I cannot imagine having to write with a disability. I know a number of people who are dyslexic or have ADHD and watching them write seems so difficult. I was shocked to read that 10% of Americans have an severe disability that hinders their education performance. All the schools I have gone to did not allow people with severe disabilities acceptance into the school. This could be why I am so shocked by this number because I really haven’t seen it in my personal education system.
The web’s “alternative texts” really are making it much better for those with disabilities. Technology has helped these people significantly. Tablets can make words bigger, the internet can sum up complex ideas into simple sentences to understand, and audio/video clips are readily available.
Also, here we see again more sketches focusing on writing. Some people do learn best by drawing or doodling. By allowing people to sketch their ideas into a formula for writing a paper, those who do best with drawing are able to maybe enjoy the start of their writing process more because they have this freedom.
Overall, the internet is a huge advantage to everyone with a disability. With new apps being developed, maybe there will be an app soon for people with down syndrome or other severe disabilities. I took a class on disabilities last quarter and a group came up with an idea for an app where people had all their emergency and close contacts along with simple instructions of how to get from place-to-place. Hopefully one day there will be a similar app for people with disabilities to use to make their lives much easier.
In this article, I found it very interesting how colleges were left to deal with basically every type of education level when they let everyone into New York colleges. I cannot imagine the stress on the teacher to help these kids learn. They had never experienced anyone who was uneducable. How do you even begin to teach these kids? If you do not grow up with a background in academics, how can you ever manage to succeed at the college level?
Furthermore, the recommendations that he gave definitely seem like they could potentially work. The author writes: “Sometimes I offer actual lessons; sometimes I recommend a method of strategy, such as sentence-combining or free writing; that is already (or ought to be) part of a teacher’s technology; and at others, I merely urge a fresh perspective on an old problem.”
I think having a strategy of how to attempt this problem is definitely the best method for getting through to these kids who have dropped out. I do believe that there is a way to educate these kids in today’s world, but it takes a very dedicated teacher who knows how to handle these situations.
“Teachers need to respond to what students are trying to say, to the effectiveness of their writing as a whole, and not simply to the presence or absence of local errors in spelling, syntax, or usage. Correctness thus becomes not the single and defining issue in learning how to write, but simply one aspect of developing a more general communicative competence” (111).
I believe there are some teachers that are very good at recognizing and responding to error. However, there are many teachers who lack the ability to explain to the student how they should modify and improve their work. I can only think of two writing teachers throughout middle school, high school, and college that thoroughly explained how I can improve. Every other teacher regarding a paper would just correct the spelling mistakes and then say “this doesn’t make sense” or “not connecting points” and then give the letter grade. They would never say WHY something doesn’t make sense or HOW to connect the points. When I would go in and speak with the teachers I thought I had a clear idea of what they wanted after reviewing the paper with me, but then when I receive my letter grade, I would be confused as to how I did not do as they asked.
However, I have had excellent teachers who did a fantastic job explaining my errors. My psychology professor last year had us write a very difficult essay relating to adolescent development. I spoke with her a couple times about questions I had on how I should connect what seemed like a very difficult topic. She would give me a great overview and told me exactly what not to do. She helped me along the process clearing up any questions I had, and in the end I was one of two in the class to receive a perfect score on the paper. Through her explaining my errors before the draft was due, I was able to fix those errors and turn in a perfect paper.
I still definitely agree with Harris that the spelling and punctuation is still vital in paper presentation. If you turn in a paper with grammatical errors, the professor will realize that you did not proofread. If I were in the professors shoes, I would see they did not proofread and then assume that the student did not put much work into their paper. I believe mistakes trigger other sentence structure mistakes for the professor. If a professor thinks a paper will be bad, they usually will read the paper as poorly written.
This leads me to another side point…there are many teachers who know that a student does not write well, and I believe those teachers while reading the paper read it as a worse paper than it actually is (in some cases). For example, a teacher may really like one student and without realizing it, give them a better grade than they deserve and vice versa. Therefore, there really is no way for the teacher to not have certain biases while grading papers.
In this study, the subjects were asked to draw a picture that described their work environment as well as a picture that illustrated their writing process.
I found this interesting because sometimes words do not describe the sense of writing to the fullest. Sure, you can write about your struggles (or successes) with writing, but everyone has these similar situations regarding writing. Illustrating your feelings gets the point across much better in my opinion.
For writing classes, I often feel like other items besides writing should be incorporated in papers. For instance, professors should incorporate interviews, videos, pictures, or diagrams into their curriculum then add them to the papers. Once these different aspects have been compiled as research or experiments, then they should be written about. I don’t think every assignment should be like this, but every once in a while it would be nice to mix it up.
Furthermore, the study investigated how people write. In many of the drawings, the writers called for either silence or minimal distractions. However, at the same time, all the people chose to incorporate others in their drawings for ideas or support. It really is crucial to have outside opinions, especially as a non-experienced writer. So often, ideas do not come from ourselves but from others’ experiences. If we ask an opinion or advice, many times the person will spark ideas we hadn’t originally thought about.
If I were to draw pictures like the subjects in the study, I think my diagrams would be similar to the majority of the people. I would draw me in the library with my coffee as well as a clock which read sometime during the middle of the day because I do not write well at night. For my second diagram, I would feature a struggle of arrows going back and forth. Often I will start a paper, realize it’s no good and just start over with new ideas that sparked as I was writing the paper.
1. Do you think about your audience and their perspective when you write?
2. What genre do you prefer to write about?
3. Is there a certain location you choose to write in?
4. Do you need complete silence to focus?
5. For a typical paper, do you like to break it up into parts or write all of it at once?
6. How often do you consult a teacher or mentor during your writing process?
7. Do you have any sort of structure you typically use before starting an essay?
8. How do you typically start a paper?
9. How do you revise or edit your papers?
10. If you could write anything for class, what genre and audience would you choose?
In Berkenkotter and Murray’s article, they perform a study examining the percentage of allocating time for an essay for certain components: Planning, Evaluating, Revising, and Editing. The study concluded that planning engulfs most of the time spent writing an essay while revising the least.
I found this interesting because revising is a critical component in writing. There should rarely be just one draft of a paper. Revising seems like it should be much higher than the approximated 0-3%. Furthermore, planning should take a considerable amount of time, but it should not take the majority of the time. Yes, planning is important for the structure of the essay; however, planning should just be the start of the time. Evaluating, revising, and editing are all very important in the writing process.
However, who am I to judge this survey. I rarely revise any essay I write. For my pathway, I wrote it and didn’t even read it over when I finished. I know that I should invest more time into revising and editing, but for me writing is such a struggle that once I have done the bare minimum, I want no more part of it. I do carefully craft my sentences and word choice throughout the essay. So I guess part of that could fall under the revising and editing point, but overall I do not edit anything and just hope it turns decent enough for a good grade.
I guess if you have a good “plan” and know where you are taking the essay, then it is much easier to write it without revising. If you know how you are going to organize your thoughts, then writing comes naturally. Additionally, if you have a better “plan” then revising becomes not as necessary (although still important).
After writing this blog post, I am going to start revising my essays. Although I won’t revise this blog because I feel that it will lose its authenticity.