Genres on top of Genres

When talking about genres Dean discussed genres in writing.  All of our early lives we are taught to look at genres as a style of writing or a type of book.  However, Dean says that is wrong.  Dean describes genres as the type of literacy that highlights the idea behind the writing.  This is where I became confused.  Why was I always taught that they were styles of writing? But, now it is said to be something else.  Whenever I read I don’t often look past the writing to determine why this was the idea for this writing.  As students we are commonly asked what the genre of an article is? Generally looking for fiction, horror, comedy, non-fiction, etc.  But, never is one of the expected answers to be what is within the writing and what is defined by what we read.

I didn’t understand two areas of this idea. These areas being the ideological genre and how genres can be social?  The ideological genre opened my eyes and showed me how they differ amongst groups.  This idea showed me how everyone within a specific clique of people can easily expand on the “writing” within that group.  Which to me carries into the aspect of genres being social.  Everyone will have a different idea or opinion on a social experience.  So are social genres and accurate and acceptable thing to look at? Well from this article I would say yes.  You want to know every aspect of the writing to understand the true genre right? So wouldn’t every outlook on the experience may make the “writing” more understandable and easy to pick a part and see the true picture of.

I slowly began to understand how genres can be more than just the overall style of the writing, however I would benefit to sit down and continue to read up on and think about this concept.  Deans article left me shocked and baffled with some new ideas of genres I had never thought about before.  I find interest in this and plan to continue to look at this idea and learn more about how genres and how experiences can be shared within a genre that I never saw possible before.

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Influences Come From Everywhere

Bartholomae and Harris state, “we write not as isolated individuals but as members of communities whose beliefs, concerns, and practices both instigate and constrain, at least in part of the things we say.”  When first looking at this statement it probably won’t make sense to someone who hasn’t read the entire article about the Idea of Community and study of writing.  The way one interprets this statement will not be exactly the same as the way someone else will interpret it either.  Why is this though? Well honestly you could ask yourself so many different “why” questions when it comes to a matter of writing.  Why do I write like this? Why do I write in this language?  Why is the way I write different from others? Well the list could go on and on.

When looking at who you are and why you do what you do there are thousands of factors that play a role into that answer.  Everything you have ever experienced has shaped you into the person you are today.  Even the littlest things that you think mean absolutely nothing have influenced you in some way even if it was only the slightest thing.  The way language and way you speak, the way you write, even the way you start and carry a conversation is all a product of the communities you are involved in.  You are not involved in just one community, you are involved in hundreds.  A community can come from so many things such as; a class you’re in, the sports you play, the job you have, even the car you drive can put you into a specific community.

This leading up to the idea of discourse communities.  Discourse communities are the communities that I just referred too.  Every community like this comes with its own groups, opinions, and even its own kind of literacy.  The way you view things and act will change depending on the community you are in at that specific moment. These communities and experiences in them influence who you will become in the future and who you “evolve” into day by day.  The influences that take place in your life won’t always be for the better just like they won’t always be for the worse.  All these influences that come into your life will make you into who you will be for the rest of your life and as the continue to come they will change you into who you will become.

Importance of Discourse

So we just read the article by Swales about discourse communities and their importance.  When reading that article I caught myself thinking about my schedule at school and in my life.  While being a full time student and working I constantly experience multiple different environments.  At UNC Charlotte most full time students are enrolled in four or five classes maybe even six.  I currently am taking six classes for 17 credit hours.  This is a large consumption of my time and I have to focus on many different sides of the learning spectrums.  From taking URWT 1103 to taking Chemistry 1200 I have many different topics going through my head on a daily basis.  While some classes will be similar while taking general education courses you are guaranteed to have a class that completely opposes one of your other courses.  Mine would be science technology and society and URWT 1103.

In science, technology, and society we discuss how technology and society interact together.  When I’m in this class I feel restricted to factual knowledge and not my own freedom to voice my thoughts.  When we have to write there is always a length requirement and a direct idea we have to choose.  There is no open ended questions we are allowed to leave for others to evaluate and think about.  We constantly discuss how things work, advancements in modern day society, and things to come in the future.  We have to do research on topics, constantly read articles well known scientist have written or their ideas are what the article is based upon.  It is acceptable to say what you think in discussion in the actual class but there is always a wrong or right answer and getting the answer wrong tends to be embarrassing.

