Saturday, October 14, 2006

A Few Thoughts, and a Happy Friday the 13th story!

Oh boy! I really haven’t been thinking about what to write for my bibliographic essay. I just learned what it was all about from the link that Dr. Rogers posted. I guess the essays that intrigue me are Harris’ “Engaging Reluctant Writers,” and Bartholomae’s “Inventing the University.”

I like Harris because I really want to understand why some students do not participate in a session. It blows my mind that a student will come in (or even if they come in because they are forced to) and not engage in a session, which will surely benefit them in one way or another if they do. Why would you do that! I also want to read more about the ways a tutor can say no to a student who wants the tutor to do the work for them. I’ve been the victim of this several times, and somehow I continue to cross that line. I think, “Oh, this student needs a lot of help and they aren’t saying anything. I guess I better show them how to do it.” I know better, too. So, that subject would be interesting.

Bartholomae peaks my interest because I have had lower division English students who try to use graduate level language, and their message comes out all twisted up. I remember when I was beginning English 2010 and I tried to do this same thing. Then I realized that I would receive better grades on my papers if I wrote straightforward instead of trying to flower my words up. Wow, this topic is really interesting. I want to find some essays about the psychology of why students write bigger than they can and the consequences it creates in the university. Nifty, eh? I can also connect it to Young's ideas on students making mistakes as their writing level grows.

Okay, I am trying to avoid some homework in one of my classes, so I thought I would tell you all a story about how Twix (the candy bar) was invented. Here goes.

One Friday the 13th night (ooh) there was an old man with a speech impediment, named Mr. Sylvester, resting at home. Now, on that very same night there was a bunch of little rascals running around the neighborhood. Impulsively, the little rascals-or as we like to call “children”- covered Mr. Sylvester’s doorknob with cookie crumbs and caramel, and then rang his doorbell. It just so happened that at that same moment Mr. Sylvester’s hand was covered in melted chocolate (it was melted because he had no air conditioning in his house). Mr. Sylvester opened his door, saw the mess on his hand and doorknob, and exclaimed, “Oh those kids and their little twix!”

Thursday, October 12, 2006

English 3840

I am thinking of writing about ESL. I am partial to the topic for obvious reasons. Another thing that has always been very interesting to me, from personal experience, is how effectiveness of learning, including amount of information retained and its availability for recall is directly tied to the mental and emotional state at the time of learning. It is fascinating to me. Yet at the same time I wonder if it is just me being weird. Also, I am not sure if this will not be relevant enough to this particular class; it isn’t something we have discussed directly. Although things that are relevant to this topic have been talked about in class quite a bit, such as importance of establishing a rapport, creating a positive environment, etc. I am not really sure yet. I only know that I don’t want to be "reinventing a dead horse." I've been told that I have a real "talent" for stating the obvious, so I try to avoid it as much as I can, although it doesn't really work most of the time.

Anyway, ANY suggestions are more welcome than you can possibly imagine.

up a creek but waiting for a paddle

I don't know what to write but I do know where to start looking. I started to read some of the cited sources in the essays, and I'm beginning to become intrigued by a few. I'm hoping for some divine insight, but I think that I'll be waiting for a long time. I guess I just need to stop waiting and pick something. If anybody has any ideas, please let me know.

Sneak attack

Wow! I love it when assignments sneak up from behind me and knock me in the back of the head. Good times. I have absolutely no idea what I will write about in my essay. I must chew on this idea for a bit. The process theory has alway held a special place in my heart. I also liked the essay we read about using writing in learning. That was pretty fascinating. My mind cannot wrap around all of the post-process and post-modernism jargon. So I think it would be safer to avoid those topics. Surely some bolt of lightning filled with intellectual rhetoric will strike me and enable me to write an essay sufficient to meet the requirements of our esteemed Professor. I'll keep y'all posted on developments.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Scattered ideas

I'm afraid. The more I read about the post-process, the more it makes sense. I have read several other articles that are as confusing as "Post Process a Philisophical Endeavor," and I'm starting to like them. I have a stack of books that I have been cutting through, and I have a lot of good information. I have a thesis and a bunch of information. Now I need to find a process to put all this information down on paper.

I think that I will make my bibliography first, photocopy the quotes I want, outline my first draft, and then write and revise. That sounds like a good plan to me, and I probably won't follow it at all...It does make a lot of sense though.

My thesis is going to deal with the Heirarchy of student to tutor, the perceptions of both parties within a session, and tutoring as situational. I want to focus mainly on tutors roles in deciphering what proffesors want from students, and how this relates to non-directive tutoring. The question I'm begging is, "How do we empower students to invent the university while maintaining a non directive style?"

I was tutoring a lady the other day, and her problem was that she couldn't write the way the professors want her to. She had a great story, and that story didn't pertain to a research project at all. I can not simply tell her to write like a proffessor. This is an issue larger than the global organization of a single paper. "What is our role in helping in this manner?"

I don't think that we can come out and say, "Write like an academic." This would go against the style of non-directive tutoring. However, we could give the students a template, like what "Inventing the University Suggests, but this strategy goes against my ideas on post-process...Weeee Weeeee Weeee

I suppose my blog, up to this point, has only raised questions. Hoperfully I'll sort through all the information and notes I have to compose a logical paper which has answers to them.

It's Time

It's time for you all to start seriously thinking about your bibliographic essay. I'd like to see you all post here about what you're chewing on, your half-finished thoughts about what you might do, your three-quarters-finished thoughts about what you might do, your expressions of alarm because you've forgotten, your thoughts as you flail a little bit. That kind of thing. It's important, I think, for you all to write about your initial thoughts on the bibliographic essay somewhat publicly, since it affords you the opportunity both to commiserate with one another and to get ideas from one another about possible topics.

Should you have any questions about what these essays are, see this post, which describes a bibliographic essay in some detail. Ask me if you have questions.

And, by the way, this entry is exactly one hundred and forty-six words.

Monday, October 09, 2006

No yellow-bellies for me thanks...

Despite the fact that none of us want to cross the line, we will because given the dynamic nature of tutoring sessions it is inevitable. True, this sounds rather pessimistic, giving the impression that a tutoring session is like a bomb ticking away in the corner and it’s only natural that in such situations tutors would want to use caution. However, this toeing of the line isn’t going to make sessions anymore productive- in all likelihood it would degrease productivity and cause the tutor to cross the line much more frequently. Nothing will be accomplished if tutors fear saying what needs to be said. The best and only recourse is for the tutors to conduct themselves in a manner that they would expect to see if being tutored. The tutor then is mindful of the student’s sensitivities but doesn’t bow down to the fear of Line.