Thursday, December 17, 2015

Talking Fish

A picture of talking fish relating to my title.
Stanley Fish writes an article about what first year college writing classes should teach. He believes that it should be a narrowly focused class whose sole purpose is to teach how to create proper sentences. Be that as it may, I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I do agree that focus on how to properly create sentences can really strengthen a persons writing. But on the other hand I'm not so sure that sentences are the only thing that strengthens ones writing. Personally I believe there are many things that go into creating a great paper, however, the most important concept is that of organization. Organization is key to the success of a paper because it allows for fluidity and structure with in your writing, it creates a focus on your claim, as well as having well-structured and placed sentences that properly build on to one’s paper. Now Fish states that a lot of writing skills should be covered in high school but aren't. I disagree I think that for the most part high schools are doing a good job teaching the basics to writing skills; but that's just it they just teach the basics. So I believe that teachers should spend more time on teaching students on the specifics of organization within each persons writing.

First off, being able to create good sentences is important to know how to do but you also need to be ale to move between them so that they flow well together by organizing your information. When creating a paper, or any type of writing really, it is important that you transition between sentences in order to keep the attention of your reader. Because if what you are saying does not line up with each other it can confuse your reader and force them to think harder upon the meaning of your work is.

Second, it doesn't matter how well written your sentences are if they don't relate to the topic on hand. If all of your information does not relate back to your thesis, then there is no point in even writing it in the first place.

And finally, structuring your paper well and placing your information well is probably the most important aspect to organization. If you jump around in your writing your reader will get lost in whatever your trying to get across and lose interest in reading your work. You should structure your information in a way that is recognizable and makes sense such as an introduction, body, and conclusion.

Photo of a faucet explained in paragraph 5.
The photo to the right represents the organization of a paper. Similar to this faucet a paper has several parts to it. This faucet has several knobs to it and must be turned on correctly in the right order to allow for the water to flow through; much like how a paper has many points to it and they must be well written and put in the right order to create a flow throughout your paper.

So saying that sentences are the only thing that first year writing college professors should teach is definitely not the way to go. There is so much more to writing than just well written sentences. Now is that important, sure it is but there is so much more to learn that is all so important that focusing an entire semester on just sentences is just wasteful.

Why is Fish right?

Reading this article “What Should College Teach? Part 3” I realized that I wasn’t the only one who saw something wrong with the way education was being taught now a days. “High schools and middle schools are not teaching writing skills in an effective way” As Stanley Fish said, this is true because what happens most of the time is students aren’t shown what to do and what steps they should take. It effects students a lot because they won’t know how to write great papers and the most important part is, being taught how to write excellent papers or get a clear understanding on what writing is.

Why is the professor saying
While in college I got a great opportunity to go get extra help and ask questions at The Ohio State University Writing Studio, This resource helped a lot thru English. This is a place where you go when needed extra help or when you didn’t get a full understanding in class and need to ask someone more questions on the topics. Resources like this is needed in high school too. When your teacher examples something and you don’t understanding who would you turn to? This is why something like this would help a lot.

 “A well-organized piece of writing supports readers by making it easy for them to follow, while a poorly organized piece leads readers through a maze of confusion and confounded or unmet expectations” as Kathleen Cali said in her article Learn NC, Organization is key and very important when it comes to writing. You want to make sure your reader continues reading and get a full understanding.

How it feels when reading a paper that's not organized
Coming to college I’ve learned that my writing skills are horrible because I didn’t get a full understanding on writing. In high school we were given an example of the assignment and were told to have our paper look “somewhat” like that. In college, there’s no examples and you have to figure it out on your own. On top of that you also have to know how to give credit to someone and make sure your quoting other people correctly.

You also have to “Show Not Tell” as my professor would say, give your audience a picture of what you’re talking about. Get deep into detail and “show” as much as possible. Sounds easy but it’s not at all.

Back in middle school and high school we’re not taught how to write citation’s or know how to quote a quote correctly and so on. If we don’t know the basics than how are we going to be successful in college?

I think it’s very important for teachers to lay out what exactly they want from us in our writing and give us a full understand on what “writing” is. For them to take time and help us through it.
Personally I haven’t learned too much in my teen years how to write exactly. I’ve had many projects, essays and papers where teachers have told us what they want from me and other students. But the whole aspect of how to do it was always missing which I believe is key to success to having a well written paper.

As well as the whole idea that professor Boczkowski taught in class which is showing not telling. That idea is something that students need to learn how to do before coming into college.

 Also, I think clarity is a problem that affects so many students. Professors assume you already have a full understanding on everything that has to do with their subject that their teaching, so the fact that they don’t have clarity in everything they do becomes harder for the students. Since college is so fast paced it’s hard to fully understand some things. 

 It’s so important to really have a deep understanding of what we students are supposed to do. It can’t be stressed enough for teachers that clarifying for students whatever they want from them is important.

 A key worry of teachers should be if their students fully understand what they are being asked to do/ being taught. That is the best way for teachers to get the best out of students, if they teach everything as clear as possible. I think if it is in the teacher’s best interest for the students to succeed or do their best then being as clear as they can is so important and always making sure their students paper are college worthy.  

Fish Out of Water By Bobby Spring

An English teacher's job in high school is to prepare a student for writing at a college level. If they are doing that much that, is up for the professor to decide. Stanley Fish says "the most important thing to learn is sentence structure." Sentence structure is not the most important thing to writing I don't think that people should go back and learn proper sentence structures because it is a skill college students should already know. I think college teachers should prioritize teaching how secondary sources should be used in college writing, how to tell if it is a secondary source, and how to properly cite them.

