I liked this form of blogging. I had started my own blog on wordpress over the summer so I was used to the format and felt more comfortable writing in this atmosphere. I feel like I express more of what is on my mind through a blog. In a class full of people I know, I might be a little more quiet or more careful of what I say. On a blog I don’t fully know who my audience is other than that they’re college students, I feel like there’s more freedom on here. Although I know our professors will be looking at this, it doesn’t feel like big brother is watching. Therefore, my tone for blogging is just how I think. However, I still feel the need to write slightly formal.
I liked that this gave us an opportunity to talk to students from other campuses in a similar class. We were able to hear different opinions and have discussions through the comments. It was like Peer Tutors 2.0 being able to connect with other writing centers. It would be neat if we could actually see the other classes through something like Skype and have a class discussion that way. However, this could be better because then everyone would get a chance to talk.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this blog. My only other experience contributing to a blog was in my Writing 20 class, and that was pretty much just a public brainstorming session. I knew everyone on the site from class, so posting there was about the same as talking in class. This blog was a lot more novel for me because I had the chance to get a glimpse into the minds of all these students from around the country that I have never met. Everyone had a slightly different way of looking at things, but we are all tutors working out how exactly to tutor. I really appreciate the interconnectedness that brought. I felt like I had a purpose writing these posts knowing that we were forming a relationship with other students comprised entirely of these little exchanges. It’s like a modern day pen-pal program!
I also loved having the blog as a way to cut loose a little bit after working on literature reviews and research papers. I’m usually a pretty conversational writer, so this felt a lot more comfortable for me. It’s nice speaking in “my own voice”, and it’s been neat hearing the voices of all the different sorts of writers that these programs attract. This blog felt less drily academic and more like a conversational collaboration because we were all sharing a bit of ourselves with each other.
I guess I didn’t know what I was getting into… at all. When I signed up for this class, I honestly didn’t know that I would be tutoring. I know what you’re all thinking, “How would he not know that? Isn’t it in the course description?” Well maybe it is, but apparently I missed that part. But trust me, I couldn’t be happier with how the class has unfolded, and I have loved and gained from the work that we’re doing. The blog was a little unexpected, but the same way I handled the class – I embraced the opportunity. I’ve never written a blog before, and I don’t read any too often (besides barstool), but I thought that it could be a really positive experience. It’s weird writing for an audience who I have never met, know nothing about, and visa versa. My teacher told us that at the end of the semester we would have plenty of couches at Duke and PSU Berks (wherever that is, no offence) to crash on, but sorry Mr. K, I don’t think it worked out that way. I do think that the blog has been incredibly useful though – sparking conversations and debates over writing and tutoring writing is not easy, but I think its safe to say, we did it.
When I started reading the blog I was thoroughly impressed with all of the posts; to be honest, I was even a little intimidated. But after a few posts and responses, I started to feel a lot more comfortable and even connected with the blog. I’d go on all the time just to check out what everyone was writing about and see if I could get in on any juicy debates. The blog, to me, was never an academic assignment, but an educational pastime. In fact, I only found out recently that we were being graded on our posts.
I know what you’re thinking, “This kid seems really out of the loop,” because I just had the same thought myself. But I’m glad that I didn’t know we were getting graded because my blogs would probably been much more boring to read, and I feel that some bloggers remained in their comfort zone just to get a good grade. That being said, I could tell that there were a lot of bloggers who were truly saying what was on their mind, and had a lot of good insights to share. The personal stories were often entertaining and educational, and I appreciate people opening up.
Its sad that the blog is coming to an end because I felt that I was, just now, starting to get the hang of it and find my blogging voice, but I guess all good things come to an end. I appreciate everyone’s posts and inputs and wish you all luck with your future in tutoring. Happy Holidays!
