Monday, December 19, 2016

Thesis vs. Sentences

Caleb Gabbard

Derek Boczkowski

English 1109

15 December 2016

Thesis vs. Sentences

            Stanley E. Fish, an American literary theorist and writer of the article "What Should Colleges Teach, Part 3," asks three questions. (1) “Isn't the mastery of forms something we should learn before college?” (2) “Isn't extensive reading the key to writing?” (3) “What would a composition course based on the method I urge look like?” He focuses mainly on question number three throughout his article. He simply states that creating good sentences is most important in college level writing. Fish explains further on how well written sentences are important to college level writing by saying, “(1) A sentence is an organization of items in the world. (2) A sentence is a structure of logical relationships." "Basically, there is only one thing to be learned, that a sentence is a structure of logical relationships; everything else follows." Fish believes that English teachers in high school should focus mainly on sentence structures and everything else will come along.

            I did some research myself on “What is most important to college level writing?” and came to an opinionated conclusion that “thesis statements” are most important. My researches included six data-gathering assignments which were Surveys with other students at The Ohio State University both Newark and Columbus campuses, A tutor observation between a Peer Writing Consultant (PWC) and a student, a follow-up interview with the PWC, an extended definition of “thesis statement”, an annotated bibliography, and also a Professor interview with Nancy Yan, an English Professor at The Ohio State University Newark. When observing a tutor session I realized how much “Thesis Statements” came up and I quickly learned the importance of them.

            Fish makes a great point in his article saying that well-crafted sentences make the essay easier to read, however, I disagree on the statement that it is the most important. Sure, grammar and punctuation help the reader understand better, but crafting a thesis statement is the most important to college level writing. Even a decent thesis gives good sense of direction towards the rest of the essay. You can still have a well written essay with bad grammar (so long as the reader understands the main point as well as the thesis). It is nearly impossible to create a good piece of writing without some form of thesis statement. Without a thesis statement the reader has no clue how the essay will play out. In addition, a thesis statement gives the writer a blueprint of the essay. This “blueprint” allows the author to build off the thesis, which will eliminate some time taken between paragraphs to decide what to write next. Finally, a thesis statement allows the reader to understand the author’s claim and invites the reader to take a side. Nothing draws a reader in more than a heated debate topic. When the reader sees the thesis, they see the author view on such topic. If the reader disagrees (or even agrees) then they are more likely to continue reading the essay as well as being interested in the essay. It would be hard to start reading and essay and not knowing whether to agree with the author or not. For example, if you started reading Fish’s article and he did not say in his first paragraph what he was writing for, then you (the reader) would be extremely confused.

            Fish makes great arguments concerning that well-crafted sentences are the most important, but I have to disagree based on research I have found supporting that thesis statements are most important to college level writing. Fish’s statements about sentences come in second behind thesis statements in my book.


Friday, December 16, 2016

Ehh, I can do it tomorrow

In a column written by Stanley Fish titled "what should colleges teach, part 3", Professor fish expands upon the idea of sentence structure being the main problem and most significant thing a college student should focus on. I completely agree that sentence structure is hugely important, but I think that there is another issue that plagues college writers even worse than that. That problem being poor time management. When asked to write about what I think is most important to succeed in college writing, my mind instantly went to time management. Mostly because time management is something I struggle with really badly. But through my research, I learned the true importance of time management.
Explaining the process of writing 

For my research I made a survey, observed a tutoring session and interviewed a local English professor. Through all my research and interviews, i was able to realize that good time management allows for students to have time for the process of writing.  The process of writing can be broken down into these three steps: brainstorming, drafting and revising the final product. When a student has poor time management and procrastinates on their writing assignments, they can miss out or have to rush these crucial steps to writing.
waiting until last minute
The first process of writing is brainstorming. I consider this to be almost the most important part of the writing process. Brain storming is really when you form the whole direction you want to take your writing. You can actually form the majority of your paper in your head and let your ideas become clearer before you ever start writing. Imagine not giving yourself enough time for this process. We've all been there, two hours before a paper is due slamming or fingers on the keys in hopes to form something at least mediocre or passable. Without being able to form ideas and a solid direction for a writing assignment, you are forced to pick one idea and hope for the best. This can lead to writing that lacks direction and has no flow.

poor grades due to lack of time management 
   The last two steps of the writing process are drafting and revising. Drafting is essential to ironing out parts of your draft you might be unclear or fuzzy about. It allows for you to approach certain areas differently until you get it right. If you skip the drafting process you are essentially turning in a rough draft as your final paper. Which is never a good idea, and will most likely result in a very low grade on the assignment. Revising is like the final details and tweaks for your assignment. This can include finding a spelling mistake or finding an area that needs to be re worded. This process also allows for peer review, where others can read your work and help you catch mistakes that you may have missed. It would be detrimental for a student to miss out on this process.