I have done a lot of research on secondary sources and how they are used. I've ask peer writing consultants and college professors about secondary sources. I've also done a survey and an extended definition and gone though multiple lengths to do research on them. The college library of Illinois says,"A secondary source is someone that didn't experience the event firsthand ." This means that they heard about it or read about someone has experienced it first hand and knows enough information to be considered an expert.

I believe secondary sources should be taught in the classroom because going into college I didn't know the difference between sources. Secondary sources can be used in college writing to find information from a primary source would analyzed by a professional and restated for a better understanding of whats going on in the primary source. Secondary sources are mostly used for a research paper on specific topic

This is a secondary source in itself
When reading though research and trying to tell whether or not it is a secondary source or primary source, There are a few big things to look at. The first thing you should look for is there citations. If it is a secondary source, it will cite where they got there information from, which would be the secondary source. This is helpful because if you read though the secondary source and decide you want read where they got there information from and read it yourself you can. Other ways to find out if the document you are reading is a secondary source is by looking at the date, time, and names.

teachers when they get freshman in college
The final thing teachers should teach about secondary sources is how to cite them. Citing is very important to writing in college, but it isn't that important in high school because most people don't think much of high school writing, but when you write in college, if you miss cite something you could get kicked out of the college. The easiest way that I have found how to cite all sources is by using Easybib gives you a place you fill in all the information you need and gives you the citation already in MLA format all you have to do is copy and paste it in your bibliography.

As you can see secondary sources are very important to writing in college. Sentence structure shouldn't be thought at a college level. Instead, they should be teaching things that should be used at a college level like secondary sources. If they started teaching them at a college level early on, I'm sure student's grades would increase dramatically because it will help them with their research, not only in English, but in many other classes where students will need to write a research paper. It is also not a skill only needed in school because you will be doing research and writing papers of sorts for the rest of your life, so this could also be considered a life
long skill.

When you fish for reading, spelling and writing. What really happens ?

In "What Should Colleges Teach?" part 3, author and professor, Stanley Fish describes the relationship between reading and writing in terms of skills learned from one another. He first makes his claim in saying that middle school and high school English classes are not very effective at teaching students how to write . He then goes on to mention that writing skills can be improved through extensive reading, which I agree with.
There are books for everything
English is one of the most spoken languages in the whole world, without a doubt one of the most evolved languages there is. However, despite it being so widely spoken, college professors find students still struggling with forming clear and complete English in their writing. This is because the mastery of forms is something that is not emphasized enough in middle school and high school. In college, English professors, more than often, find themselves having to teach students material they were expected to have learned in high school and sometimes even middle school. This causes an increase in workload as educators have more to teach, and scholars have more assignments to complete and information to learn. This can prove to be very stressful for both parties, but what else is there to do when alternatives are pretty much nonexistent?
Does reading really help with writing? 
On the other hand, I do agree with the the thought that extensive reading could be the key to learning how to write. (Primarily due to the fact that the works being read are written with proper grammar, spelling etc.) Through repetition, students will familiarize themself with the relationships and patterns of words in sentences, as well as gain a better understanding of sentence structure. This could help improve students creative writing skills, one of those skills could be pre-writing or free-writing the work they are doing and also revising their work before turning it in. Through observation and feedback, students can expand their understanding of the English language as well as learning how to write. Not to just write how they used to write it before college but to write it correctly like a college student. After all, we learned how to walk by watching others and later practicing ourselves until we finally took our first steps. Same as anything else in our daily lives.

Others might argue against this,and say that high school students should have already learned everything and should be able to write as they speak in college. However, some argue that colleges should allow the students to write how they write, since they know some slang.
“If we teach standardized, handbook grammar as if it is the only ‘correct’ form of grammar, we are teaching in cooperation with a discriminatory power system” (Patricia A. Dunn and Kenneth Lindblom, English Journal, January, 2003). True as this statement may be, it fails to recognize that English is a language used for communication. By "correcting" someone's English, we are not discriminating against them, instead, we are trying to teach them how to use it correctly. This is also done to improve their writing skills which will not only helps with communication overall, but also in important English assignments where students are graded on how well they are able to write a paper.

The teaching  methods described  in What Should Colleges Teach? seem very interesting, especially  asking students to turn a three-word sentence such as “Jane likes cake” into a 100-word sentence without losing control of the basic structure and then explain, word-by-word, what they did. Another technique discussed was dividing the class into groups of four or five and asking each group to create its own language complete with a lexicon, and a grammar capable of conveying the distinctions (of number, tense, mood, etc.) conveyed by English  grammatical forms. And at the end of the semester each presents a text in its language and teaches the class how to translate it to English and how to translate English sentences into the new language created by the group. These all seem like great ways to improve writing skill, as well as keep students engaged in what  they are learning. But as to answer the the  question, "What should colleges teach?" , I believe  they should teach students  whatever  they may not know and to help them with anything  they don't quite  understand, as everyone learns at a different pace from one another. With that students will be well prepared in college when it comes to writing. Also when you fish for reading,writing, and spelling we all become better at the English language.

Think before you fish.

