Mini Essay 3

Prashant Patel Concepts of Thinking About Writing and My Own Philosophy ENC 5705 Professor. Mathew Bryan 03-22-2020

I. Introduction:

The broad scope of readings that comprise this unit helped students of this course to appreciate the ideas, theories, and predispositions that assisted key scholars in informing their approaches to writing and writing instruction. In shaping a rhetorical context that could help facilitate an individual to comprehend the extent of the significance of a particular theory. Individual students in this class framed each of their analysis, using many factors. A discussion of these factors included what are the values that undergirded a particular theory? How can this theory contribute to furthering an students appreciation in the relationship that exists between writing composition and rhetoric?
The purpose behind discussing the importance of ideas, concepts, and predispositions that help form a scholar’s philosophy is that it can help a student identify the principles which they value that helps form their own perspective. This paper will include a discussion of the following:

What perspective does each philosophy take, about writing in the classroom?
What ideas and principles from the readings do I hope to integrate into my teaching philosophy in the future?
A discussion of how the theories that were a part of this unit interact with one another? To form a cohesive approach to the instruction of writing.
These questions are intended to shape and place into context an argument that the writers of the readings that comprise Unit 3 have. They developed their approaches to instructing students on how to think differently about writing by discussing the interrelationship between developing new models of teaching writing against traditional forms of assignment design. 

II. What are the values that are present in each philosophy?

Each of the readings that are discussed within the context of this unite espoused a particular principle that undergirds the argument that the authors are making in each article. For example, in the article titled ” Teaching about writing. Righting Misconceptions: (Re)envisioning “First-Year Composition” as “Introduction to Writing Studies” author’s Douglas Downs and Elizabeth Wardle, advocate a principle that appreciates the individual student’s skills to think and to integrate experiences to frame a certain amount of knowledge which shapes their perspective on writing.
For example, Downs and Wardle proposed that writing assignments should be redesigned to elicit experiences that can, in turn, create an impotence for class discussion (Downs and Wardle 561). In this in devour instructors could assign literary narratives or autoethnography’s that would ease the abilities of students to reflect on their education of composition which would stimulate students to think differently about how they approach certain problems or issues in writing. (Downs and Wardle 561).
The discussion above is important for future educators of writing composition in that what the authors are suggesting is that educators must engender classroom environments that permit their students to combine thinking critically along with trying to extract an emotional response to a piece in connecting a piece of composition to a personal experience.
Moreover, the ideas of Downs and Wardle can disabuse certain misperceptions that scholars in writing studies and intellectuals outside of the field have in terms of the purpose of writing instruction. Downs and Wardle state that “there is a common misperception within writing studies today that college writing can be taught in 1-2 semesters of instruction” (Downs and Wardle 552). This, in turn, assumes that students can transfer their knowledge from one learning environment to another (Downs and Wardle 553). However, scholarly research has shown this is not the case. (Downs and Wardle 553).

Therefore, professors of writing instruction must develop different methods to task assignments to illustrate that writing is a complex topic that cannot assume to be taught in 1-2 semesters of university instruction. However, in contrast to valuing freedom in the article “Designing and Assessing Effective Classroom Writing Assignments for NES and ESL Students”, author Joy Reid and Barbara Kroll argue that courses that instruct native speakers and individuals who consider English their second language must incorporate the development of assignments that have clear objectives connected to goals of the assignments which are then connected to explicit directions of what is expected for the completion of the task.

