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Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced Adult Writers: Beginners v. The Experience

When reading this article I was taken back to the summertime of this year. This past summer, I spent most of my time as a Writing Tutor for EOF students at The College of Saint Elizabeth. As this being my first time working with college students, I was very worried that I would be caught in my fraud act of being “an experienced writer”. Little did I know, my students actually loved working with me! So what is the point of this little flashback? After reading this article and looking back at my WONDERFUL experience this past summer, I feel as though I have a different perspective on beginning student writers.

Usually, I like to aim my blogs towards my current 2nd Grade students, but this one will be dedicated towards my now freshmen college students (I hope that they are doing well!). My main objective over the summer was to help them develop as strong writers coming into college. To their surprise, I took my position quite serious and did everything in my power to strengthen their skills when making corrections and drafts to their paper. Whenever I would have my 1-on-1 writing time for each student, the same issue would occur. They would come to me with their papers and see absolutely nothing wrong with them **gasps in English Major voice**. They did not understand the concept of many revisions, that in most times would be the a second draft with new ideas and perspectives. I was at a lost of words and thoughts that they truly felt this way. Sure enough, here come this article that address the idealism behind both student writers (my EOF students) and adult experienced writers (Somewhat me).

Just as with the rhetoric discussion in our previous classes, the Greeks ideas behind the process of composition. We are introduced in this article about The 5 parts of Discourse: inventio (invention), dispositio (arrangement), elocutio (style), memoria (memory), and actio (delivery). I also found this neat slideshow on my fun surfing through the internet, if you would like further explanation on the topic: https://slideplayer.com/slide/15058367/ (fair warned. it is quite long!). To further on, because I like to use what I learned in real life experience, I have been pondering where exactly did my EOF students start, skip, or start their drafts of writing. I can say about 90 % of them were pretty good with inventio, the rest was pretty much up in the air for me to catch. When I would ask some of them, “So why did you put this argument in the beginning, when this connects more with your intro?” … that 90 % answer … “I don’t know, I just want this to be over.” What was I to do?

Looking further into the article another point that stood out to me was the Revision is impossible in Speech. Revision is speech is an afterthought, you can not erase what you said. Like many young writers, my students would write the way they speak and see no issue with this. Bringing some points from my World Englishes course with Dr. Griffith, all English is different everywhere you go. There is no right or wrong, just when to use the “certain type of English” that is acceptable in the world of academia. A lot of my students are from urban areas where there would be slang and miscommunication of how to use certain words in the writing context. Side note: Many of them could not believe I was a native of Newark, NJ. Many of my summertime students would write exactly how they speak, and when I would send them off to edited some areas in their essays, they would either come back exactly the same or some words just “remixed”.

“When revising, students primarily ask themselves: ‘can I find a better word or phrase?'” – I pulled this quote from out the article because this a common thought, I believe, that goes in many student writers mind. Example: I told my EOF student to reorganize his idea in one of the paragraphs I circled. He came back to me 20 minutes later; he moved that paragraph to another section in his paper and he replaced some words with words that I could not even pronounce! It took all the might in me not to start laughing.

Here are some other point I found interesting to discuss in the article. Like with my student in the above, the issue with how students are looking at the aspect of revision or in their case “re-doing” (which strangely was said in my summer writing tutoring) is that they are not thoroughly looking to revise, but to just change words and phrases. Students writers can hear the issues your are trying to express to them about their writing, but lacked the actual understanding of the deeper issue. They are worried about polishing surfaces errors than getting down to the nitty gritty. By all means, this does not make the student a “lazy writer’ just a misunderstood one.

REMIX!

These two articles were very funny to read! I would like to first talk about the article How Remix Culture Informs Student Writing & Creativity. As being closer to the millennium generation, remixing just about everything has been apart of me growing up. Either it be a fashion trend, TV show, or a song, this process of remixing is what has breaded a generation of insta-famous, bloggers, and YouTube sensations! Remixing is a two-way street. When looking back, an important remix for me was the two adaption that I love: Hamlet! My first encounter of Hamlet is with the Disney Production, The Lion King (Yes! The Lion King is the cartoon Hamlet!). My second Hamlet watching was a more update hip-hop version that I had the please to watch while I was in London my senior year as an undergrad. I have never actually read or watched the traditional version of Hamlet, but from watching those two remixes of it I can definitely tell you the plot of the story! When using remix in this manner, I learned about a classical story. This article express how we should use these remixes in today’s society to reach our students. Example: Using the digital space of blogging and twitter to connect with other students globally using the hashtag #unboundeq as a connection.

“It is how we challenge the status quo and forge new pathways for critical expression as we move further into a society enmeshed in the remixing of the past. ” This quote from the article greatly explains how we need to use what we have in the past to better our present. The old quote of “History finds a way of repeating itself” does not necessarily have to be a bad thing.

“I WOULD USE THE KITCHEN SINK”

What I truly I liked about this article is that it does the opposite of the previous article on remixing. It takes a look at remixing on a more non-tech bases. For one, I wish I could have taken a class like this an undergrad! These assignments in this syllabus are designed to help students use things outside of technology. Fore instance, the classroom Notebook:

Classroom Notebook

A notebook is required for taking hand-written notes in class. It is also used for in-class writing exercises. Please be sure to bring a notebook to class everyday, since access to computers and other personal electronic devices will be limited in order to focus on the specific materials we are engaging with in the classroom.

It has been a long time since I have seen that a notebook is REQUIRED in a classroom setting! Recalling back to my time as an undergrad taking Education courses, I remember my observation portion of my class. When I went to the local high school in Morristown, every students I encountered did not use notebook in class. I literately counted three people throughout the day with notebooks .. and out of the three, I was one of them! It truly showed my age. So reading this syllabus was quite refreshing.

Another aspect from this article I like is the extra credit option that the syllabus gives the students.Imagine how much creativity you would be able to pull out of a student if this was given as an extra credit! Syllabus building is probably one of the most difficult things to build/write. This writing activity gives student not just the space for creativity, put a potential skill that they would be learning in possible future careers.

* Syllabus Building – Describe 10 activities, readings, or assignments that you would include if you were teaching this course next semester. For each of the 10 items, write 2-3 sentences describing the reasoning behind putting this particular item on the syllabus. What would you want students to learn from this? How would you get them to engage with it? (10%)

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Educator|Mentor|Artist|Aspiring Traveler|Student "Make a difference about something other than yourself." - Toni Morrison "Be the person you needed growing up."

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