Upon entering into Spring 2020 semester, I had an idea of what type of job field I wanted to enter into. From Summer 2019 up until now, blogging and using the digital space is something I have grown accustomed to through using this method in the M.A. Writing Studies program. With that said, I decided to delve into the world of technical writing. Even though I knew I wanted to continue my writing studies academics into technical writing, I was not sure how narrow I was in my search. I knew I liked to write in the digital space; I wanted to get into technical writing; and I wanted to use this career field to educate students… but how? That is when this semester of Spring 2020 opened up a world of possibilities!
Not only am I currently a student at Kean, but I am also a part time graduate student at NJIT. Within this semester at NJIT, I am currently taking Advanced Information Design. The core of this course is to pick an interesting topic that I am knowledgeable about to creating an eLearning tutorial. Knowing in the back of my mind that I potentially want to use the Writing Process for my thesis project, I decided to go with turning the Writing Process into my topic of my ID course. As I continued to learn more about Instructional Design and apply my knowledge of the Writing Process to my project, an idea popped in my head; “This eLearning is actually coming out pretty cool! Now how can I put this to practical use?” My target audience for this project is 3rd grade students, so why not use real 3rd grade students? This is where my research took a turn in the perfection direction! Not only will this tool be potentially impact, I am also gaining experience in the practical use of Instructional Design. I am excited to see where this research takes me!
During my time serving as a Reading Coach under the organization AmeriCorps, I was assigned within a 2nd grade English Language Arts class. Within the two years, 2018-2020, that I have served, I noticed a common phenomenon that appeared for each class of 2nd grade students I worked with. These 2nd grade students had and continue to have struggles within approaching writing. The issue of writing that I am referring to is not the physical mechanics of writing (i.g. Handwriting, constructing sentences, spelling, etc.), what I am referring to is the process of writing.
The Writing Process can be defined as the following: A writing process describes the series of physical and mental actions that people take in the course of producing any kind of text. With that said, coming into my second term as a Reading Coach alongside my first year as a graduate student within the M.A. in English Writing Studies program, I have come to an understanding of this phenomenon within my classroom. My research study is to test the effectiveness of my program T.A.W.P in aiding students with the Writing Process.
Currently in my first semester as a part-time online graduate student at NJIT, I am taking the Advanced Information Design course. Within this course, we were assigned to pick a topic that we would like to turn into an eLearning course module; the topic should be an area of study that we are both passionate about and have knowledge on. I chose teaching the Writing Process to 3rd students, to help aid in the learning gap when approaching writing. The T.A.W.P program is the variable at play, that I am testing to see if it will cause a change in the students’ learning.
Below is a screenshot of my eLearning (T.A.W.P) content home page:
Turning Theory into Practice: Applying Phenomenology to Art!
Like many of my post about these different methodologies, I try to make sense of them by applying it to my own research question. In the case of this methodology, I aim to take a different approach; in stead of applying this theory to my own research question, I will apply it to my original love… Art! Since phenomenology is the methodology associated with the phenomenon of how humans experience reality, I believe the studying of my own art goes well wit it! If you have time, please take a glimpse through this article… it is what gave me the idea to use phenomenology in this way. For clarification, this is not a full on research, but more so a test drive of the methodology in a simplistic form. I will be using the format used in the above article I summarized.
The research paradigm of a studyundertaken
The selection of topic I will be going with is the following: How does my experience and understanding within me reading different novels showcase through my art? I am pretty sure this question can defined way better, but we will go with this for now. I think this research method is good for my question because like the article said, “Phrenologists, in contrast to positivists, believe that the researcher cannot be detached from his/her own presupposition and the researcher should not pretend otherwise.” In short, I am to put my already prejudged ideas about my own art and how I experience them.
Locating the research participants/informants
In the case of my “research question”, I am my own research participant.
The way the data would be gather for my research question is by collecting and keep track of each painting/art design I do for each book that I read in the span of time that I will do the research.
I would keep digitized version of each art piece alongside the books.
Explicitation of the data
Validity and truthfulness
Since this is my sample mini version of the research methodology, I stopped at Explicitaion due to me not completely understanding! With that, it was interesting to put this theory to the text.