The authors of this piece say:
“ In other words, academic writing is a form of testing. Instead of testing class content or communication skills by multiple-choice or true-false formats, writing assignments ask students to “perform” to demonstrate their knowledge and skill by composing and presenting written material. And like all tests, the completed writing assignment will be assessed. Criteria for evaluation of these writing “tests” differ according to the class, and the criteria for evaluation may be overt, covert or even unconscious” (Reid and Kroll 18).
In unpacking this quotation, we can understand that the writers of the article value the teaching of writing as a skill of demonstration rather than general knowledge. For that to occur it is key that writing assignments are created in such a way that makes objectives of the task clear that in turn would facilitate the inadequate assessment of the document (Reid and Kroll 19). What underlies this value is that the authors believe that writing is a structured process that requires the relationship between a student and his or her instructor to have certain elements of clarity and transparency on both sides. In instructing both native language speakers and those who consider English a second language. This perspective of instruction differs greatly from how Wardle and Downs look at the purpose of English instruction.
Downs and Wardle are more interested in how writing engenders multiple answers to problems this includes the responsibility of the professor to create an environment in which individuals are permitted to integrate their own experiences into writing. For Downs and Wardle, the result of writing is to permit human beings to flourish and to grow. Whereas Kroll and Reid are more interested in examining how designating certain assignments illustrates a different perspective of knowledge in how different groups of students understand an assignment.
Moreover, they also value a principle that requires an instructor to be responsible for a sense of clarity that is necessary for how the assignment is written to ensure that the students understand the concept behind the assignment, such as how the objectives are connected to the overall goal. 

III. What perspective does each philosophy take, about writing in the classroom?

The discussion of Downs and Wardle’s article has informed ways in which scholars can reconceptualize how the instruction of writing informs teaching in the classroom. In her article “Mutt Genres”, Elizabeth Wardle advocates that writing practitioners ” reevaluate the propensity for writing instruction to be centered around specialized genres in the academy” (Wardle 767). Wardle argues that instruction of first-year writing composition classes should be designed to instruct students how to think differently about writing instead of teaching students how to write (Wardle 767).
A key criticism that Wardle presents towards designing courses around genres is that genres involve examining issues that only pertain to specific rhetorical situations. For example, designing a course around the genre of gender rhetoric and writing teachers who are experts in rhetorical feminism form certain exigency or problems that only answer to the rhetorical solution provided by gender studies. Thus, creating a misconception that writing exigencies only exist for short periods and rhetorical situations are eliminated when that particular exigency is solved (Wardle 768).
The problem that is being identified is that in general genres restrict a student’s ability to frame answers in multiple rhetorical fashions that can help them adapt to multiple writing environments (Wardle 768). Therefore, Wardle thinks of general genres as being the construction of social knowledge of objects events and interests that only make sense to people who create them. Thus, genres only provide temporal solutions to temporal problems(Wardle 768). 

This can be connected to the actual instruction of writing in the classroom since instructors of writing have commonly misperceived writing studies to be an actual genre (Downs 770). Therefore, we must eliminate or disabuse the thinking that first-year writing courses are concepts are specific genres that only can be specifically applied to certain situations. In the end, writing instructors must create a formalized way of integrating writing concepts from other fields and subjects that allow first-year composition students access to the content that is required to practice the type of writing that is necessary to be successful in those fields (781).
One resolution that Wardle provides is to reframe the content of writing instruction in first-year composition courses not to serve as “mutt genres” but as boundaries that actively function as bridges to various disciplinary genres (Wardle 782). This idea is connected to her previous article that is co-written with Douglas Downs, in that both articles make clear the value that classroom instruction must not confine a student to a particular pattern of thinking and performance in terms of understanding the purpose of writing.
For example, research assignments are traditionally confined to the writing of papers and forcing a student to develop a systematic technique of examining primary and secondary sources. As well as constructing arguments based on the evaluation of what other people have said. According to Downs and Wardle, this genre of research creates situational problems that constrict a student’s ability to form their own ideas on a topic.
Therefore, instead of limiting knowledge instructors should reform how they design research assignments as rhetorical tools such as discourse analysis that allow students to make connections within boundaries that are manageable for them (Wardle and Downs 563).