While on the opposite end of my discourse spectrum there is my URWT 1103 course.  Where I am allowed to clearly voice my opinion and thoughts in class discussions and in my actual writings.  Every student is given the chance to leave an open ended question that gives their peers a chance to evaluate the topic.  With this opportunity we are forced to think more and put more focus and effort into the actual process of writing about these topics.  There is no right or wrong in the discussion because what you have to say on a topic is generally accepted amongst the class.  However, what you say may be objected against by another student which makes the discussions more interactive and enjoyable.

The way discourse communities can be associated to academics is by knowing when and where certain things are acceptable. Freely speaking is accepted in some classes where as in others teachers value their time to speak and hate when students speak out to object the topic and matter at hand.  Many professors I have in my first semester and a half of college are usually strongly set on their side of a topic and don’t give the other side a chance.  Certain languages and literacy are accepted in different classrooms.  By this I mean you need to know how to speak up in a class and when to voice your opinion in the class.

Discourse communities are seen in academics, professional and social environments throughout our lives.  Their will always be various languages and ways of communications that are appropriate at and in certain situations.  The various amounts of classes we enroll in while at UNC Charlotte tend to help students learn when these languages and methods will be appropriate in their future lives after graduation.  So personally I feel that the discourse communities we experience now are here to help benefit us in our near and distant futures.

Give or Take a Little

Taught to us all throughout high school is the idea of a five paragraph paper or essay format.  Which was easy for everyone to conform to because it was pounded into our heads from day one of english 1.  If you didn’t get the format right points would be deducted so of course everyone strived for that opening statement, three body paragraphs, and conclusion.  All the students memorized it, repeated it, and now suffer for doing exactly that.  When all you can think is “I HAVE” to have it done like that you lead yourself to a bad grade.  Especially because now writing in college the format varies and teachers just want to know what you’re truly thinking rather than you try to give a “right answer.”

With the inquiry idea though this idea of a five paragraph essay doesn’t always work.  When you begin to supplement your own thoughts into your writing, rather than quotes and ideas brought up by many other people your papers begin to either be a lot more summed up or expand.  For example in Blaze’s experiment he had a six paragraph essay and the website gave him a 25% all for formatting.  The website assumed he didn’t know the material due to the extra paragraph.  But, not all ideas can be summed up in five paragraphs, especially if you’re passionate about a topic.  For example I know a lot about diabetes because I have type one. I am also able to talk continuously about the disease because of my personal experience with it.  So, being asked to sum everything I could say about it into five essays takes away so much from what I could bring up and discuss in a paper.

However there are other situations when the exact opposite result will occur and you will have a great paper than doesn’t touch into a fifth paragraph.  You can cover all the material needed to get your point across on a topic in less than five paragraphs more often than not and when this happens what are you suppose to do?  Continue on and ramble or make up something to fulfill the format? No! Of course not but, you truly have no choice if you have no more left to say.  When it comes to certain topics there just isn’t a whole lot to say and you end up stuck searching end to end trying to find some new information that will complete your requirements.  But, at this point you have already structured your paper to sum up with the information you already found and now you have to readjust and this is when papers begin to get sloppy.  This being why inquiry and the five paragraph essay wouldn’t work together.  Adding your own thoughts more than researched and memorized information completely changes the structure and overall length a paper will end up being.  If you have to cut out or add significants amount of information an amazing essay could easily be completely ruined.

My Thoughts on Writing

No matter who you are you have your own opinion on every topic.  The idea of being literate or illiterate can all come from who you are.  Me personally I see being literate as being the opposite of how I see illiterate people.  I think of illiterate as being repetitive and using constant fillers such as; like, um, bruh, and uh during conversations.  Being literate to me is just knowing how to converse, write, read, and comprehend the language you speak and are surrounded by.