I would like to first start off by defining Discourse Analysis: “In discourse analysis, the context of a conversation is taken into account as well as what’s being said. This context may encompass a social and cultural framework, including the location of a speaker at the time of the discourse, as well as nonverbal cues such as body language, and, in the case of textual communication, it may also include images and symbols (hyperlink: https://www.thoughtco.com/discourse-analysis-or-da-1690462).”
This article is basically addressing how to collect, analyze and in a sense evaluate how data that infers statements, speeches, news, reports, announcements, expressions, and etc. Any and all related to the information and understandings, assumptions, perceptions, attitudes, opinions, or awareness of the employees about IS.
Turning Theory into Practice!My Attempt to Conduct Discourse Analysis…
Bringing it back to practicality and applying this information to my own research question. The population of people my research question is based around are minors (3rd grade students). Discourse analysis is a research method for studying written or spoken language in relation to its social context (hyperlink: https://www.scribbr.com/methodology/discourse-analysis/). Within this article, it gives a basic breakdown of how to conduct discourse analysis. And here, I implement my favorite phrase: “Being practical! Turning theory into practice.”.
Step 1: Define the research question and select the content of analysis
“What is the effectiveness of implementing the digital writing program, T.A.W.P, into a 3rd Grade classroom?”
I am looking into how a digital writing eLearning tool can aid with 3rd Grade students writing. There are many educational programs designed for reading and phoenix. In contrast, there are many programs that teach the motor skills of how to write, but I lack to see any approach writing in interpersonal humanistic form; as in the Writing Process.
Step 2: Gather information and theory on the context
Currently, I am still obtaining my articles of material to give me deeper insight on how to answer my question and ways to approach my instructional material
Step 3: Analyze the content for themes and patterns
This process will be done in alignment with the designated school where the field study will be done.
Step 4: Review your results and draw conclusions
When I draw conclusions, I plan to apply these results from the field study to make necessary changes to the e Learning content, while also developing new learning content.
I am very fortunate to meet the most interesting intellectuals throughout my everyday life! My dear friend and future colleague, Tony Ellis, broke down to me the underlying variables and all that fun stuff into my research question. He is a fellow graduate student who attends Montclair State University and will graduate this upcoming May with his M.A. in Physiology. Just as I. Tony is really into research and wishes to continue his studies as a researcher! Here is a short discussion we had about my research question:
This article gives the reader the breakdown of not just Case Study Research but how to apply practically with student researchers. Case Study Research can be defined as the following: A research strategy and an empirical inquiry that investigates a phenomenon within its real-life context. Case studies are based on an in-depth investigation of a single individual, group or event to explore the causes of underlying principles. In the case of this article, it goes on to use a case study in nursing. This research methodology is often taught in qualitative research and mostly used in the social sciences to understand a particular situation involving a person or a particular group. For more clarification, I watched this youtube video to help me get a better understanding (which really helped!)
Thinking Practical: My thoughts and rebuttal to the Reading
Like all the readings, I like to try to understand the research methodology by putting into practical terms with my own research question: What is the effectiveness of implementing a digital writing tool designed by me, into a 3rd Grade ELA classroom. Even though I am preferbally drawn to the Grounded Theory for my particular research question (Patricia ‘Grounded Theory’ Dennis), I still see ways that I can also use Case Study Research as well. So in this post, I will do a kind of test run through some of the components presented in the article with this theory to display my understanding of it.
Prior to Beginning
The article states, “Time in the field, lengthy interviews and transcription and analysis are all factors that should be thought out well in advance of engaging with participants.” Tieng this back to my own research question, my work as a Reading Coach within a 2nd Grade class for a duration of an entire school year is considered my time in the field. During this duration of time is where I am interacting, engaging, and gathering information on the case: my 2nd Grade students.
Obviously, it would almost be virtually impossible to try and go through this an entire Case Study Research in one week, so I also decided to source another article to give an even more simple breakdown of this research methodology.
“Identifying a case to investigate involves more than choosing the research problem. A case study encompasses a problem contextualized around the application of in-depth analysis, interpretation, and discussion, often resulting in specific recommendations for action or for improving existing conditions.”: In the case of my research question it would inlet going through the students bench mark assessments, previous work, and etc.