Why is thinking like fishing?
 In Stanley Fish's controversy article "What should colleges teach? Part 3", the topic of how college level students should be taught sentence structure in college is something he focuses highly on,but who has time for that? I on the other hand agree with his article, but find that more practical ways of teaching students could be taught in different ways.

Going to high school I was never taught the importance of sentence structure.On the contrary, my mother was taught sentence structure and found it useful.Having to learned better sentence structure would make writing much easier for students such as myself .For I tend to make run on sentences and not focus on the main parts. To fix this is easier said then done. I felt once I came to college that I was ill-prepared and didn't understand how to put sentences together. I do think however that we as students going into college should be taught how to organize our papers and work on putting two and two together:synthesizing.

Learning to synthesize is very difficult to some including myself. I find that synthesizing actually has me putting two topics together and digging deeper into my studies then I ever had to. That's one thing that I wasn't taught in high school that I have learned in my first semester in college. In a way I feel that Stanley Fish is right when he quotes at the end of his article "Amen" to a quote brought beautifully together by Lynn Sams when she states that "the ability to analyze sentences, to understand how the parts work together to convey desired meaning,emphasis, and effect is...central to the writing process."  (“How to Teach Grammar, Analytical Thinking and Writing; A Method that Works,” English Journal, January, 2003).

In one of the papers I wrote in college I described  how it is important for one to find meaningful patterns in the things they will research..I came up with this idea from article written by L. Lennie Irvin.I emphasized that there is no importance to pick up an article or bring one up on the internet to read and not find something intriguing about it. Therefore, I would like to know if you ever think about how you organize your papers, do you ever structure your thoughts, or do you concentrate on sentence structures when looking at articles.

 Fish brings out a valid point by saying "putting a simple sentence on the table" he then tells us that he works on this simple sentence for a week.We as students can do the same in our work by reading  these sentences, understanding them and making them extraordinary by polishing and evolving them. Therefore the art of sentence structure isn't pointless but rather a more organized piece of time teaching us to better understand the specificity of sentence structure.

I do however argue on the other hand that a semester of college should not be spent talking all about sentence structure. I feel that in the first semester of college professors should focus on how students think critically and solve problems. How are students able to bring new ideas to the table and how they can better improve those ideas.Sentence structure of course plays a key role in how creative we can be in our papers and still teaching how to organize our papers too.
How fishing is similar to critical thinking and sentence structure.

When I think of sentence structure I think of thinking how to fish. For expert fishers they don't have to think about all the steps they have got to take to cast that perfect line, they already know from previous knowledge, so they cast they're line. For us beginners we have to think, where do I want to cast, how far out do I cast, what bait do i use, and how long do i wait. With no experience we''ll ask ourselves these questions. With experience we will be able to answer these questions quicker and with more creative responses. Much the same as sentence structure and asking ourselves questions in our own writings.

Eba's Post

Being prepared is important for success

       Prompts are important too, you know!

In writing I think the focus should mainly be on the little things. Just like Stanley Fish touched on it all starts from sentences. Often times when teachers or professors focus much more from a bigger scale, students don’t understand quite as much as to what they’re supposed to do compared to the focus being on a smaller scale. Example being on a smaller scale the instructor focuses on how well the students write each paragraph while from a bigger scale the teacher or professor just want the whole assignment turned in at once. Just like the analytical research paper instead of just turning it at once, I turned in a rough draft, and fixed it and turned my final paper a while after. An effective way of being successful in writing as Fish would say is “you must clear your mind of the orthodoxies that have taken hold in the composition world”.
Stress for students usually comes from a lack of understanding
As well as having different areas of gathering data that Professor Boczkowski set up for us to incorporate. Having those building tools and different outlets of gathering data really helps keeping the focus on different parts of a paper which builds to a well written paper. Which I believe I don’t think I would of done as well if the due date was given and I just had to work on it on my own and turn it in on that date. Which can be incorporated, as my topic in my analytical research easy was organization. And one aspect of organization that I wrote about was how the prompt is important in how you organize your writing. The organization of a well written college paper stems around the prompt and basically how well you followed the directions. So one way to conduct an effective way to help students to excel in that aspect is to break down each part of a prompt so students can answer each part as best as they can. Because reading the prompt and just writing straight from there, it is likely that you might miss a few points from not answering some parts of the prompt. As Fish claims in hisarticle you can’t change the world without being equipped with the tools to do so. So how to break down prompts and how to answer each part of a prompt should be an important learning lesson teachers and professors should teach.
Teachers and professors should focus on the idea of gradual growth and teaching from a clear and gradual process. Students usually feel bombarded and don’t learn too much or do their best when they see on the board that a 3 page essay is due in a few weeks and that’s it. As well as the professor or teacher hands out the prompt. The teaching becomes unclear like that that really makes students unsure of their work and not very confident. Confidence in for students when they turn in work comes from a place of understanding. Knowing all that they have to do and having it placed in front of them in a way they can comprehend. Although most of the time students are often taught things that won't matter in the long run compared to things like taxes, which do matter. That is the most effective way for teachers and professors to pull the best out of most students. A reason why students sometimes don’t do their best on certain assignments and essays is because they just don’t fully grab and understand just what it is the teacher or professor wants from them. Fish often talked about how teachers don’t always teach students what they need to learn rather, they teach about what their handbook tells them to. He mentions different methods schools should be teaching.
Stress for students usually comes from lack of understanding. I guess one way to get students to understand prompts in an easier way is to teach them how to. Designating a certain amount of time to teach students ways to understand prompts and how to grasp what prompts ask in a clear and effective way is such an essential thing. I’ve learned from doing the tutorial observation, when i witnessed Sierra, a tutor, help a student with her paper, as well as a survey, teacher interview, and extended definition that the idea of gathering data is very helpful.