I think where me and Stanley Fish differ is he chooses to look at the actual writing itself and how to create fundamentally sound sentence structure. I chose to look at the discipline and responsibility side of writing. I think that especially with new college students, having the freedom of being in college makes it difficult at times to have good time management and stay up on your assignments. It takes a lot of personal discipline to fight through the stress and distractions and make time for the process of writing. I believe that students that have good discipline with their time management succeed the most in college writing.  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Best of both worlds With Fish

Stanley Fish wrote a column about what colleges writing classes should teach students. He thinks the most important thing students should know in college writing is how to properly set up a sentence. He believes a sentence is an organizations of items in the world and a structure of logical relationships.I agree with a lot of what Fish is saying, but I also have a lot to add onto it. To me, I believe there are many steps to making a good paper; however, the most important is Critical Thinking. Fish states that a lot of writing skills should be covered in high school but aren't. High Schools are doing a very good job in teaching students how to write papers. They are teaching them the simple rules of writing, but can the simple rules be enough for college writing? For Fish,how to properly create sentences can really strengthen a persons writing, but how to get to that point is another important part to making a good paper. 
I bet John hit that ball like a girl.

In Fish's column he talks about how he makes students turn a three worded sentence into a one-hundred word sentence, his examples were "Jane like cake" or "John hits the ball" without losing control of the basic structure. But how can a student do this with a simple three worded sentence? Lauren Herbruck a professor at The Ohio State University Newark suggests to students to ask themselves "How does this section/paragraph/sentence help to develop my thesis?" Relating this to each sentence while you write, can help a lot in the long run because you won't have to go back and fix each sentence to make sure it relates to your thesis.

Although I do agree with Fish that creating a proper sentence is important in the writing world, there's more behind it. How can you type that sentence without accidentally getting off topic of the thesis? In one of the papers I typed in college I described why I believe critical thinking is the most important in college writing; and there's three stepsmake decisions and jot down ideas to what you want to go into your paper, do research, and throw out the unnecessary. All these steps are important to getting a good paper because you are taking bits and pieces of your paper, putting it together like a puzzle, and trying to get the pieces to go in the right place to get the best result. 

With critical thinking you get the best of both worlds 
Professor Herbruck stated that critical thinking isn't just important for your class or even for school generally! It's a life skill... probably the most important one you can learn. Someone with critical thinking skills is able to understand the logical connections between ideas and identify, construct and evaluate arguments. detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning. Can "How to create a proper sentence" work both for school and life skills? No!! So therefore with critical thinking you get the best of both worlds.

Ending this blog, I will say, Fish you did make a very good point, BUT critical thinking is the step you should make before you start typing your proper sentence. Teachers at any level, should teach the importance of critical thinking, it can help in so many ways and teach a lot. Your sentences would be a mess because you wouldn't know the three steps to critical thinking. AND since critical thinking is also a life skill, you have to work twice as hard to make sure that you're thinking clearly and rationally about what to do or what to believe. 

Fish Organization By Stanley Hlordzi

Image result for stanley fish opinion on teaching writing
Stanley Fish:)
What if songs didn't have an organization? Imagine if Black Beetles by rae sremmurd was backwards. Just as an organization is important in music, it's the same when it comes to writing.

Stanley Fish, writer of the article "What Should College Teach, Part 3", Fish opinion on teaching  our high school education teachers prepared us for college level writing.

Professor Fish wasn't any regular teacher he was talented with writing and teaching skills. He taught at the University of Illinois at Chicago and also has so many awards backing him up.

One main thing he stated about writing a good paper was organization. organizing meaning collecting ideas and grouping them to your paper.

Organizing your paper makes it easier to build your paper because when you collect idea's from sources it gives you a lot of information about your topic already. Gathering your thoughts helps you build your paper.