Does the case represent an unusual or atypical example of a research problem that requires more in-depth analysis?This may be a bias opinion but in the case of my current 2nd Grade class, they are a case that is unusually low learning level with a continuous representation of that.
Does the case provide important insight or illuminate a previously hidden problem? Yes, yes, and yes! As I stated previously, these particular group of students are known for having low testing and subject matter grades. This issues has been very apparent to me while working with them. This is how my research question was born!
This article goes on to further breakdown the questions, process, and steps to take in order to see if your proposed questions fits the framework of Case Study Research.
Quite honestly, in my opinion I think this type of research methodology would be ideal for those looking to solve underling issues that are not either addressed or solved. I think this research methodology would best fit when trying to solve issues within a classroom (speaking the perspective of a teacher, Ms. P!)
Response to Migilaccio, Todd & Melzer, Dan. Using Grounded Theory in Writing Assessment. The WAC Journal Volume 22 (2011): 78-88
Grounded Theory in a general understanding involves the collection and analysis of data. The theory is considered “grounded” in the data collected, which in short translates the analysis and development of theories happens after collecting the data. This theory is considered towards qualitative theory, but can be used in different areas of research.
To simplify it even more, the best way I can put it is the following: “Think of Grounded Theory that is “grounded” from raw data/information to create a new theory all your own! You gather the data and code it. Meaning you categorize it based on the levels of importance… (Dennis & Mentor 2020).”
I found the reading Using Grounded Theory in Writing Assessment very interesting because it made me look at my own research question and ponder on the idea of using Grounded Theory to approach my question.Delving into the article, Grounded Theory is used to approach writing assessment, which most students across all disciplines have struggling doing. The idea of writing itself can be daunting for both students and instructors; in the case for this article it is the sociology department faculty and students.
Another aspect of the article that I found interesting was the way that Grounded Theory would benefit not just one discipline such as composition but for writing in all disciplines. “As a research methodology that emphasizes dialogue, context, and a relationship between analysis and theory building, grounded theory aligns… , constructivist trends in writing assessment, and it can be presented to departments across disciplines as an alternative to the more traditional, positivist approach of formulating a rubric, scoring essays, and writing up a report to gather dust in an administrator’s file cabinet (Migliaccio & Melzer, pgs 79-80 ).” Quite honestly, I think many students who struggle to meet the criteria of writing assessment rubrics would benefit from the research and results from this theory. We are growing in age of writing becoming humanistic, instead of facts on facts.Grounded Theory all in sense, to my understanding is backtracking your steps in the data that you gather with something new and profound to aid to information to solve an issue.
The more I read and began to understand the “groundedness” of Grounded Theory, the more I began to evaluate how I have been already obtaining my own raw data with my past and current 2nd Grade students. From annotating their writing over the course of the school year, tracking their reading log amount/content, 1-on-1 conferences, and other supplement material I create to help them with their writing assessments/assignments.
This reading helped me feel more confident in my own research question and what research methodology I would use to research my question, which is the following: What is the effectiveness of implementing a Digital Literacy designed learning tool (by me) into a control group within a 3rd ELA class? To elaborate on that question, I was then asked by Dr. Nelson my purpose, data, and intentions on how I would answer my question:
The question I proposed is important to me because working as a Reading Coach in an urban school, I see the issue a lot of my students face when it comes to writing. They need that extra in class support to understand the concept of the writing process and how to approach it. Unfortunately, it is not common to have in class support in all classrooms. I want to design eLearning content that focuses on the issues of writing that our students face today.
The data I would need to collect in order to answer this question is observing the students and how they process writing, some of their writing throughout the course of the year, and working with the students in a classroom setting. Working as a Reading Coach for 2nd Grade students, I already have and continue to gather this type of data as I work with the age group. My plan is to follow this same class to the next grade to use the e Learning content that I am designing based on the information I have and currently gaining while working with them. My next steps are to do more research on the usage of digital literacies tools within an ELA classroom setting and to also get started on the IRB process in order for me to come back next school year to work with them.
The basic understanding that I took away from this article is the idea of Linear Writing versus Hypertext Writing and what population of students most benefits from each technique. Hypertext is defined as being a non-linear way of presenting information. Students usually use this method to follow their own path when trying to give meaning to material assigned, rather than the order an author wants them to follow. As for Linear-Writing, then can be defined as starts at the beginning and plows through to the end without going back to change or fix things. Using charts and analysis gathered from the case study of two male teachers and their groups of students, we are able to see the effective and productiveness of using each method.