Make A Sentence Flow

After reading Stanley Fish's "What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3" I cant really help but put my two cents in on the topic. It seams to me that his seemingly simple approach as to re-teaching student "What is a sentence anyways?" is a valid argument, but to me,  is too remedial for that of a college level students. As a student myself, I would quickly agree with the many other people who believe that that is a job for a high school professor, if not even for a younger age-group of students.
High School At Its Prime
That argument aside, and with the argument of what may really help student at the college level write better papers at hand, I have a much more adequate task in mind. After spending the better part of this semester doing hands on research around my personal university, The Ohio State University, from constructing surveys for other students, shadowing students and tutors at The Writers Studio, emailing professors in the field, and deep diving on what I have found, I believe that students need to understand how to adequately evaluate the sources that they are using for there papers in order to construct logical and fluid papers.

When I say evaluating a source, I am saying that the student should learn how to find sources that are not only about the subject they are writing about, but find ones that are TAILORED to the needs that they are trying to express in their writings. That is, if a student if writing about a historical event, they should not only be looking for the facts and events that happened, but be able to know what side of the story are they telling; i.e a war between nations - one side may see it very differently that the other. I saw this issue when shadowing a student/tutor at my university's Writers Studio, where Abe. the student, found it hard to determine what to put into the paper and what not to. The tutor found that using easier keywords or phrases that were more specific enough to focus on your topic, but not too specific that you end up filtering out too many sources was a good technique to use when searching the web for information.

I also found that students are quite afraid of not using the right sources, i.e. a reputable source to back up their research. I myself have gotten to the point in research of my own where finding a reputable source on my topic made my viewpoint too skewed due to the sources private motives; if not just downright wrong to begin with. This boils down to determining if a source is a reputable one. I have found, not only from talking to students around me, but of course personal experience once again, that there are plenty of already well known and established reputable sources to use. In fact, at the beginning of many of my semesters, my writing and literature professors tended to have a few sources they recommend using; such as Purdue's OWL or anything on our schools library of data basses. But, if these sources wont complete the research needs, being more perceptive of a source may be the key to finding the right one. Determining if a source as any ulterior motives either against or for your subject is a key thing to look out for. It is also a good idea to possibly cross reference the sources you use with others cohesively will make pointing out strong personal input quickly. Its also great to make sure that the information comes from a reputable person or place; such does OWL which boasts Purdue's great name.

When it comes to Fish's point, writing with solid sentence structure should come naturally to the writer at a higher level. That is, the student should learn how to do other, more advanced writing skills, such as finding great sources on their topic with the ability to evaluate their importance, and then use that higher understanding of the topic to create better flow to their paper. If the student doesn't fully understand what he/she is writing about, no matter what goes onto the paper, it still won't make much since to the reader; unless of course they are just really good at making up non-since. When it comes to sentence structure, there must be full understanding of what that sentence will be about before it can flow like the fish through the river
Write with a flow
.... Sorry, I had to make at least one joke. After all, we are all the students you speak of.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Although I Agree, He is not Top Fish

What do you believe is important in college level writing? This has been a very interesting question that I have come across multiple times this semester. After completing my first semester of my college career, I have grown to believe that details are really important to college level writing. Some people would like to think otherwise though. For example Stanley Fish, the author of “What should colleges teach.” Believes that the organization and structure of a sentence is very important and should be focused on more in college than they are. Stanley gathers some other input on this topic also. Patrica A. Dunn and Kenneth Lindblom, English Journal, January 2003 say that, "If we teach standardized, handbook grammar as if it is the only "correct" form of grammar, we are teaching in cooperation with a discriminatory power system." Saying that correct grammar is in fact important, but there is not only one from of correct grammar. Which goes to show that a lot of things come into play in academic writing.

What else important?
In Stanley Fishes article "What should Colleges Teach,Part 3" he discusses what he believes is important to college level writing, of which he believes that writing sentences is a key factor in college level writing.What is a sentence? “A sentence is an organization of items in the world. A sentence is a structure of logical relationships" Fish says. Sentences in college need to be elaborated and developed more than what students were used to doing prior to college. Fish says how he aids students in bettering their sentence structuring skills. He gives different methods like starting off with a simple sentence for example "John hit the ball." He spends an entire week on sentences like these that are easily comprehended. Then Fish asks the students to generate them, getting them to see the structure of relationships that makes them all the same on a formal level. Trying to get them to see that the motor of meaning production is form, not content. 

For my English class we had to conduct some data gathering to help support our beliefs on what we think plays an important role in college level academic writing. In this data gathering I first created a survey that I proposed to college students with a series of questions. Of the questions the one that stood out to me the most was a question the asked the students to rank some features that went along with academic writing from least to greatest in importance. Many student ranked detail higher up in the scale than other features, such as crafting a thesis, coming up with a creative title, and so forth.

