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  • 7/30/2019 3) Project 4 Draft


    We are good at writing or we are not. Good writers do not use personal or

    first person forms in their writing. Good writing is formulaic. How many times have

    we heard these things being thrown at us as writers? If youre anything like me than

    the answer is to many. Everyone has a slightly different definition of what

    successful writing is, but to me successful writing is presenting an original claim in a

    manner that can be supported by experts and evidence so that the reader is

    persuaded to either agree with the author or at least understand what the author is

    saying. If the audience understands what the author has intended to say I consider

    writing a success. Being a good writer or putting forth successful pieces of writing

    can occur in a number of ways or situations. In my English 1510 class this idea has

    been proven time and time again. By looking at a then and now lens of my own

    writing it is obvious that good writing is more than just following simple social

    constructs. It is a process that is continuous and never ending delving into concepts

    such as conversation, literacy, discourse communities, identity and reflection.

    Looking into the concepts that were just listed there is one place that makes

    it easy to define what good writing is. In the English 1510 Course Syllabus one

    statement zeroes in on what makes writing successful. The statement says, this

    course is meant to provide practice in composing and revising expository essays

    that are well organized, logically coherent, and effective for their purpose and

    audience (Johnson 1). I think that it is fair to say that a class based completely on

    writing is a good place to start when it comes to putting together an original

    definition of what good writing is. Looking into the statement that is made it is easy

    to see that to a large extent good writing is, well organized, logically coherent, and

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    effective for their purpose and audience. The syllabus goes on to include

    conversation, literacy, discourse communities, identity and reflection in its key

    concepts for the outcome of the course. This means that these concepts play a part

    in writing being considered successful.

    Now that successful writing has been defined it is important to define the

    parts that make it up. Starting in order look at conversation. What exactly is

    conversation? In the writing sense conversation is the understanding that,

    Research is an ongoing process of knowledge production Reading is an

    active process of generating meaning in conversation with a textWriting is

    the production of meaning within social conversations Writing is an open,

    recursive process (Johnson 1-2)

    Essentially conversation is the summed up as the ability to hear or read what is

    being said in an attempt to form an original opinion and enter the conversation that

    has already been taken in. This includes synthesizing and connecting multiple

    pieces of text with the ability to discover relevant and timely issues relating to the

    information as well as being able to constantly refine ones own text in an attempt to

    develop flexible strategies of editing. Summarized into a brief statement the

    conversation aspect of successful writing is essentially being able to hear what other

    people are saying about any given topic, form an educated opinion, and express that

    opinion while constantly being able to refine the original claim. This ties into the

    next concept literacy.

    Literacy is defined in the course outcomes as, The acquisition of literacy as a

    shifting cultural value dependent on economic circumstance, socio-material access,

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    and institutional and cultural sponsorship Understand literacy as constrained and

    regulated by writing technologies. (Johnson 2). This definition of literacy includes

    being able to analyze and identify the acquisition of literacies through the areas of

    influence, access, and sponsorship. Also, being able to utilize multiple forms of

    media as well as understanding how certain constraints specific to technology and

    media influence literacy is important in tying this piece to successful writing.

    Moving forward down the list of concepts discourse communities arises.

    This area is defined as, Writing is constrained and enabled by writing

    communitiesWriters make choices to conform or resist conventions (Johnson 3).

    Knowing who is being targeted, what genres are being featured, how writing is

    being constrained, producing original texts that conform or resist conventions, and

    specifically situating arguments within ongoing relevant conversations are

    important concepts key to good writing that are encompassed in the definition of

    discourse communities.

    Second to last we see identity is a key concept. Identity is touched on by

    saying, identity is always implicated in writing Identity emerges through

    writingDiscourse communities encourage and promote or discourage and even

    exclude certain identities (Johnson 3-4). These ideas encompass analyzing texts in

    terms of how authors negotiate identity, using writing as a means of exploring

    identity, strategically transgressing or conforming to conventions and genre


    Lastly the final key concept that is mentioned is reflection. Reflection is

    thought of as, a reflexive process requiring writers to be conscious of their own

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    writing and to apply meta-knowledge about writing to analyze and improve their

    writing and writing processes (Johnson 4). Reflection is a part of analyzing and

    critiquing writing for effectiveness and applying acquired knowledge about writing

    to improve overall as a writer. Essentially reflection allows for mistakes to be

    identified and strengths to be magnified in further editions of a particular piece or in

    pieces further down the road.

    Looking at my own text it is evident that successful writing is more than just

    following inaccurate social constructs that many people think constitute good or

    successful writing. We have already established what successful writing is and what

    it is comprised of. This makes it easy to analyze my work and how I have grown as a

    writer. Because everyone has a different idea of what successful writing is I might

    not be classified as a success according to everyone that reads my work, but by the

    standards that have been established and certainly by my own standards I feel

    that my work shows successful elements. I have chosen certain works that I have

    deemed appropriate for demonstrating this. I have chosen the first project as well

    as a reading response that accompanied that project.

    Firstly, I have chosen the Kleine reading response to preface my first project.

    I think that this particular reading response does a great job of showing some of the

    strengths and weaknesses I had then then being before I wrote my first project.