Organization is the structure or plan of related or linked things. When you sort out a paper, you select a request for the parts that bode well and demonstrates the person reading it how the thoughts are Connected.
Image result for 2 pac
Being organized is being in control.
Agreeing with Fish's knowledge, organization being an important way to successful college-level writing. I believe we can all say among our self when your well organized things come to you easy.

Let's say you prepare your lunch a night before you go to school, you would have more time or more sleep than you would if your lunch wasn't packed.

kids children hate haters haters gonna hate

Fish describes the reason why sentences are one of the most important part of college writing by describing sentences. He said that "sentences are 1. organization of items in the world."

Imagine if the world we live in had everything we involve ourselves with was perfect.

Wouldn't everything be so much easier for us?

Fish shares his knowledge by listing out random words and then explain what the did. One of his exercise he makes his student partake in is turning three word sentences into hundred words sentences.

Being organized is the key, I noticed this when I had to do a college paper. I gathered data that I needed for my essay, by doing this it made the assignment way easier because I knew a lot about the topic.

If you're finding it difficult to stay organized, try offering yourself a reward. For instance, if you complete four things on your to-do list, reward yourself with a cup of coffee, or with 10 minutes of free time to surf the web. 

Research is always significant when writing any sort of paper. Credibility leads to success in college level writing. Not having any research is something we should never want to come across.

These two will lead to solid results because you have an idea of the topic.
Image result for organization
Stops Procrastination.

I did a research, this research included surveys with college students, teachers, tutorial observation, interview with tutors.

My purpose of researching was find out about how to conduct good college-level writing. It relates to organization  because researching involves gathering information to write your paper.

Gathering information's is one good step that can lead to successful papers. Just like I did for my research, I gathered information from different sources and organized it into one piece of work.

I looked into other people research they've done to build up ideas of the same topic and use it for my essay. Going around looking for answers actually helped develop few sentences.

Senior year in high school was horrible because I always wait last minute to turn in my assignment. I never took time to write my essay now that I look back at the past.

Most Students wait till last minute to do their assignment. This brings up organization because you won't lack turning in your stuff on time. Procrastination is the death of you in college, you always have to be organized and ready for all the pages ahead.

Many Fish in the Sea

Does Fish really know how to "catch a fish?" I don't see it. Stanley Fish in his article, "What Should Colleges Teach?" He talks about how college level writing depends strictly on the basis of "a game of writing sentences" meaning that he believes that sentence structure and how a student builds their structure of a sentence determines the overall outcome of a paper. But I say that college to become a successful college writer they must, have a topic that best fits them, that also can fulfill the assignments requirement in length. If a student can complete this they are more than likely going to enjoy what they are writing about and want to make it the best it can be.

Damn! Wrong word again:(

Fish later talks about how our early education didn't prepare us for what was to come in the future with college level writing. He talks about the exceptions of catholic school in which I agree with. I attended catholic school first through twelfth grade. I have never felt burdened or stressed about writing something in my whole life. Now a struggle I will admit to is not being able to use the correct wording. I over come that trouble by being able to talk about a topic that I enjoy and backing it up with relevant details. No one is perfect when they write and I find hope for my final result when i can back it up with good relevant information.

Using a survey I created on survey monkey, I had determined that my peers saw a huge difference between their ability to write when they were in high school compared to college. They said this because they are able to select their own topic. Most of those who did the survey went to catholic school as well. Most of the assignments that were assigned in high school usually related to religion and the churches beliefs. In college their is an escape from that and they are more than likely going to choose their topic off of something that they enjoy and like. I think everyone was excited to take the next step in their lives and get away from the so called hell of catholic school.

Students who choose their own topic are more than likely going to have an increased interest in what they are talking about. Making the finished product more than likely detailed and extensive with real world evidence or interest in what they are writing about (University of Buffalo). When people go to college they are more than likely going for a job that they want to do for the rest of their lives. When they attend classes that relate to their major and what they want to learn a better result is more than likely going to arise from the final product of their topic that they choose. Interest is key.

Crappy papers are the end of my grade.
Students also face the problem of staying on topic. The topic is the heart of the paper and valves that pump blood to the rest of the body are the body paragraphs. The body paragraphs have to remain relevant to the overall final result of the paper. That's why it is key to finding topic that best fits you and that you can make relevant to the overall paper. If you can't stay on topic then you have a huge pile of crap. Stay on topic!