Another task that we had to do was observe a session of an English 1110.03 student and a peer writing consultant, also known as a PWC; In the Writers Studio at The Ohio State University Newark. During my observations I pulled out how the PWC used detail a lot. One PWC talked about how to make use of primary sources, and by doing this it makes your writing more credible. Which is establishing ethos. After completing my interview with Dr. Daniel Keller, an Associates Professor of English at The Ohio State University. He also pointed out how details are essential to academic writing and that they establish credibility. 
 Although I do agree with Stanley fishes statement that sentences are important to college level writing. I personally believe that effectively making use of detail is very important. Detail is an individual feature that describes things. Detail helps answer questions, helps writers show and not tell, and lastly establish credibility. There always has to be a happy medium. Try to refrain from using too many details in your writing. Too many starts to become unnecessary. Give enough so the reader has the opportunity to craft an image in their minds. Detail can come in many different forms from quotes, primary sources, pictures, and more. "When a writer includes detail, it shows that a writer has done some thinking about the subject" says Dr. Keller, which establishes ethos also known as credibility. “Showing and not telling” terms of which professors use when writers need to better explain something. Showing and not telling is being able to describe something to a reader so vividly that they have the ability to create an image in their heads. It is a way of explaining something to a reader. 

College level academic writing is like a very extensive puzzle that involves many pieces. There is no right answer to what truly is the most important feature to academic writing because each feature plays a different role. Who is to say that one persons belief is the top dog, rule all. So Fish believes that the organization of sentences is most important and colleges should focus on them more then they do. Me on the other hand even though I agree that sentences are important I think that details are also very important, but they are not the only pieces to this puzzle that we call college level writing.
There are more pieces to the puzzle of academic writing. So....

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fish it out

In Stanley Fish's What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3 , Fish says that high schools all over are graduating students with a lack of knowledge on how to form English sentences correctly. Fish blames middle and high school teachers for not teaching students the adequate information they need to travel into higher level of college reading and writing. This ultimately makes it harder for college professors, when trying to do their job efficiently professors are ultimately enabled to teach their requirements at the level needed because students are not knowledgeable on the information needed. I agree with Fish’s observations and statements in this column that high school students are not taught enough information on proper English, I say that having correct citations is also a huge part in college writing that gets ignored more than not in high school writing courses. 
When word tries to read your mind.

I have personally experienced this all throughout grade school. In relation to Fish's statements about not being tough proper English in high school, I personally, all through out high school experienced little stress when it comes to citing sources was not stressed very heavily.  High school focused on how to do citations correctly through easy-bib, but only touched on the topic briefly. Often in earlier years through grade school I would leave citations out of my smaller essays or they would even wrong sometimes without even knowing it. As high school went on it was more of a requirement but citing sources was never thoroughly explained to me as a student in high school.

During my first semester of my college career at The Ohio State University- Newark campus, I have done research on how to cite courses correctly in college essays. I collected my own data in The Ohio State University- Newark Writers Studio to gather information by conducting some interviews which helped me realize citations are a bigger deal than most college students, along with myself, might have thought they are. My research has consisted of a tutor interview, teacher interview and a tutor session observation along with reading through books and online information. Within my research I found a better explanation on how to create correct citations along with why they are so important in college writing courses today. 

Different websites have tons of information.
There are several steps a researcher should take early on in the research process to make the citation process on themselves easier. Taking notes on exactly all of the information needed while researching for the source (for example; author, title, page numbers, chapter, ext.),in the long run will lighten the load  along with taking notes of page numbers while taking notes on specific text needed for the research being conducted. Anyone can write a paper on anything at anytime. That is why it is important to have citations at end of a research essay for several important reasons. First reason being -since the last statement is so true- researchers need back up on where they are getting their information from, readers and other researcher’s cannot use the information provided in extended projects if work is not cited correctly, nor can a research use information if they do not know where the information is coming from and do not know how reliable the information is. Secondly, giving credit where it is due is always the way to go. It is important as a researcher when writing to cite the researchers who taught them the information. Failing to do so is otherwise known as plagiarism. There are even a few websites that I have discovered during my process of researching in the writers studio that a struggling researcher can use, one important one being, which helps the researcher by having areas where information goes (title, author, publication, ext.) then will create the citation for the student. Simple as that. 

Most students don't understand the importance of having citations in every essay that has sources. It is not only a liability to college careers if not taken seriously in english classes, but will organize the researchers work and possibly another researchers work if used in extended research. Citations are a much more efficient way of finding other sources also. Your citations could help the next researcher, which is always appreciated. There is never an excuse not to cite. 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eat your Fish Food

For my final assignment in English 1109, my class was asked to read "What Should Colleges Teach? (Part 3)" by Stanley Fish. In this article, Stanley Fish is discussing how high school and middle school writing are not effective in any way. Also saying that those types of writing do not prepare students for college level writing. Fish states "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." OOOOOOOH BURN! Basically Fish just flamed all high school and middle school teachers saying that their way of teaching is very bad. And is putting the blame on them for student performance in college writing their first year of school. However, I think that sounds a little fishy to me. It's the student's choice whether they want to learn or not. The teachers ain't got nothing to do with a students failure.

Reaction when Stanley Fish said "If they are teaching them at all"

From my personal experience, I started out in my English class, writing papers like how I would for high school. I just adapted to that writing style because I focused on it so much. Later on in the semester, I was taught a new way to write papers for English. I still had to write an intro and conclusion but also I was taught to add more paragraphs. Paragraphs including what I used to support my paragraphs and describing each of my sources. It was kind of like getting more "fish food" for your paper. I clearly needed some for college work because it is way different from high school work. Some students simply choose to stay with the high school writing style and not ask for any help about college writing style. The teachers have nothing to do with the students success or failure.