My thoughts and rebuttals to the article
To be quite honest, I was (and still am) confused on the exact methodology that was used and how to understand the charts, grafts, and statistics behind this research. What I did really take away from this reading is the terms Hypertext, Linear, Non-Linear, and Hierarchy; which were outlined by Emily in her presentation. The way I attempt to cope with my understanding and new material being learned is putting it into practical use. When I think of Hypertext, I think of my blogs! When I am writing out my blogs, I tend to hypertext certain words, phrases, or sentences that I feel are of importance. I use this method for several reasons:
I think as a UX (user experience) designer. If something I am trying to say is not simplistic enough, I will hyperlink the text to send them to my source of information.
I try to be as accurate with my information as much as possible, so I like to send people to the source of where I receive my information from.
I just think it’s fun to give more information! I just hope that people are just as excited to learn about information as much as I am.
As I touched upon in our class discussion for Emily’s presentation, being of the millennium generation, I understand both versions of education before and after shaving advanced technology. The old day of turnitin, we had a computer base the determined if information we used in our writing were of our original work or plagiarized. If Hypertext was introduced around that time of my undergraduate academic career, I would have had less drafts of my essays that needed to be. In my eyes, I see hypertext is almost like a form of works cited without physically making the page (but I am not knocking work cited pages because they are definitely needed!). But the point I am trying to make is Hypertext is a new tool that I believe is an essential part of the writing process. I see Hypertext to be another essential to students who just can not get it right the “traditional way”. I also found the statement Dr. Nelson madea saying that we have been using Hypertext all the while without even realising it. The notes on the footer of the articles and essay most college students would be reading contain more expanded knowledge on the content at hand. SO in reality the tool has always been there, just in a different setting. I also liked what Emily stated in her reaction paper, “Looking past the flaws throughout this experimental article, I agree with Braaksma, Rijlaarsdam, and van Bergh when it comes to teaching adolescents writers the advantages of hypertext writing. In the long run, this will help them succeed in their future writing assessments and expand their creative minds.”
Information to back up my thoughts and rebuttals!
Once I was able to put into terms exactly Hypertext, I did my own bit of research. I found this article that talks about the benefits of teaching hypertext to our students.
The article goes on to talk about the history of hypertext and purposes of creating it. Due to my straining from so much reading, I was only able to bring myself to reading this article in hope of more clarification.
Wrapping it up: Coming back full circle
So in short, this article was both confusing and informative. My learning outcome were the following:
Define Hypertext and its uses
The usefulness of teaching it to young writers
The experimental study of Hypertext v. Linear-text in a classroom setting
Putting findings into practical use
Sidenote: I hope I did pretty descent for this first article!
The project theme for my Writing Theory and Practice course this semester has been the theory and ideas behind voice. From finding you voice as an identity, to applying voice to pedagogical practice: the power of voice is limitless. With that said, my contribution to the class project is turning theory into practice. Using the practical work as a Reading Coach for 2nd grade students, I was able to come up with a simple, fun, and constructive way to help my students to take control of their learning and to find their voice in the young world of academia!
Learning goals book: month of december
With the help from two of my students, they were the first two to test out these new personally designed books I made for an ongoing practice to help my students. These books are called Learning Goals Books. These books serve as another medium of communication between my students and me. In my current (and last year) classroom settings, the class ratio of teachers to students was 3:24. Even with that being the case, to target every students with specific needs (ESL, IEPs, and cultural difference, just to name a few) can make instruction time quite hard in an ELA class. Going off of my own observation, writing and speaking seems to be two of the main issues plaguing my students. Building a sound foundation for rhetoric and composition is essential for our young scholars to be successful in the rest of their academic journey. This book was produce by research that I gained as a current grad student, practical experience as a Reading Coach, and the creativity of the artist in me to help give my students their voice.
Cover of the book
These two students were very excited to be the ones to test out the books! Below is an audio recording of our interaction with introducing the books. To the right is my young scholar friends holding their books that they designed!
Opening the books: Sticky notes to ms. p!