The whole concept of having a public audience versus a friendly, informal, familiar one of friends and classmates in the blogosphere wholly impacts how people speak. Tone and diction revolve around this dilemma. I know for a fact that I had a tendency to use cliches, broader examples, and speech that definitely wasn’t my true voice in preliminary blog posts for the sake of universal connection and understanding. If from the start this was a tutoring blog of just my peers and I, there would be jokes, quotes, memes, and much more in depth debate simply because we could talk literally talk out questions and disagreements. However, within a public arena, postings are made more professional, clever, and well-rounded. People in a public forum, especially in a collaborative one like this blog, don’t exactly banter back and forth from opposite sides of the fence. Rather, bloggers build on each other’s ideas and build more comfortable tones and diction as time passes.
As time went and and we all got to know each other , I think we all felt more comfortable expressing our true selves on the blog. I think that, even if you read the titles of posts or look at the multimodal components of them, you’ll find the the quirkiness and frankness increases with time.
In short, bloggers in the public arena go from F is for Friends who discuss politely in universal, watery language to F is for Friends who “do stuff together” (collaborate, be open, show true opinions and quirks).
I plan on doing my final research project on ESL students. More specifically I want to talk about how their home cultures influence the way they write. We had watched a video the other week that covered the same topic, and it was fascinating. In interviews with a number of ESL students from various countries, the students mentioned how american culture in relation to writing was so different from the home countries, which honestly was never something I even considered as an issue of any sort. For example, a student from latin america mentioned that he felt Americans spoke too quickly and were more concerned with getting to the point of things then setting up a story. Another latin american student supported his statement, saying that it is more typical for an essay in her country to sort of skirt around the central idea until maybe the second page. She said the reason for this was because in her country it was more customary to try and make each sentence “beautiful”, and to not only write an essay, but treat it like a story.
I’ve become fascinated with cultural writing differences since watching the video, so I plan on interviewing a diverse number of ESL students to learn about how they typically write within their culture, if they’ve noticed any differences now having to write within the american culture’s parameters, and their opinions on both.
Aside from interviews, I’m not very set with other research methods. If there are any ideas you’d like to share, or ways you think I can tighten my idea for the project let me know!
Over this semester about 90 percent of my tutees were ESL students. I wanted to my research paper on something related to them. One of my biggest challenges was trying to understand their language to help them understand how it’s different from English. For example, I took five years of French. Let’s say a French speaking student came into the writing center and it became evident in their paper that she was trying to conjugate the verbs like they do in the French language. To make words plural it’s not as easy as adding an “s” to the end of a word. With my experience I would be able to understand where she got the idea to write like that and it would be easier for me to explain how it’s different in English.
So I could do my project on being open to the many languages and forms of writing in other countries.
My other idea would be to about explaining the rules of grammar effectively. As native English speakers, we don’t think too much about the odd rules of English. English is one of the hardest languages to learn because of all of the exceptions to different rules. For example, the plural of goose is geese, but the plural to moose is not meese. David and Matt want to go to London. However Jack wants to go to Italy.
I’m still brainstorming ideas, but I definitely want to write about ESL students because that is who I’ve had most of my experience with. I’m open to any suggestions.
Remember being handed that little handbook from hell in high school? Shining, white, and awful: Strunk and White, The Elements of Style. I can still see it smirking at me from classroom shelves. I remember wondering who gave those two the right to place rules on the English language, especially when all their restrictions seemed so outdated and against my intuition as a writer. Why should I care?
I decided to actually research these inquiries and found that The Elements was outdated in its failure to accommodate language’s changing nature. There is no evolution of the rules with modern usage. I further discovered the rules to be overly subjective. Both Strunk and White broke the rules of Style in their outer writings and even in the guidebook itself, frequently. If they don’t follow their own mandates why should we?
I went on through my research to discover that Strunk and White were still commendable in trying to bring any direction to the grammatical realm of English. Instead of completely debunking their work as I originally though my research would do, I found that a mere addition/revision to The Elements could fix the hypocrisy and limitations of the original rules. You see, the rules told writers WHETHER OR NOT to do something, and not WHY. By adding multiple grammatical variations and the literary effects of choosing each, the limiting aspect of S&W’s work was stymied and the hypocrisy crushed with the advent of personal choice.