Stanley Fish not amused about middle and high school teachers writing styles.

In some cases I do agree with Stanley Fish. For example when he says "You're not going to be able to change the world if you are not equipped with tools that speak to its present condition." You're not going to be able to succeed in college writing without the correct tools. The "present condition' in this case is college writing. Stanley Fish is saying high school writing styles will not work anymore. It is important that a student knows the correct writing styles.

In another case I think writing a topic is more important than what Fish says is important. Fish states that sentence structure is the most important thing in college writing. In my Analytical Research Essay I said choosing a topic is the most important thing in college writing. I feel like the topic of a paper is the "Fish Food". With the fish food you will be able to function and produce. Without it, you will not survive. And by that I mean your grade will not survive on that English paper you write. In my opinion without your topic nothing else can be done. In my interview with Paul McCormick, an English professor at OSU Newark, he said "choosing a topic is the FIRST step in the writing process" and I completely agree with him. The last thing a college writer wants is a lack of fish food. A lack of fish food is far worse, than a fishes tank not being cleaned for seven months!

What Stanley Fish tries to argue in "What Should Colleges Teach? (Part 3)" is important but I think there are much more important topics to focus on then just sentence structure. Yes it is important to have structured sentences but what if you don't know what to write about? What if you don't eat your fish food? Oh that's right, YOU DIE. You know how bad a dead fish smells? REAL BAD MAN! Like how your assignment will smell, if you don't get the right tools to write it. So you need to remember one thing: eat fishy but don't smell fishy.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Why you no Cite?

In Stanley Fish's article, What Should CollegesTeach? Part 3, he wrote about how high schools and middle schools don't effectively teach their students. Saying they come to college not knowing, "How to write clean English sentences", This being the teachers fault for not teaching them in an effective way. Sentence structure being an important part of college writing to Fish, he believes that college students should know this basic tool to people able to succeed in college writing. Not knowing this makes it harder for college teachers, cause they would have to teach the students things they should have learned in middle school and high school. I would have to agree with Fish here, but there are many other far more important  needs to succeed in college writing, mine being citation. Citation is usually not taught in high school as a serious topic so they go into college thinking of it as something un-important.

When students don't cite their work
In my previous years of schooling, I've always found citations to be a bother, and for them completely unnecessary. I would sometimes leave citations out, forgetting to do them, or just not having the time. This would leave my teachers feeling or/and thinking this.

It wasn't until my observations at the Writers Studio that I realized they were quite important. They can help you and your readers in so many other different ways than giving credit for the originals owners work.  (1) Citations help your readers understand and get more from your topic. (2) It helps out fellow students and readers with any future essays they might be doing that are similar to your topic. (3) Citing your sources gives your readers a chance to see if your topics are valid enough to trust. There are so many more to discuss but let's focus on these three. 

Citation is a really important part in a Research Paper, but most schools don't teach it. Narrowing it down, most English teachers don't teach it. What they don't see is that Citation could help your reader get more and understand more form your topic or essay. Readers go to your sources to read and get more in depth with what you're trying to tell them. If they get stuck in something, or something you say isn't clear to them, citations are always handy. They could go to your sources to see what you mean or get an opinion from someone who might know more on the topic.

Anyone can B.S a paper and make you think it's actually valid. Citations help readers see if your sources are trustworthy or not. They could go to your citations to see if they are from valid people. People who know what they're talking about, or profession in it. This is a effective way of going back and tracing the original source, if your paper is based on someone who knows what they're really doing. When you're you're doing a research paper, you would of course need sources to back up your points. These sources could be used by readers to go over to see if it is valid or to just to get more from your topic.

According to Judy Hunter of Grinnell College, "In general, scholars must be able to trace how ideas develop in order to consider, think about, and test them accurately." (2). In other words, Readers read your paper to get information on a certain topic, but how could they trust something that they don't know where it's from or if it is trustworthy.
Citation is very much needed according to this guy

Most people don't understand this, readers included. You could read citations for more than seeing where they're getting information. It could be for the reader's benefit and the writers. Not only do they do this, but you could help a fellow student or your readers on finding citations or giving them an idea for their paper as well. This is a faster, easier and more effective way than going on the internet for hours and searching for sources. This causes stress and causing you to not do your best on the paper. Citations help save life's and grade averages. Putting citations and putting them in the right way is like giving your readers a helping hand, which they are sure to appreciate. 

Since I've finally fulfilled the word count, I would leave on this very well thought out pun. You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Source Stresser

Students don't look amused spending lots of time searching for sources.
In Stanley Fish’s article “ What Should College’s Teach? Part 3”Fish, "What Should Colleges Teach, Part 3" ,  he explains to us what he think is most important to teach in the college classroom. He goes on a rant about how students come into college unable to write clean English sentences. Fish blames the students previous teachers from  their middle & high school. He believes that their teachers weren’t doing their job as teaching the students to write in an effective way.  Fish says that “ a failure of secondary education from the students previous teachers , relieves college teachers of an responsibility to make up deficit”. College professors are teaching students material that they should’ve learned from their teachers in middle & high school.

