Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Connections to the Reader (Articles)

What are your thoughts/opinions/comments and connections to the article(s) in the reader?


  1. I was really struck by Maja Wilson's article, "Rethinking a Writing Teacher's Expertise: Following Students Under the Kitchen Table." I constantly struggle with the elitist treatment of the English Language that occurs in Academia, and Wilson's explanation of Latin instruction roots really made it click for me. Black and white grammatical instruction is simply a way to include or exclude individuals from a larger conversation. However, having said that, we had an interesting conversation with Mark M. (I'm putting you out there, Mark!) who described his struggles with ESOL college students, and how their grammatical and syntactical errors are too great an obstacle to understanding their writing and how he feels pressured to make this a priority, which I totally understand. He also brought up the point that descriptive feedback of the nature explored by Wilson is noble, but possibly pointless if your students don't respond to it in the way in which Elbow's students did. I've switched from written feedback to spoken over the past couple of years because of this very issue. Now that I have 40 instead of 200 students, conferencing with them is much easier to work into class time and far more productive, but I am still left thinking about Callie's "gradeless" approach which values the comments and revisions over any end goal at the top of a rubric. Hmmm...

  2. Piggy-backing on myself, which takes a great deal of stamina and flexibility, I'd like to connect Wilson's point about Latin instruction to the video we watched today ("50 Years") which again supported this idea of grammar instruction as antiquated or ineffective. (Courtesy of Hillocks.)

  3. While I certainly didn't love every article in the reader, I really appreciated reading the articles and then having the opportunity to discuss them with others. I read a lot of articles and form my own opinions but having a room full of 20 amazing educators to discuss them with REALLY helps me form my opinions and become more passionate about what I've read and what I believe.
    I remember one morning during a quick "partner talk" during a demo, Susan asked me what I thought of a particular article. My response was that I wasn't sure how I felt about it yet because we hadn't yet discussed it or done a protocol on it!
    Man, I'm really going to miss having a wealth of knowledgable teachers at my disposal Tuesday-Friday. Good thing I have the everyone's contact information front and center in my SI binder!

  4. I did appreciate that the articles, in general, were not lengthy but rather meaningful. Remember, longer is not always better, even though student work tends to be graded that way. Discussing the articles with other educators helped continue my thinking and deepen my understanding. I was surprised at how often I was talking "research" with people, both educators and non-educators, outside of the classroom. I would have liked to see more research on English learner populations. The one article we read seemed so vague and disappointing. Maybe I will do some of my own research!

  5. I feel pretty out there, Kendra...WAY out there! =)

    I think there is a time and a place for direct grammar instruction for ELLs...countless drills get people nowhere, this is true...but raising a student's awareness about a grammar point...and even..EEK...calling it by name, can be useful. If students are ready to learn about the grammar point, they will...if not, at least it's on their radar. Maybe I should also clarify that when I ever talk about grammar, I make it fun, interactive, and try to involve Jessica Alba as much as possible...I don't lecture on grammar points EVER. if you could go back to showing me how you piggy-back yourself...