give the reader a picture to imagine. If you were to organize your paragraphs in such a manner for a business presentation and hope to win a client over then unfortunately you are wrong.

Similes can even change the idea of a sentence.
Every topic has it’s own style and when to use them and transition to either or is really the skill that I believe as well as Fish believes is necessary to success. One last example I can use is within another one of my observation of a student in the OSU Newark Writers Studio. The student I observed had been trying to summarize a poem in his own words and if you don’t know many poems are interpreted differently because of the basic structure of each sentence. The poem specifically was about self-rejection but both the student and teacher who assigned the poem had different views. In other words, as Fish stated “You have to start with a simple but deep understanding of the game, which for my purposes is the game of writing.”

Showing, Not telling!

You should listen to Yoda. He wouldn't steer you wrong .
Stanley Fish wrote an article titled What should colleges teach? Part 3. He made the argument that sentence structure, and knowing how to play the game of sentences is key to becoming a successful, and proper English student. He believes that both high schools and middle schools do not do their part in teaching students what they need to know to properly structure a sentence. This lack of knowledge before students start college makes it harder for the English college teachers because they have to reteach the student all the basics of college writing when instead they should only be expanding on their ability to write better and at a college level. I believe him in some ways, but I also believe that writing is too complex to be broken down to on issue. I believe that, “Showing not telling” is an equally important tool to have in your arsenal.

Use your words to bring your story to life!!
Throughout my first semester of college at Ohio State University Newark Branch, my instructor Derek Boczkowski introduced a term. He called it “Showing, Not Telling.” This term was alien to me, (1) It helps draw your reader in and holds his/her attention,(2) Most college professors would rather you show as much detail as you can(if their assignment requires it)(3) If you show not tell, it also allows you to be able to transport the reader into the world you are trying to create. As Fish stated in his argument about the sentence structure middle/high school teacher do a poor job of teaching students what they need to know.

In my 1109 class we did a group assignment where Derek paired us up into 5 groups and gave us 5 tells and asked each group to transform them into awesome shows.
                                               Tell-The house had vines(Boring right?)
This is what I picture with the tell
This is what you should strive to portray to your reader 
Show-The ramshackle house on the corner of my street was covered in vines, they seem to be strangling the life out of the house, breaking into the very foundation, and crumbling the house to dust(Much better to read right?).  I believe that a good writer should hold the ability to grab a readers attention, causing them to stay on the edge of their seat, never wanting to put down your assignment. I think if you are able to do this then you will succeed in college writing.

Most college instructors(if they require it in your paper) absolutely love it when you show some detail. An example of this in my Sociology Class with Dr. Hennen, we had to write a 4-6 essay about a world when one social aspect had changed in the world. It was towards the beginning of the year, and i did not have much information on showing not telling, so I wrote up my paper, I got the first grade back and was not happy with it. He allowed us to rewrite it, and by the time the revisions were due. I had more information about showing not telling. I turned in the paper. It went from a C to an A, The main revision I did was to use more detail than my previous paper. The link to my first draft is here. And the link to the draft after I revised it is here.

If you are extremely good at showing and not telling, whenever you are writing something creative it allows you to transport your reader into your world, or your words burrow deep into their minds. If you are able to use enough details to send your reader to the world you have created. You have already won the attention of the reader. Over the course of my English 1109 class.

Let the gears turn in your head!
Derek required us to spend one day a week for 8 weeks observing a tutoring session between a student and a tutor of the Writer's Studio. They were going over their 1110.3 classes. I learned some other important keys to college writing. I wrote a paper about how brainstorming is important for college writers. I observed brainstorming in many of the sessions as well as showing and not telling.

I believe that one of the more important tactics that you will learn in college about writing, in my option is to showing and not tell. I think once you can master that. I believe you will find your writing assignments much more interesting and not at hard. If you immerse yourself, and your reader in detail, you will win the hearts and the minds of your reader, as well as your instructor. It allows you to express your assignment using your imagination and creating a world and characters that keep your reader on the edge of their seats

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Never Ending Cycle


Have we lost our way or finally found it"?Is a statement or further more a question, that I believe that all traditional college students ask themselves. Specifically when they receive their first class syllabus, your not 100% sure or not if this new way of learning. Will be a hit or miss for you until you expedience it fully!!  

After spending an hour one day a week in the writers studio ; observing college writers in the process of writing essays. I've came to realize that I wasn't the only one that could relate to fish's statement. During my observations I have observed many times, students receiving their graded work back. With the comments of  a lot of editing errors are lost points because of grammar. 

 Noticing this has gave me the persecution that students aren't : 

High school teachers aren't spending enough time with the basics 
of grammar because.Under the assumption that High School 
students should already have are if not close to, or already have mastered.Theses skills in middle school or previous education.