Fish believes that the main thing college courses should teach, is  how to put together good structured sentences.  He says that this should be the most important thing that college students should know how to do within their first year of college. Yes, Fish you made an excellent point but I believe that, that’s not the most important thing college classroom’s should teach. I believe that it’s very easy to teach students how to write good sentences. That shouldn’t be the main topic that teachers should focus on.  For 6 weeks, I observed a first year college student while he got tutored for his English class. Due to my observations in the (The Writer's Studio) OSU Newark Writing studio, I’ve came to the conclusion that first year English courses should focus on helping students get in the habit of finding good sources that are reliable. It seem as if it’s a reoccurring problem that college professors often notice but don’t teach students enough about it. .  Most first year students have a hard time searching for sources. It’s a struggle because it’s very time consuming & can cause students to become very frustrated, especially if you have no idea where to search or what it is that you’re looking for.

 Before coming into college, most students aren’t used to searching for sources. It’s new to them. When they are told to do the task of searching for reliable sources, they end up wasting lots of time trying to find sources when it shouldn’t take them long to do at all. To my understandings, students will always  have a hard time getting the hang of trying to research sources that they are able to use if college teachers don’t take their time to teach it to them.

In the Writer’s Studio, students only have about 55 minutes to work with their tutors. That’s not enough time to search for sources when you have other things to work on for your essay’s.  I believe that college classes should give students more time during their classes to focus on finding good sources. Instead of watching students waste their time stressing over sources that won’t do them any good, teachers should find time to help them get the job done in an easier way.  They should teach students the most effective & quickest way to find reliable sources.  I also believe that college teachers should maybe point out an exact website or two to students that they know students would be able to grab a few reliable sources from for their topic of their essay. That’ll help them out a lot if the student know where to find what they’re looking for instead of spending lots of wasted time. No one likes to go through lots & lots of sites before finding the perfect ones that they can use.

 In order to find good sources you do have to go through & analyze multiple sources. Good reliable sources provides information that is related to the topic of your paper. They help to backup your specific claim or claims. You should always have more than one source to lean on. As said by Harvard Guide to Using Sources “ Try to generate more leads than you technically need. That way you can have alternatives & can make good choices from them” For current & future college classes, I recommend that teaching students how to search for & how to use sources should be taught right away. Teaching the students how to search for sources as soon as they enter the college classroom will not only be helpful for the students but for teachers as well.
Searching for information to use

Reel Me In The Details

For my last Assignment in my English 1109 class I was told to read an article written by Stanley Fish called “What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3”. In this article Stanley argues that middle school and high school English teachers are failing at preparing their students for college level writing. Fish states "I cannot see, however, why a failure of secondary education relieves college teachers of a responsibility to make up the deficit." Fish is saying that why should college English professors have to deal with the consequences of the mistakes of middle and high school English teachers. I in the other hand don’t believe that our secondary teachers should get the blame for freshmen college students not knowing the basic skills of writing. I think that every student is different, and what I mean about this is that some students could have not paid attention in their English class therefore could have not learn the basic writing skills properly. In my opinion it just depends on the type of student you are and how much you are willing to learn from your class.
Stanley Fish
Fish also tries to argue that an important skill that high school teachers fail to teach and that should be taught in college is sentence structure. Even though I do agree with fish that sentence structure is an important skill to know for college level writing, I also think that detailing is also very important.
Details are important in writing a college essay
In my first year on college at, Ohio State University at Newark, I took an English course that required me to observe an hour tutoring sessions at the Writer’s Studio. The tutoring session that I observed was between Chelsea (the Peer Writing Consultant) and Madeleine (the Student Writer). The purpose for this assignment was to find out “ What does a college level writer do?” and all the information of five weeks of observing had made me realized that most of the time Chelsea would be helping Madeleine add more detail into her research paper.

In my opinion, I feel that details are important in writing an essay because they bring clarity to a reader. Adding details to an essay helps the reader see from your point of view. Your readers will be able to understand your topic by adding details like statistics of definitions, so that the argument is in words they can understand as well. Details can really help the reader better understand the claim that you are trying to argue.
Details can really help the reader better understand the claim 
In my first week of observing the tutoring session, Madeleine was having trouble describing a picture she had found on the Internet discussing about healthy food products. After reading it together Chelsea told her that she needed to be more descriptive and that she should make a list of every little thing that was drawing her eye about the picture and when she was done to added to her paper. This made me realized that by adding descriptive details it made the whole picture come to life without looking at the picture. 

You may also use details to help back up your claim. Supporting details guide the readers to the main idea and it also shows that credibility in your writing. On the fourth week of observing the tutoring sessions Madeleine’s professor that just suggested her to put more evidence to support her main idea. That entire day Chelsea was helping Madeleine search for evidence to support her main idea.

I believe Stanley Fish when he tries to argue that sentence structure is an important skill that should be taught in schools in his article “What Should Colleges Teach? Part 3”, but I also feel that it is important to learn about details in writing a college paper. The amount of detail you contribute to your paper will make a big difference on how it looks and how the readers will get to visualize it and understand your main idea. This is only my opinion on what I think is important in college level writing and it’s probably not the only skill that should be taught in a classroom. Either way I hope to find out of more English writing skills through out my college years.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

You Can't Have Every Fish In The Sea As An Audience (Lame Puns)

Stanley Fish
A question brought up by english teachers and the academic community in general is; “What is college-level writing and how do I incorporate it in my class?” Stanley Fish, a Distinguished professor of Law at Cardozo Law School in New York City, tried answering this in a New York Times article, “What Should Colleges Teach, Part 3.” Fish made many good claims in his paper for example; “You have to start with a simple but deep understanding of the game, which for my purposes is the game of writing sentences. So it makes sense to begin with the question, What is a sentence anyway? My answer has two parts: (1) A sentence is an organization of items in the world. (2) A sentence is a structure of logical relationships.”