Choosing your own topic is key to being a successful college writer and if you are willing to take the time and find a topic that best relates to you, the final product is more than likely going to be great. When people are researching something they like and enjoy, they are more than likely going to be able to focus on what they are researching. Once that topic and requirements are fulfilled you can lay back take a break and breathe. Maybe go to the weekend party and get yourself an ice cold bottle of water there to take a load off.

Waste of Time

What's the point of high school? Your classmates are annoying, you're held captive for hours, and you're under the total control by the teachers. We can all agree that it is not the most pleasant place to be. It feels like prison most of the time. You're told when to eat, when you can use the rest rooms, and what or what not to wear. It completely sucks! What I find ridiculous is that some students come out of high school not even knowing how to properly write.

Prison Sucks!

 According to Stanley Fishes article  what should colleges teach he points out that he feels that grade schools such as middle and high schools are not properly teaching writing skills if they are teaching them at all. He even 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." This makes it difficult for the student and Stan states that it puts a burden on him as teacher because it makes him obligated to teach the student the proper way. He often teaches them buy having them form simple sentences because just like in anything you try to master it is import to be able to apply fundamentals. I know you are probably wondering like who is this Stanley Fish is and what are his credentials. Stanley Fish is professor who taught at many universities and college institutes such as The University of Illinois at Chicago, he is also a university politician, and won many awards for his writings. So Professor Fish is one smart fish.

Smart Fish

 He also states that reading and comprehending your reading is important when writing a paper. I totally agree and I do not find anything that professor smith is saying difficult to do. I believe what must be taught before you can teach any of these and that is most importance is time management. If you learn how to manage your time that is when everything becomes easy because everything would be well organized. I believe that most of the knowledge a student obtains is outside of the classroom.

Time is Money

Time management should be the first thing taught in college writing is time management. The more time you put into a task the better the outcome would be. Stanley Fish even states "Unfortunately, however, reading is not the favorite pastime of today’s youth and debate societies don’t have the cachet they once did" which is implying that today's youth don't take their time to read and analyze because reading is something they do not like to do.

I understand that most students are busy and don’t have enough time in the day. A good student with great time management gives themselves time to get the most of whatever it is that they are doing. For an example a terrible student would skim through the readings and B.S the writing assignments and their overall quality would be horrific. A great student would take the time to thoroughly read and comprehend the reading which would help their writing because they would be better informed. This was something I observed during a tutorial observation while studying at The Ohio State University.

This was just one of my many studies I have done an Analytical Research Essay on time management to try and help incoming college student the importance of time management.  During my studies Katie Waters  a tutor of mine at The Ohio State University told me “The most important aspect of writing a college paper is producing something at you are proud of, meaning you don't throw it together last minute and hope for the best. You work on it over time and love what you wrote.” In my 113 days of being a college student this is the most beneficial advice that I have received.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Fishing is Engaging

A student's response to a structure sentence course
A class about only sentence work, now that would be boring. In What should colleges teach?” Fish talks about, "I put a simple sentence on the table, something like “John hit the ball” or “Jane likes cake.” I spend an entire week on sentences like these". If your in a class and all you do is sentence work, it would be so tedious and boring. I bet half the students would skip the class. Although the idea of sentence work should definitely be present in an normal English class. I believe a student needs to be taught sentence work in high school, but a refresher should be applied every step of the way. This idea of a refresher should just be practiced in a more complex way each step of your English career. Fish has some good ideas, but I believe your everyday college level writing class should consist of a well-rounded curriculum on a copious amount of key ideas which relate to English. One of these topics that should probably be taught to students whom are writing college level writings, is the idea of engaging in your topic. Although this is probably not a huge idea in an college level English class it should be taught in a class and should be brought up all the time. Students who want to engage in their topic idea may look to choose a topic they have interest in, maybe take ownership of a topic, or retain feedback from their community on their topic. These are all ideas of engaging in your topic which ultimately may result in a higher grade. Why not use these ideas??? Don't you want to get a higher grade.
The man of the hour Stanley Fish

Although, I do agree with Fish that teaching sentence structure is important in writing college level, but I have come to find out that is not the only important skill college writing requires. Fish has some really great ideas on sentence structure such as "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.". This is an example of great sentence structure and another awesome point of starting with a understanding of the "game", which can be directly related to something that interests you. Then this idea plays a role on engagement.