How literate you are can also be seen in the way you write or simply the detail you use in what you write.  To me “good” writing isn’t fulfilling requirements set by an individual, rather it is being able to place your thoughts, feelings, and what research you may have done onto paper and show others your opinion.  If one is able to explain, support, and stand strong to their ideals then anything could easily be written well and consider as “good” writing.  However, with that does come some requirements.  Where as you shouldn’t only aim to fulfill what you think is the right thing to say you should also be writing to the best of your ability.  By this I mean using a strong vocabulary, having a flow to your paper, and using good grammar.  The counter however, would be “bad” writing which I don’t think is a great way to describe it.  Rather, I think writing that isn’t considered to be “great” or “good” is just structured wrong.  With small adjustments just about anything can become something of great value and worth.  A good example would be to look towards music.  If you look at lyrical music which has a message portrayed in the song you will under the “good” writing it took to make that piece.  On the other hand if you look at non lyrical and repetitive music you notice there is no true message and it’s meaningless, which would be what you consider the “bad” writing.  You don’t tend to see pointless thoughts thrown into “good” writing. You tend to see well thought out and structured ideas.  That lead to a good flow and easily read message.  You won’t find grammar errors and senselessly placed words in a well written paper. Which is one of my biggest pet peeves in when someone tries to sound smarter by placing a large word into a random place in their thought to make it seem more logical.

Grammar is important to an extent.  Once you are just texting and having a friendly conversation I can understand informal and shortened words and phrases.  Slang would then be tolerable and acceptable. However, when all you ever here and see out of someone is short slang like and ill structured writing it tends to turn your stomach. With lack of a better way to describe how it feels it’s frustrating to watch someone not try to be as good as they can be.  Grammar is such an easy thing to master and people blow the littlest aspects like an apostrophe or punctuation.  I just tend to ignore it now but everyone once in a while it gets to a point where you just have to give up and let someone know they have to do better.

Teaching as Unteaching is a very interesting article.  Summed up it seems like the article states what we have been taught for years on in is virtually useless to what we should be doing now.  Where we learned good vocabulary that we can still use often and very well the formats we mastered are useless now that we are at the next level.  The best part about reading that was realizing that now we get to implicate our own thoughts and ideas into what we write about.  The idea of inquiry and learning through an inquiry based classroom is relaxing and honestly relieving.  To be able to put down what we think and know it won’t be judge rather it will be discussed and take into consideration over a topic makes the process of learning so much more enjoyable and interesting.

 

Inquiry

Test

Inquiry into Inquiry

  1. “Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world” (http://galileo.org/teachers/designing-learning/articles/what-is-inquiry/). Inquiry is not a method of doing a certain subject, rather it is involving oneself through questions and conversations about the topic amongst oneself ad their peers.  Inquiry can also be defined in a more simplistic way by describing it as the act of asking for information (http://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/american-english/inquiry).  When you ask for information on certain topics you are already involving yourself more which leads to finding better information than you would from just regurgitating information taught by your teacher or heard from your peers.
  2. “Tell me and I forget, show me and I remember, involve me and I understand.”  The last part of this is statement is the essence of inquiry-based learning, says Joe Exline (http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/).  As stated above inquiry is the act of asking for information.  By asking direct questions and involving yourself you are able to comprehend and grasp what you truly need to know about a topic, which is exactly what IBL is suppose to do.
  3. Inquiry based learning is mainly centered around students and in educational programs to grant individuals a better opportunity to learn and grow intellectually (http://www.inspiredteaching.org/wp-content/uploads/impact-research-briefs-inquiry-based-teaching.pdf). As students begin to use this method they also begin to find a better understanding of researched and discussed topics. While students do benefit from the use of this method you also need certain skills to be successful in using this (http://chipbruce.net/resources/inquiry-based-learning/challenges-to-inquiry-based-teaching/).

– I personally believe that inquiry based learning will cause small problems in different class room settings for the reason that not every student will come to the same inquiry answers.  You can ask different questions and have similar yet different answers which would lead to more questions.  Which only means that the teacher in these settings must be prepared for this situation and any other situation in these inquiry classrooms.  One main problem currently with inquiry based learning would be that most projects are more involved in academic coverage than they are exploration and invention, or use of a creative mind which defeats the use of inquiry based learning (http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/07/the-challenges-and-realities-of-inquiry-based-learning/).