This is where the communication begins! Just before we dive into the sticky notes, you can hear in the audio the excitement and fun that my students had getting and decorating their new books. As shown above are the “sticky notes” that my students will use to communicate with me. Listen to the audio below for more in depth instructional time.
SHARING OUR EXCITEMENT ABOUT LEARNING!
This next audio is just us sharing our sticky note response to the question; I am excited about learning:
The following recording is the second prompt on the sticky note that asks the following: I still need help with___. This portion of the sticky note is where the students take control over what they want to target and gain more skills about.
FEED BACK TIME!
The next audio is us mapping out how we are going obtain these goals! It was so cute watching my students fumble over their words because they did not know how to exactly say what they wanted. I was able to understand what they were trying to convey.
last remarks/back of book
This last recording is concluding remarks with reassuring the schedule of their books, how they will be used, and the reward for meeting their goals! I am very excited ot see what the last week of December brings for us!
I am very excited and pleased that the books turned out this way. As I continually stated, this project will continue on for the rest of the school year to see where it takes the students. This tool is mainly used towards my “targeted students” that I see are having trouble with certain things throughout the school year. There will be a different set of students each month, depending on their needs and areas that need improvement. Please checkout my last blog post: https://learningthroughthearts.home.blog/2019/12/07/turing-theory-into-practice-giving-students-a-voice/ to see the research behind my little books! Thank you for stopping by and checking out my project, Namaste.
Just teaching at our students is not enough for them to gain a proper education. In my now second year serving as a Reading Coach through AmeriCorps, I have been able to see my previous statement as a reality; for students that I had and currently have the pleasure to work with. The current population of students I serve are urban city students, who are first generation English speakers. My second grade students have humbled me to the idea that students should have control over their education. The issue that comes into play is that, who will actually listen to them?
During my first year as a Graduate Student, I have been able to put the theory from my courses into practice with my second graders. Through different creative exercises, discovery learning outcomes, and putting play into learning, I have a new understanding as to what is best for my students. With that said, I have come to these, and many other conclusion, by doing the following for my students : Listening to them! No, I am not the perfect educator, but I am willing to hear their ideas and stories because they have so much to say! The following three areas are where I see my students’ voice needs to be heard the most: Voice in their writing, the silenced dialogue, and ESL learners.
THE CULTURE OF POWER
This snippet of the article kind of breaks down the forms of power and how it plays a role in education. I found the first three points to be the ones most suitable to meet the needs of the classroom.
(1)Issues of power are enacted in classrooms.
Power of teacher over students. Teachers ultimately choose the learning.
(2) There are codes or rules for participating in power
Linguistic forms, communicative strategies, and presentation self.
(3) The rules of the culture of power are are a reflection of the rules of the culture of those who have power
The success in institutions – schools, workplaces, and etc – is predicated upon acquisition of the culture of those in power
“Many liberal educators hold that the primary goal for education is for children to become autonomous, to develop fully who they are in the classroom setting without having arbitrary, outside standards forced upon them.”
“The dilemma is not really in the debate over instructional methodology. But rather in communicating across cultures and in addressing the more fundamental issue of power, of whose voice gets to be heard in determining what is best for poor children and children of color.”
ESL students are defined as the following: People who come to live in an English – speaking country, and do not speak English very well (http://www.learnersdictionary.com/definition/ESL) . With research on the topic of ESL students as an undergraduate, and my current experience as a Reading Coach, I’ve been able to have both the education and field experience with the ESL student population. In the aspect of learning English in an academic setting, ESL students may have a harder time understanding the “standard English” that is accepted into the world of academia. By trying to speak this academic English language, many issues may appear in their writing. Unfortunately, the academic system in most native – English speaking countries only see writing as a way of truly understanding English “correctly”. Even many native – English speaking student writers have trouble with writing and the process it takes to become a good writer. With that said, we as educators (on all platforms) must approach ESL students in a manner that both benefits them and their best interest to grow as writers. Now that I have made a clear understanding of the position where the ESL students stand, it is now appropriate to introduce the article.