High School teachers did spend  time with their students on grammar. Not to
the point where they could fully grasp the concept 100% to its full potential.

Fish mentioned in his article."But if I have no problem with alternative ways of teaching literature or history, how can I maintain (with ACTA) that there is only one way to teach writing? Easy. I totally agree with Fish and his statement, yes there should be multiple ways of teaching that is best fit for each classroom body. Especially when it comes to English because there's so much personal work already involved. But at what point does it become detrimental to students ? Is it a lost cause ? Because High School teachers are able to edit and tick what they please with wide guide lanes !    

The Hook

Writing gives new height.
In Dr. Fish’s article, “What should colleges teach? “ he discussed about how colleges should teach more on the posed question  by Patrick Sullivan which is, “ what is college writing”? He went more into detail on how students from high school are taught less effectively by secondary educators with writing skills. They don’t go more in depth and those students in high school come to colleges with the same basic knowledge and repeat it in college which results in failure. That results to failure because if those students are given a certain question presented to them, they wouldn’t fully answer it in a way that the teacher is looking for it to be answered.  Dr. Fish also talked about how those who read well, write well and he touched on sentence structure too. With sentence structure, Dr. Fish stated that organization is important. It plays a role for forming a sentence and with that sentence having a good structure, then every word would flow and not sound confusing because of bad formatting.  

Dr. Fish brought a question regarding high school students and those of earlier education and it was, “isn’t the mastery of forms something that should be taught in high school or earlier”? His argument towards that question was college teachers are left to carry the burden left by secondary educators who couldn't fully teach writing skills in depth. I agree with Dr. Fish’s argument because first year students that come into college don’t know what to expect for writing. There’s so much more than just a five paragraph essay, for example. A cycle is repeated and it takes the college teachers to stop the cycle and fix what has made the first year college students completely lost and confused on what college-level writing is.

I noticed that in a student writer whom I had to observe for eight weeks with his peer writing consultant at the The Writer's Studio for my  English class. The student writer needed guidance in the process of trying to write a paper, but in the start of writing his paper  he still had prior learning of what was taught to him of how writing should be like in a “college-level”. The problem with that was because he wasn't taught more in depth; he only knew very little of what college-level writing should be like. So with the help of his peer writing consultant, he started to get new knowledge and was starting to understand the posed question, “what is college-level writing"?  

When I noticed both the student writer and peer writing consultant working together, I saw a trend that was also occurring. That trend was making connections relating to the student writer’s paper.  In the eight week observations, the student writer and the peer writing consultant were going back and forth with resources that both collected for the paper. Those sources were secondary and primary sources. Each time the student writer was finding more information for his primary source, he found more information towards his secondary source.   That was one connection that was presented. I find this to be relatable to Dr. Fish’s sentence structure importance because of how the sources were worded. Dr. Fish mentioned in his article that a sentence is a structure of logical relationships. They connect with one another. In the case of the student writer’s paper, this happened quite often because both the primary source and secondary source had similar traits and had a relationship with one another due to both having the same information relating to the student writer’s topic.  

Throughout those observations, I started to realize that in college there are connections that are made in a paper. It doesn't it even have to be logical it can be personal too. Making connections is important in college writing because they bring the lost pieces to the puzzle in writing. Connections help with the reading and thinking for college also. They bring an strategy to help the student do better in their writing. 
WHOoo would care to show a connection in writing?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Fishing for the Right Education

“What Should Colleges Teach?” is by Stanley Fish. In Fish’s article he states “I cannot see, however, why a failure of secondary education relieves college teachers of a responsibility to make up the deficit. Quite the reverse. It is because our students come to us unable to write clean English sentences that we are obligated to supply what they did not receive from their previous teachers.” I agree with this statement that college teachers are having to pick up the missing pieces from high school but I feel that more important things could be focused on for preparing us. Something that I feel should be focused on is showing students how to do good research.

After spending 8 weeks in the Writer’s Studio observing a student and a tutor for my English class I have noticed that one of the more important parts of writing was the research that you had to do to find your information and the details to support your topic and also the sources that you use to make your paper more reliable. These items can help to better develop a more knowledgeable paper and find information that is reliable. But, in order to do the research you need there’s a few things that you need to know and that is how to do the research. That is what I believe that students need to be taught in the classroom.

