Literacy in pieces

In the article “Elements of Literacy” many topics were brought to hand.  Starting with the no child left behind law.  This law helping schools progress and give a better program so that all students can put forth there best ability in their classes.  With parental and teacher concern as to how they were suppose to educate students with all the information needed to pass the state test every year.  Teachers had concerns to how they were going to be able to teach an entire curriculum and know their students have mastered the material.  Students having adapt to standardized test or certain formats for projects and paper is what leads to failure.  It steals the creative from them and doesn’t show what they are truly capable of.  Now however, schools that aren’t performing at the highest capability are being made to add select services to help the students.  Services such as free tutoring, after school sessions, and extended study times.  If schools continue to fall under a high enough performance level the way those schools are run is completely changed.  Talks of no child left behind let to the actual elements you see in literacy, such as adaptation, power, and state of grace.

Adaption in literacy is stated to be “The common view that literacy is necessary for social and economic well being.”  Viewing literacy as something we need to succeed in life is actually a true outlook.  If you cannot understand and comprehend what someone else is discussing about a topic how will you succeed? Well the answer is you won’t.  You can question what kind of literacy but when it comes down to it you need to be able to adapt to the level of literacy of the topic at hand and the individuals discussing said topic.  Then there is the transition to power in literacy.  Which is the view that literacy leads to the advance of the surrounding environments interest.  Which still leads to many questions about what literacy has to do with the interest of community and how the changes would help. Lastly Scribner discusses literacy as a state of grace.  Being his third metaphor and meaning literacy is an ancient method to help with intellectual engagement through written word and does not directly link to economic or political processes in human lives.  People will always have questions due to use of literacy and how necessary and appropriate the need for literacy is but no matter what you’re doing you need some type of literacy to make it through a day as a human.

After the discussion in todays class my view on literacy and writing hasn’t really changed.  I see literacy as a very necessary tool in the everyday life as a person.  You have to be literate in so many different areas now a days just to understand what is going on around you.  Therefore, being able to write and understand writing is overall a very important tool.  Coming into this class I never really noticed how many forms of literacy there truly are.  For example being literate in video games, work areas, texting, and the ability to understand everything you do in different situations you are put in.  Being literate is more than just knowing how to read, write, and communicate the language you know.  It is also knowing how to use the technology around you today, how to get through a situation as professionally and smoothly as possible. Knowing what needs to be done to get the best outcome in an environment is now how I view literacy.  Todays discussion we talked about being a person in a new place.  Specifically a Japanese student who has come to America and felt out of place.  As time spent here continued the student learned to see people as individuals and not as a group.  The more you look at the single part of a topic more than the overall description of something the better you will understand it.  If you were to look at every single part of a structure rather than the structure as a whole you would know how to take it apart and rebuild it flawlessly.  Just like people if you look at every individual in a group you will see every aspect that makes up that group and makes it as strong and well fit as it is.  Same thing translates to writing.  When you view a blog, paper, or essay you should look at single ideas rather than the paper as a whole therefore giving yourself the best chance to understand every aspect the writer was aiming to get through your head.


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.

There, Their, and They’re

At a young, elementary school age, we learned how to use the three different forms or there.  There would be talking about location, their is referring to possession, and they’re talking about who and what.  I can’t stand seeing people who don’t know how to use these three terms in the correct way. It is beyond simple to get the words right and put them in the right place but I feel like people are so lazy they don’t want to take the time to check if they use the right one.  Reading a paper and seeing one word used the wrong way repeatedly gets old and makes someone seem so uneducated and makes it seem like they took no time to write their own paper.  It’s ridiculous that after learning when to use each form of there people still don’t naturally use the right one when writing or talking about things.  When I see people constantly misuse these three words I truly want to send them back to the fourth grade so they can re-learn what they already should have known.  Where this makes a person seem like they lack literacy and knowledge I could be wrong on my judgement of them. This person could be literate in other ways like the ones we recently learned. Literacy applies to more than just the way you speak, write, and read.  It also can apply to your ability to fit into a situation and place.  The way you analyze the environment around you and how you make sure you know how to get through whats going on.

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 into Inquiry

  1. “Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world” ( 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 (  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 (  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 ( 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 (

– 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 (