Most public schools have approximately a class size of a 1:23 ratio of teacher to students. It is quite challenging for one teacher to address the specific needs of every student, especially if they have slight extra baggage (disabilities, IEPs, ESL, etc.); this is where tutors come into play. As I stated previously, tutors’ roles are to aid with the writing process, to help students develop their writing. Unfortunately, even tutors must address the elephant in the room: Tutors need help and pointers on how to work with ESL students. Unlike native – English speakers, ESL students have deeper rooted issues with their writing, that might even be a handful for tutors. This article is a breath of fresh air for tutors who have students that come from ESL backgrounds. The reading goes on to break down into 11 subcategories that tutors may face with their students and options to help their situation.
voice in writing
“Writers in fact depend on readers’ willingness to stay with a text, even a difficult one, without judging it prematurely on the basis of its apparent violation of their own perspectives or impressions of some subject.”
“I found the first three points to be the ones most suitable to meet the needs of the classroom.” But unfortunately, we do not see in the case of our young beautiful writers. This writing stigma is built upon the relationship we have between them as student and teacher (I am currently very guilty of this with my 2nd Graders).
“When we consider how writing is taught, however, this normal and dynamic connection between a writer’s authority and the quality of a reader’s attention is altered because of the peculiar relationship between teacher and student.”
Due to teachers feeling that they have this intellectual and experienced authority over the students writing, we try to have a say over what type of voice the student is trying to have inn their writing. We come in with having the best intentions, but it falls short when we let this authority ego take over.
Sticky note to ms. p!
This is my project for the theme of voice in writing and education, I am giving my students the chance to voice their opinions and input on how they want to shape their education.
I created this replica of a “sticky note” that my students are accustomed to me using when I give them feedback on their writing. For each month, I will give my students theses replica sticky notes as weekly personal learning goal setters. At the beginning of each week, the students will take 5 minutes to fill out the sticky note so that we can work on their goals for the week. For my project, I will share some completed books on my blog!
Your blog post for this week should be a description of your own personal goals for this project. This is not an invitation to share your freewriting. Rather, your blog post should be a more polished or cohesive narrative (or summary-description) of what you have learned from the freewriting. In your blog reflection, please identify learning outcomes that matter the most to you. What do you want to learn? In addition, please describe a few project concepts that you have developed in order to realize the learning outcomes that are most meaningful to you. In other words, please describe a few project concepts with as much detail as possible. What do you want to make? Why? – http://writingtheorypractice.miazamoraphd.com/
The passage above are instruction for this week’s blog post. Now that my class and I have gone through all the scholarly articles and presentations within our cohort, there is just one final thing to do… PROJECT time. To refresh my readers for the goal of this course, I am using this blog platform for. It is to introduce incoming grad students within the M.A. in English Writing Studies program into theory behind the pedagogy of writing. This class has been nothing short of amazing! But this blog is not a class reflection blog, it is of my own personal and development blog.
To jump into the question Dr. Zamora has presented to the class, my learning outcome that are most meaningful to me is to use all my new resources and knowledge from this course (alongside my other courses) to apply to both my filed of work and future academic path. Unfortunately, during our freewrite time in class I was only able to produce obituary ideas that was just something to get down on to paper. When Dr. Zamora proposed these questions, I was a bit upset and confused. Throughout all my academic training, I was always TOLD what to do, not what do I want to do. So this question had me quite stuck in my thoughts. Not until I finished presenting my own presentation that I was able to give the appropriate answer to Dr. Zamora proposed question.
In reality, my fellow academics are the ones I need to thank for helping me come to what learn outcomes the matters to me the most from this course. I will not say this classmate’s name (she is an AMAZING poet!), but her comments about my presentation stood out to me the most. My poet friend told me, “I can easily see you with your PhD!”, and I thought to myself, “Is the woman really serious!?” So throughout this entire week I have been pondering on that comment she made to me. With that said, I began my research in possible PhD programs that I feel would be a fit for me and I for it.
So what is the point of this narrative you may ask? The answer is this: My learning outcomes that matter the most to me is producing work that I can potentially be apart of a scholarly journal, conference, or applied to real life field work. My first semester as a grad student has shown me that everything I have learned always makes a full circle to connect to my potential academic and real life career goals.
With that said, some projects that have come to me are the following:
Creative piece surrounded around the idea of the writing process (alongside a piece of academic writing
Addressing the issues of the RED PEN affect (of course art is going to be implemented!)