The idea of engaging the writer is a much more important idea. When thinking about engaging it takes me back to an early reading with Graff Hidden Intellectualism. Here he motivates the writer to write about something that they were interested in. He says how the writer will be able to write more and actually enjoy research. Next a website I found explains perfectly with five ways to choose a topic, here at Aims Community College, they talk about how the topic should be something that interests you, something you have experience in, one that fits guidelines, will interest the reader, and one where outside sources were used. These are all great ways to engage in a topic. 

Even if a writer doesn't like a topic or idea they have to write about, they must learn to take ownership. If I was in Fish's class I would probably take ownership of my works, but the idea of ownership I found in a journal while doing research for my analytical research essay. The idea of calling the paper mine is actually good because you'll probably go deeper in research and you'll enjoy it more.

Bill Dance finds fishing engaging
Other ways for the writer to engage in their writing, is through the community. I have gotten an abundance of help every step of the way in my writing's in The Ohio State University at Newark Writer's Studio. There they gave me feedback to better my writing. Then I had my classmates look into my writing and tell me what was good in my writing and bad. Iv'e had my family see my writing's.

Fish may have had it right that sentence structure is a key skill in developing a college level writer, but there are so many other skills required. These skills are research, details, content, topic, thesis statement, etc. These are all very important skills, especially for a college level writer, but you can't write a paper without a topic. Fishing is engaging just make sure you are hooked on your topic.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

"What Fish Thinks vs What I Think"

Stanley Fish, who is an expert in his field of being a well-known English professor who taught at Florida International University in Miami, Florida. He is credited for writing an article called "What Should Colleges Teach, Part 3?" Fish explains in his article that students at the high school level don't have experience doing college level writing in their previous assignments. In Fish's opinion, he states his claim about crafting good sentence structures being the most important to college level writing. According to Fish, he explains that he would focus mainly on teaching students about crafting good sentences. “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.” 

I agree with what Fish says that constructing sentences is a great way to understand college level writing. Being able to create good grammatical and creative sentences is a great way to help you with college level writing. Another fact is that you had to come with good sentence structures to be able to get into college in the first place. Fish says "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." Therefore, Fish's focus is to teach students mainly about sentences.

My statement is that I believe constructing good research is the most important aspect to college level writing. I don't disagree with Fish about constructing good sentences, but I do believe constructing good research is more of an important topic to teach college students. Most people don't have trouble making sentences as much as trying to construct good research on their topic, and think that being able to construct good meaningful research is more important. I can imagine teaching the topic of constructing good sentences to students, sounding like cricket noises compared to teaching the topic of constructing good meaningful research to students.

Even Obi Wan Kenobi knows what key terms to look for

 For myself being a college student in an English class, I've had to do Data Gathering Assignments and found that conducting good research is the most important to college level writing. In my research of doing Data Gathering Assignments, I conducted a survey, watched an tutorial observation, interviewed a tutor of The Ohio State University Newark Campus Writer's Studio, and interviewed professor Paul McCormick of The Ohio State Newark Campus University English Department.   

The first most important part to constructing good research is choosing appropriate key terms. Reasons to choosing appropriate key terms is because they can help you pull out what's the most important parts to your research. When starting a paper, you usually start with a central question going into your paper. The key terms are usually two terms that you pull out of your question and research them. What this also does is consumes less of your time, by using what's most important to your paper. 

Primary Sources and Secondary Sources make research easier

 The second most important aspect to constructing good research is looking for good primary and secondary sources. Primary sources help discover the main facts to your paper that will give great evidence to your knowledge of your subject. Secondary sources are facts that help back up your primary sources.

For the last important step to constructing good research is reading through any abstracts of articles that you discover. How this can help you is in the way of not consuming so much time reading through an whole article. Abstracts are in other words summaries of the article as a whole and pull out the most important key parts of information. You can compare abstracts to be like your key terms when looking for good research/facts. Although you should be like a detective when doing research and take your time, you don't want to be wasting your time as well. Key terms, primary and secondary sources, and abstracts are all aspects that help not waste your time doing research. 
Leonardo Dicaprio salutes you for looking through abstracts 

Therefore in order to be successful, college writers conduct research well, which includes choosing appropriate key terms for research, including a mix of primary and secondary sources when possible, and reading any discovered articles' abstracts. These are all the steps you have to take for constructing good research to be a successful college level writer.