To any student who procrastinates, this is relatable
Students often sit down 12 hours before their paper is due and expect all of their ideas to just come to them without doing any research at all. Well these students seem to have trouble writing about the topic that they are assigned. This could be many things but typically it’s because they don’t know much about the topic they are writing about. Students need to be taught the directions of how to do research.
Let's face it, we don't all have money to blow
The reasons that I believe that students don’t do as much research is because they simply don’t know where to look for the information they need. During one of my tutoring sessions that I observed the student told the tutor that he needed two more sources for his paper. The tutor then showed the student how to order books from the OSUN library for this student to use as a source. By knowing this information you can find these articles easily and best of all for free which is fabulous for every college student trying to save money cause let’s face it college isn’t cheap.

Sometimes after you are sitting down and researching is that there are always so many search results to look through about your topic. What we might ask ourselves though is “How do I look through all of these results?” The best way to narrow down your search results is to use an advanced search because advanced searching will narrow down your search results so you can find articles that are only about what you want to read and learn about.

After you narrow your results down and you find a few that look like they might be worth looking at, what are you going to do? Read all of the articles? No, most college students don’t even have enough time to sit and do the paper until last minute so why would they read articles that could be up to 25 pages long? They don’t. But what do they do to figure out what the article is about? They read the abstract, which will make it quicker to know what the article is about without reading the whole thing because it is a spot on summary of the article.

By observing in these eight week sessions in the writer’s studio I got to experience college writing being done first hand and see the different elements that are needed to develop a well written and reliable college paper. Although we will never know every single thing that is needed for a perfect college paper we can at least know how to at least start to do research to start typing the paper.


As I was going through Middle and High School, I thought that the reading and writing I was being taught, was to prepare me for college level writing.  That was the system for elementary to middle, middle to high school was, boy was I wrong.  College level writing has many expectations from the students, even though the students didn’t learn them where they should have.  Many don’t even know what the expectations are for writing, which isn’t helping our future generation to become successful.

when kids need to learn
Stanley Fish thinks that teaching his students sentence structure will improve the student’s success in writing.   Stanley thought that teaching how to write sentences would be helpful and make a structure for writing.  Stanley said “By all the evidence, high schools and middle schools are not teaching writing skills in an effective way, if they are teaching them at all.”  If students were able to be taught a better way in the younger year’s maybe college writing wouldn’t be so difficult for students.  Stanley Fish has a good point in teaching college students the structure for sentences, which turns many sentences into paragraphs and paragraphs to essay.  I think that adding his idea to a more detailed list would make it more productive in the classroom for college students. 

When I was reading this article, it reminded me of the research paper I wrote on “What is college level writing”.  One part of my research was in the writing studio at OSU Newark, OH, where I observed a couple of students working on their college papers.  I had seen a structure with different types of sentences that makes the introduction structure, the way sentences makes paragraphs, also what types of ways to make sure that all the sentences make sense to flow correctly.  Using these has helped me in writing papers for college, and has helped other students, that maybe didn’t realize it at the time. 

Teaching what type of sentences to write in the introduction helps the student by attracting an audience, helps show what the paper is going to be about, and creates a structure for the rest of the paper.  The first type of sentence is to attract an audience, something interesting, which is called the hook.  There should be a sentence that shows why someone should care to read the paper.  The last sentence show what the whole paper is going to be about, which is called a thesis.  Using this shows what the paper is about, also helps the student have a structure of the paper.  Each paragraph here after is to show or prove what the thesis is, and why. 

funny example of topic sentence

Every paragraph has many sentences that tells about a topic, but if not correctly using the sentences then it doesn’t improve the paper.  With paragraphs the information in them is completely different, but they have a structure that makes them similar.  Teaching this structure of sentences helps improves how the thesis is explained in the rest of the paper, also helps with a layout of how a paragraph can be structure.  The first sentences should show what the topic of that paragraph is going to be about, then add other information that expand that sentence.  Then the last sentence is what helps bring the reader to the next paragraph, which is called the transition sentences.

There is many ways to check your paper to know if the sentences flow correctly, but learning some techniques can improve the structure of the paper.  One technique is using a sentences to see if the paragraphs are in order, you can cut each paragraph out then mix them up.  You then read the topic sentence and the transition sentences of each paragraph, they should go in order by one talking about the last sentence of the paragraph before it.  This can be used in a way that helps by check what the instructor wants.  There is also ways to check the sentence structure inside the paragraph.  It’s almost the same as the other, but cut each sentence in one paragraph at a time.  Then try to put them in order by reading the sentence using the knowledge of the topic and transition sentences.  Another way to help improve the teaching of writing.

Learning how to structure all the sentences is great, and having a book that teaches the students a way to have a structure for writing a sentences itself,   Stanley teaches his students how to write sentences, he said that “my students into the class taught by Cathy Birkenstein and Gerald Graff, whose excellent book “They Say / I Say” introduces students to the forms of argument in a spirit entirely compatible with my focus on the forms of sentences."  That book he talks about is the same book I used in my English class, it has many different ways to write certain sentences that help them sound proper.  It has templates, pointing words, and more, that has shown you the way to write and how to use words that goes best with your topic, which has helped many students.