    Starting with the positives, I think I do a good job of clearly expressing my

    ideas. The very first thing that I say is, In his article What Is It We Do When We

    Write Articles Like This One - and How Can We Get Students to Join Us?Michael Kleine

    attempts to find a way to help educators teach their students a more efficient,

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    passionate, and ultimately more professional way to research - not unlike the

    research patterns of the educators themselves (Powell 1). The sentence is an in

    depth and logical one that is well organized and voices a very clear summary of

    what the article is about. The rest of the summary is similar as I go on to elaborate

    on the rest of the article. This clearly takes care of the conversation part of

    successful writing. I summarize the main purpose and reasoning of the text.

    Another positive can be found in my indirect mention of literacy sponsors.

    While I do not mention literacy directly, it is shown in what I say,

    I was not required to write research papers very often in high school and

    when I did they were exactly how Kleine described what he saw at "the night

    library". He perfectly described my experience with research papers in

    explaining that the overall purpose of the current mindset of young

    researchers is to simply get their paper from point a to b without really

    worrying about the process that is research writing.

    I am connecting a viewpoint I have with a literacy sponsor that has been prevalent

    in my life for a long time school. I did not mention literacy directly, but to my

    defense, it had not been mentioned in class yet I had no way of connecting exactly

    with literacy. This leads me to the belief that I did the best I could with the

    information available to me, and even that idea is an example of the use of literacy in

    this response I am showing an understanding that literacy is a shifting cultural

    value dependent on circumstance.

    Moving on it is evident that by the definition established earlier my response

    is not a completely successful piece of writing. I do not make clear connections

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    between the text and other areas involved in the conversation. In my conversation

    piece of the article I state,

    In my experience Kleine's ideas about the current way research is

    approached is accurate. It seems that research outside of that which is done

    by professors is simply thought of as taking accepted facts and quoting them

    as opposed to entering the continuous dialectical process that is research

    writing. Research writing in high school was not a learning experience at

    all. It was just one more assignment - another grade in the grade book.

    I do make a connection with the article just not one that is tied in with what is

    already being said about the topic. The connection I make is based almost solely off

    of my own experiences.

    Additionally, I fail to make any connection to the concepts comprising

    identity and discourse communities. Also I failed to adequately utilize the reflection

    portion of the five concepts of successful writing. This form of writing the reading

    response format is not necessarily conducive to an adequate reflection portion

    however. I think that this might excuse that failure in the piece.

    Overall the reading response completed the assignment, however, the

    particular piece of writing is not necessarily completely successful. There are

    obvious gaps in the writing from a failure to make connections with a particular

    discourse community to a failure at identifying any sort of identity in the writing.

    Obviously this was one of the first assignments given out in the class and while it

    was not a complete success it definitely served its purpose. I learned a lot from

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    the reading response and used it to better my first project into a successful piece of


    Looking at my first project right away I received a check plus on the paper.

    According to the grading contract this means that I exceeded the expectations for

    the assignment. To me as a student this means I must have fulfilled the overall goal

    of the class. This paper showed that I had, practice in composing and revising

    expository essays that are well organized, logically coherent, and effective for their

    purpose and audience. If I excelled in this I must have excelled in the concepts that

    make up successful writing as well.

    Looking as was with the reading assignment the conversation aspect of

    this project was very well put together. In the paper there is a detailed synthesis

    section stretching two pages. On the second page of the paper I say, Having a

    universal language allows teachers to collaborate and share ideas but more

    importantly allows for a continuous uniformity in what students are taught

    regarding the writing process (Wiley 62), and on the third, This emphasis on

    structure is the only thing that students are taught. This never allows for other types

    of writing to sink in and the inevitable result ends with students clinging to the

    formula like a life raft from which they never want to disembark (Wiley 65). I go

    on to form my own opinion of formulaic writing and how I find it both beneficial as

    well as hurtful. Obviously this demonstrates a clear ability to discover a relevant

    and timely issue within a particular community.

    The quote above additionally demonstrates an understanding of literacy and

    writing discourses. Indirectly the paper makes connections with literacy by

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    explaining how early writers are taught to read, interpret, and write. Also, certain

    genres such as formula writing are mentioned fulfilling an understanding of how

    certain discourse communities are constrained by specific genre use.

    Moving forward down the list Identity is mentioned several times throughout

    the article. This is especially prevalent in the quote give. I demonstrate an

    understanding of how identity emerges through writing by exploring the clinging

    to formulaic writing that young writers often show.

    Finally, I show reflection. I revised my drafts to ultimately come up with the

    final product. I was able to articulate my own theory based off of substantive

    scholarship from other authors.

    Overall I think that this unit if you will can be deemed a success. I

    ultimately included this project and reading response to demonstrate the learning

    that the writing process instilled in me. I became a better writer and it shows

    through the project. From the reading response to the project there can be seen

    vast improvements as well as the success that is defined earlier in this paper. The

    project along with the others that were completed in this class were all deemed

    as well organized, logically coherent, and effective for their purpose and

    audience. My informal writing assignments benefited as well most all of them

    were reflective of the type of paper I turned in that accompanied them.

    As a writer I think that this says I accepted the process. I learned from my

    mistakes and I continued to work hard. I acknowledged the five concepts that make

    up successful writing, and I was able to ultimately achieve the goal of this class.

  • 7/30/2019 3) Project 4 Draft