IV. What ideas and principles from the readings do I hope to integrate into my teaching philosophy in the future?

There are two central concepts from this unit that I will use which will help me form my writing philosophy. I will frame this discussion around how I have interacted with the ideas presented in this essay throughout my educational career. In terms of discussing the interrelationship between the pieces by Downs and Wardle and Kroll and Reid, the ideas expressed in these articles will inform my approach to how I construct assignments. I learned that assignments must be constructed in such a way that provides clarity to the students that are seeking to complete the assignment.
However, the professor must provide opportunities in which students have alternative ways to connect or bridge ideas. For example, instead of a standard research paper, I might assign students to engage in a discussion format where they demonstrate the concepts of writing in talking through the complexity of a concept and then requiring them to demonstrate how these concepts interweave into the writing of a document.
This activity will serve two purposes. First, it would clarify key concepts and rules that are confusing and provide a space for the students to think differently about writing. I encountered this technique during my high school years in which my 11th-grade writing instructor would pair a class of 12 into 4 teams of 3. An aspect of this assignment was to design a discussion panel in which each student took a concept of a book or article and spoke about the relevance of the article to the overall project. Then used those concepts to form an overall perspective towards the significance of the piece.

Towards the end of the experience, I understood that the intent behind it was to inform the student how the different perspectives of each student can be interwoven to form an overall paradigm to that particular writing assignment. Moreover, this type of assignment design permits flexibility and adaptability in the future in which a student can modify how they go about conceptualizing and interweaving a multitude of concepts.
The writing of Joseph Petraglia will also inform my future teaching philosophy in that I will come to form my beliefs about teaching from the point of view that writing itself is an unnatural act. This underscores the fact that as writing courses within a university setting must not be too rigged in terms of focusing on general skills of writing instruction. This will help an instructor realize that all students do not learn the same way and at the same pace. Most importantly it will emphasize the need for appreciating how students use their cognitive talents to form unique rhetorical practices that accentuate aspects of rhetorical flexibility (Petraglia 84-85 & 89). I have personally witnessed this approach throughout my education in writing. 
For example, in college, the professors who taught the first-year writing courses presented the first writing assignment of the semester by creating an assignment that required the students of the class to think about their writing environment in terms of location, time and situation. After writing the piece he then instructed students to form groups to find out if they had common writing styles.
This approach intended to inform the instructor that the different commonalities that a student can share with another makes them different. Also, they must be permitted to attack writing problems that come in many different forms by intergrading their diverse techniques of how to think about the act of writing. In the end, my writing philosophy in the future will be one that consists of adapting to how a particular student thinks about writing, while still providing clear objectives that are connected to manageable issues for them to write about.

V. A discussion of how the theories that were a part of this unit interact with one another? To form a cohesive approach to the instruction of writing

 In this section, I will frame my response in terms of how the scholars of Unit 3 and their documents can form a unified approach to teaching writing. The key emphasis of all of the reading identified methodologies and approaches that seek to take advantage of the diverse cognitive abilities of their students. For example, in Downs and Wardle’s piece, both authors discuss ways in how redesigning assignments and facilitating avenues in where students can think differently about writing in terms of framing assignments in alternative models.This is shown in having students discuss a discourse analysis or integrate their experiences within a writing assignment.

Another factor that can influence a unified approach to writing instruction is to deemphasize the importance of formal rules in writing in terms of their relationship to the actual context of the writing document. In emphasizing formal rules or instruction or genres, instructors circumscribed how various theories of how writing can be applied to other situations. Thus, limiting first-year writing instructors to teach their students how to think differently about writing for different fields.  Thereby, confining the student to the limitation of the context on the page.

Work Cited

Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth Wardle. “‘Mutt Genres’ and the Goal of FYC: Can We Help Students Write the Genres of the University?” Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, 2015, pp. 1–16., doi:10.7330/9780874219906.c000b.
Petraglia, Joseph. “Writing as an Unnatural Act.” College Composition and Communication, vol. 47, no. 3, 1996, p. 441., doi:10.2307/358314.
Reid, Joy, and Barbara Kroll. “Designing and Assessing Effective Classroom Writing Assignments for NES and ESL Students.” Journal of Second Language Writing, vol. 4, no. 1, 1995, pp. 17–41., doi:10.1016/1060-3743(95)90021-7.
“Teaching about ‘Writing Misconceptions: (Re)Envisioning ‘First-Year Composition’ as ‘Introduction to Writing Studies.’” College Composition and Communication, vol. 15, no. 3, 1964, p. 192., doi:10.2307/354984.

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