Responding in kind; Analyze

Stanley Fisher is a literary theorist and professor at the Cardozo law school. His argument he poses in his article, what should Colleges teach? Part 3, is that students should learn how to write academically very early, earlier than college or high school. He also states that the key to any good writer is a good reader. He argues that the amount of teaching previous teachers bear down upon college professors is too much. And those college professors shouldn’t be responsible for teaching students how to write.

Teachers need not be overstressed!
During my time in English 1109 this semester with Mr. Boezkowski, I spent 8 weeks in an observational setting at the OSU NewarkWriters Studio. In these observations I was able to better understand the things college writers focus on when writing. I noted that the ability to analyze properly while using clear academic voice is the most important tool in writing at the college level. I used this research as evidence as support in my claims.

Prose, or academic voice, is very important to a college writer’s arsenal of tools for success. A writer can ruin an entire academic paper by simply using too casual of a voice for the setting in which he or she is writing. The voice the reader hears while reading can also help to engage them further into the written piece. It can also do the exact opposite and bore them to the point where they will not even listen, or recognize the key parts of the piece. You must find the healthy medium between using interesting details and academic knowledge at the same time in your writing.

Finding the delicate balance of academic and engaging writing

I agree with Dr. Fisher in his regards to the importance of academic voice in writing; however he states that, how to write a sentence is ALL you need. There is a fundamental flaw in this though; college writing is much more than just knowing how to write coherent and intelligent sentences. Success is achieved by yes, an attention to academic voice but also, maybe even more importantly, have an ability to analyze a source clearly and effectively in relation to your argument. College students must be able to master the art of thinking, before they can write a halfway decent academic paper, if all teachers focus on is sentence structure, the students writing will never mature into academic writers. The Ability to analyze means to “Process as a method of studying the nature of something or of determining its essential features and their relations” Students need to understand how to determine relationships and essential features the artist uses to try and get his point across in any given work.

Stanley Fish bring up some interesting points about early education and sentence structure but in my opinion I think there is a little more to college writing than that. Students need to come to college with a clear knowledge of how to not only write a proper sentence but also the ability to reinforce that sentence with accurate evidence and academic knowledge from the text.

Fishing & Reading

Kids happily reading
“What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3” written by Stanley Fish is an article talking about writing in college. He posed a question asking about should writing be taught long before students get to high school or even earlier on in middle school. He states “By all the evidence, high schools and middle schools are not teaching writing skills in an effective way.” This is kind of true now because I wasn't really prepared for writing in college while in high school. They only taught us basic things that don’t really have to do with college. He also asked another question regarding if reading should be the key to learning how to write?  

I really liked the part where Fish said writing should start out in middle and high school. That’s so true because I feel like in high school they are not preparing us for College writing at all. It’s hard when you come to college thinking that you are ready and all when you are not. High school teachers are leaving all the work to College professors. All 4 years of high school should be preparing us for college writing, so when we do get to college we have an idea of what we are getting into. It shouldn't be when we get to college then we start learning basic things that should’ve been taught in high school or middle school. It actually slows us down and now we haven’t really learned anything useful that we could bring with us to college.

I also agree with Fish when he said that students need to learn how to read from a young age. Reading and writing go hand in hand and that’s where I have a problem. I don’t really read books all like that and I only read when I have to. I think that’s where I struggle with writing, if I was to read more I think I would love writing more and have more to talk about. I did an eight-week observation on a one-on-one tutor and student session and it has opened my eyes a lot on college writing. I noticed that every time my student Jenna would come in she would have all these sources she was reading from and it helped her expand her paper a lot. Fish said that the relationship of reading and writing is very important, and I actually seen the difference if you do read you get better at writing or at least you know what to write about.

Lisa from the Simpsons
Those are important for college writing but I think the main thing is a thesis statement. Thesis statement is the make or break of your paper. If your thesis is not strong your paper is not strong either. The thesis is what’s supposed to catch the reader’s eye and state what you are going to be talking about throughout your paper. A lot of students have a problem with the thesis because I think it’s the hardest part of the paper. Jenna had a hard time with her thesis, and the PWC helped her work on it and told her think of it as “A change B because of C” and that’s how she looked at the layout of the thesis.

Overall I have to agree with what Fish says in his essay but he needs to add thesis to his claims. It’s the most important thing that you need for a paper besides sentence structure and learning how to write since middle or high school. He figured out the little things that college writing needs but he didn't talk about the most important one of them all.