Fish believes that the first thing a student should master is sentence structure, he states that students usually don’t learn this before and that its, “College teachers … responsibility to make up the deficit.”

I completely agree with Fish’s statement about the importance of sentence structure, but I, through my own experiences and observations, have come to believe that another important aspect of writing is the importance of a writer knowing who they are targeting or who they are trying to influence, in other words; their audience.

I’ve witnessed the importance of audience while observing tutoring sessions, for eight weeks, at The Ohio State University at Newark Writer’s Studio. My objective was to answer the age old question, “What is college-level writing?”  When considering an audience, a writer must bring into account; the audience’s gender, age, level of education, Religion, culture, social class, etc. Without a proper audience, a writer may stray from the topic they are writing about, which results in a lot of confusion for both the reader and writer.

A writer must know their audience

The Writing Studio at the University of Maryland University College states that knowing your, “Audience helps you to make decisions about what information you should include, how you should arrange that information, and what kind of supporting details will be necessary for the reader to understand what you are presenting.” They go on to explain that, “It also influences the tone and structure of the document. To develop and present an effective argument, you need to be able to appeal to and address your audience.” With an audience a writer can narrow their thesis from a broad point of view to a narrower one. With to broad an audience a writer might have to explain a lot of jargon associated with his topic, but if they narrow their audience, which in turn focuses the thesis, they can skip all the unneeded explanations and get straight to their claim, and not worry about straying from the topic with a long off topic explanation.

Audience and sentence structure are both very important in writing.
The legitimacy of Stanley Fish’s claim; that the best way to teach a college class room is by teaching sentence structure, is completely based on the person who’s reading that claim’s opinion and their experiences. I believe that audience plays a much bigger role in college writing, in spite of the fact that, sentence structure plays a big role, in its own right.

Darcy Pattison, an American writer of fiction and nonfiction children’s literature, states “One of the easiest ways to signal tone and, as a result, audience is to control your sentence structure.”Audience and sentence structure are in some cases closely correlated; Audience determines how a sentence should be structured and sentence structure determines the tone and audience of a paper, one can not exist without the other. In the end, audience and sentence structure is just a small part of what college-level writing truly is, there are many other aspects which are just as important, like thesis statements, details, and quote integration, but if both are mastered and done well, it can help a beginning college-level writer blossom into a great writer.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Sentence Structure VS. Quote Sandwich

Photo of Stanley Fish 
Stanley Fish argues in his article, "what should colleges teach part 3", that students do not receive the proper education prior to college. He also states that one of the most important things a high school teacher should teach their students is proper sentence structure. While Stanley argues a valid point, I feel that quote integration with the use of the "quote sandwich" method is also very important. With out it your quote might seem improperly placed or random, Which is often referred to as Hit and run quotingHit and run quoting is when quotes are seemingly thrown into a paragraph with out anything such as an introduction, or an explanation as to why the quote is relevant to your argument

In my first year English class at Ohio State University Newark (OSUN), I have observed many students in their tutoring sessions at the Writer's Studio, in an attempt to answer the question, "What makes a college level writing college level?". Throughout these observations I noticed that quote integration can help a student immensely in supporting arguments, and or points throughout their paper. Quotes do this by adding the view of a professional, or experienced individual to your supporting paragraphs.
Photo from source

The relevance and placement of a quote is important, they need to be positioned in the paragraph in places where they will support your writing, and also give it a well-blended sense of harmony. During an interview with a PWC, I asked whether adding a quote at the beginning or end of a paragraph is acceptable. She stated, “Sometimes it can cause a memorable affect, but the majority of the time it doesn’t work.” what she implied is that these positions do not provide the quote with both an introduction, and explanation as to why it is included.

With out a proper introduction to a quote,it will seem as if it stands alone. One particular student I observed was having trouble figuring out how to bring quotes into his essay to support his topic. The peer writing consultant, (PWC) asked him how many sources he had to work with. The student answered that he had six sources, all articles. The PWC then helped the student identify some of his pre-selected quotes from these sources, that she felt they could easily introduce alongside of the main idea of the paragraph. The two then discussed various aspects and rules of what to do, and what not to do when introducing a quote, such as using an introductory phrase, as appose to telling the reader that you have a quote and your about to state it.

The student and the PWC had selected and introduced a relevant quote that he could use to effectively back-up his point of view. Now he was having trouble figuring out how to explain the relation between the quote and his essay. The PWC then recommended that they re-read his paragraph, and the paragraph from the original source to find out why he chose it, and to see if they could figure out an explanation of the relevance of the quote in relation to his argument. After they reread and discussed some things, they came up with a way to explain the relevance of the quote, and what the student had understood from it effectively "sandwiching" the students quote.

Through my observations, and with the help of Ohio State Newark’s Peer Writing Consultants, I have been able to gather enough information to effectively write on the topic of quote integration. While proper sentence structure is a staple of quality college level writing that is overlooked by many pre-college instructors, I feel that adding evidence to our papers in order to support our arguments with the usage of properly placed, introduced, and explained quotes from professionals, is yet another staple of college level writing.I believe that this is equally overlooked by instructors prior to college along with sentence structure and grammar. With the help of these two tools, I believe that students will have a good start to being able to write with quality and authority throughout their college career.