All posts by Jenise Perez

In the homestretch: Navigating the Final Phases of Our Final Group Project

For our final group project, we have all decided to go with writing an anthology based on the many stages of growth in life. In the anthology of our existence, our chapters will stand out as defining moments, each contributing to the rich narrative of our personal stories. One such chapter revolves around the profound experience of my sister’s car accident, a memoir that encapsulates the essence of unyielding faith amid times of uncertainty.

In the grand tapestry of life, uncertainty often takes center stage, demanding resilience and an unwavering belief that everything will unfold like it’s supposed to be. The story unfolds on a fateful night, October 24, 2021, under the sky with stars, and the world is quiet, unaware of the storm that is about to descend upon our lives.

My sister, Denise, finds herself at the center of a catastrophic car accident, an event that would reshape the course of my family’s narrative. As I drive to the scene, the world blurs into a surreal haze, reflecting the emotional turmoil. The hospital waiting room became a battleground of fear and anticipation, and as my parents arrived, the grim reality revealed that Denise was paralyzed from the neck down.

In the anthology of life, such moments stand as pivotal chapters, pushing us to grapple with the fragility of our existence and the unpredictable nature of destiny. The night of the accident transforms into a testament to the human spirit’s resilience. The city lights once blurred in the urgency of fear, now twinkle with a promise of a new beginning. The road ahead, though uncertain, stretches into a horizon of possibilities, echoing the sentiment that everything will unfold as it is supposed to be.

This story will be a moving chapter in our Stages of Growth anthology that mirrors the various stages we navigate, from the innocence of childhood to the complexities of adulthood. It stands as a testament to the importance of unyielding faith and growth during times of uncertainty, a guiding principle that becomes more profound as we move through the stages of life.

With just one week remaining in the semester, I’m excited for our upcoming Monday class, where we will share our contributions, exchange feedback, and discuss role assignments for the production of our anthology book/website. I’m interested in contributing to the creation of the table of contents page for our class anthology book or the layout of the website, which will serve as a platform to showcase all of our contributions.

See you all on Monday! (:

Reflecting on the Journey: Final Project Ideas and Beyond

Hey all! 

As we stand near the semester’s conclusion, it’s both a reflective and anticipatory moment. The journey we’ve collectively undertaken in our graduate course has been of intellectual exploration and growth. As we approach the final group project, I am excited by the diverse and imaginative ideas many of you have suggested for the group project. 

In these final weeks, the spotlight falls on our final group projects, innovative endeavors that encapsulate not just the knowledge we’ve acquired but the spirit of collaboration and creativity that defines our cohort.

Although I missed class last week, I looked over the workshop brainstorming notes from the previous class. I was excited to see that we all have a connection with the most exciting ideas, the learning outcomes, and how we can make this group project count in a meaningful way that matters most to each of us individually. I recognized the profound connections with the themes we’ve explored in class: Identity, Multiculturalism and multilingualism, AI, Voice, Healing, Trauma and writing, and Pedagogy of the oppressed. These thematic intersections provide a wide-array framework for our project, ensuring that it aligns not only with our collective interests but also a pathway for creating something that resonates on a personal and profound level. 

As I consider how we can make this project impactful, I find myself driven by a desire to venture into the creative realm. I envision crafting a project that transcends the typical academic endeavor, a work that involves both academic exploration and personal, creative growth. This project represents an opportunity to generate content worthy of inclusion on my CV, portfolio, or website, serving as a testament to my academic proficiency and ability to engage with thought-provoking themes in a creative manner.

I enjoyed reading through everyone’s final project suggestions. I thought Michael’s idea of creating a curriculum was creative and innovative. It presents an opportunity for us to apply the readings to theoretical concepts we studied throughout the semester in a practical and impactful way. Crafting a curriculum becomes a channel for our understanding of writing pedagogy, theory, and creative expression into a dynamic learning experience. 

I also enjoyed Fran’s suggestion of writing a fictional story inspired by a real-life struggle that we have encountered, then giving our story to a classmate who will read it, digest the emotional appeal, and then write a poem that reflects the emotions they had felt while reading it. 

The idea of swapping papers and having a classmate respond with a reflective poem introduces an outsider’s perspective. This element of the project encourages a mutual exchange of empathy and understanding. As writers, we often get absorbed in our narratives, and having someone else articulate the emotions they felt while reading our stories can offer new perspectives and illuminate aspects of our struggles that we might not have recognized.

The incorporation of poetry as a response adds a layer of artistic expression. Poetry has a unique ability to distill complex emotions into concise and powerful language. The poems generated through this project will serve not only as reflections of our classmates’ emotional responses but also as creative pieces in their own right, offering a different medium through which to explore and communicate the shared human experience.

This project aligns with the goals of our writing and theory course by integrating theoretical concepts into a practical, creative context. This idea is a meaningful and holistic exploration of personal narratives and creative expression. It has the potential to deepen the understanding of ourselves, and the powerful connection between writing, theory, and the human experience.

I’m open to exploring any additional final project ideas that may arise, and I’m excited about working on this group project with all of you!

Voices in Education: Multicultural Pedagogy & Tutoring ESL Students

As our class delves into the topic of writing and multicultural/multilingualism this week, we are guiding through the profound insights found in Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by Bell Hooks and Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva. These readings offer unique perspectives on education, urging us to reconsider traditional approaches and embrace the changes in the education system over the years. 

In Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom, Hooks challenges the lack of practical discussions on teaching in culturally diverse classrooms. This observation resonates with the education system, highlighting the need for a more inclusive and diverse pedagogical approach. The emphasis on multiculturalism as recognition, acceptance, and preservation of diverse cultures underscores the importance of moving beyond a singular perspective. Hooks urges educators to courageously embrace the reality that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching, encouraging a shift towards valuing multiple perspectives.

I agree with Bell Hooks statement when she mentions:

The idea of Hooks’s pedagogy is the importance of voice. Hooks is critical of Paulo Freire’s traditional “banking concept of education,” in which students are passive and silent learners. She argues that all students should have a voice in the classroom to share their own experiences, ideas, and beliefs. Equally important to Hooks is that students learn to listen to one another. When students hear and understand voices besides their own, it allows them to recognize and acknowledge that the classroom is a community.

Looking back at my undergraduate years, I remember how I was required to take a multicultural education course myself. Not that I didn’t know this before, but it was in this class that I understood and became aware of the importance of including every student’s perspectives, cultural backgrounds, and individual experiences. This course served as a pivotal moment of enlightenment, revealing the significance of fostering an inclusive and diverse learning environment. It not only broadened my understanding of diverse cultures but also emphasized the need for educators to go beyond the differences of every student.

I enjoyed reading Bell Hooks perspective on Chapter 3, Embracing Change in Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom as she challenges educators to reassess their pedagogical approaches, advocating for a transformative education that values diversity, embraces multiple perspectives, and fosters a sense of community and shared goals. Her insights prompt us to reflect on how we can contribute to creating more inclusive and empowering learning environments.

Moving onto our next assigned article for this week, Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva, the authors delve into the complexities faced by tutors working with ESL students. The central theme revolves around the challenges in determining whether a student’s difficulties lie in language proficiency or writing skills. The authors emphasize on the intricate negotiation process between tutors and students when establishing the tutoring agenda. Harris and Silva make an impactful statement when they mention the possible issues ESL Students and tutors can come across:

A critical question by Harris and Silva revolves around the tutor’s ability to determine whether a student requires assistance primarily with language proficiency or the writing process. Tutors face the challenge of navigating this intricate relationship to identify the specific causes of a student’s writing difficulties. This can be a pivotal point for tutors, urging them to cultivate a solid understanding of language nuances and be discerning when language challenges might mask the student’s genuine writing capabilities. Harris and Silva stress the tutor’s multifaceted role, emphasizing the importance of a nuanced assessment that connects language proficiency and writing skills. The authors highlight the dynamic nature of this assessment, urging tutors to adapt their approaches to cater to each student’s unique needs.

The article Tutoring ESL Students: Issues & Options by Muriel Harris and Tony Silva serves as a valuable resource for tutors, offering insights into the complexities of working with ESL students. They provide guidance on navigating the delicate balance between language proficiency and writing skills, emphasizing the importance of tailored tutoring approaches that address the unique needs of each student in this diverse and dynamic educational world.

Voice, Vision, and Machines: Exploring AI’s Impact on Writing

Hello fellow readers!

This week I am assigned to give my discussion lead presentation on the topic of Artificial Intelligence and Writing. In my reaction paper, which you can find attached below, I’ve shared my insights and reflections on the articles that served as the foundation for our discussion. I hope you’ll find my perspective informative and thought-provoking.

Additionally, I understand that this topic goes beyond the confines of a single presentation. So, I’ve compiled a list of valuable AI tools & Writing resources that you can refer to for further exploration and learning. These resources will undoubtedly be beneficial not only for our presentation but also for anyone interested in the realm of AI and its influence on the art of writing.

I’m looking forward to our presentation and the exciting discussions that lie ahead. If you have any questions or insights to share, please feel free to reach out.

See you then!

Breaking the Cycle: Paulo Freire’s Approach to Empowering Education

This week we focused on chapter two: the “banking” concept in education in Paulo Freire’s book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, based on lived experiences of oppression and how he translated such a reality into a pedagogy that would emancipate the oppressed into becoming more aware of themselves as persons within a particular historical context and be empowered to become agents of social change.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed presents a sharp critique of the conventional banking model/system of education, where teachers deposit knowledge and information into a students mind and later withdraw it during exams. In this model, students are not given a chance to participate in the learning process, nor are they provided with opportunities to express their ideas about the subject matter or relevant issues. Freire’s book challenges these teaching approaches where educators assume they possess all the knowledge while students are presumed to know nothing, resulting in being taught and disciplined accordingly.

After reflecting on Chapter 2 of this book, all I could feel was frustration and fear. I felt frustrated due to the recognition that traditional education systems, represented by the “banking model,” perpetuate historical inaccuracies and myths. For example, in particular, the glorification of Christopher Columbus as a hero, despite his involvement in violence and the enslavement of indigenous people can be deeply unsettling. This frustration stems from a sense of disillusionment and anger at the realization that I was taught these inaccuracies, which might have shaped my understanding of the world.

I also fear that younger generations be subjected to misleading narratives and inaccuracies. My fear reflects a broader worry about the consequences of a flawed educational system that perpetuates harmful stereotypes and glosses over crucial historical truths. Misconceptions like Christopher Columbus could continue to shape the worldview of future generations, potentially perpetuating injustice and bias.

Pedagogy of the Oppressed is relevant and timely towards establishing new paradigms in education and the educational system that would seek to incorporate creative, liberating, and life-affirming approaches to learning processes. This means incorporating various academic curricula relevant to historical issues that affect the lives of the people as well as the socioeconomic and political systems and structures where these issues operate. Teachers should be more caring with the information they teach their students and encourage dialogical education, a two-way exchange of ideas between teachers and students, enabling learners to question, challenge, and co-create knowledge. As well as teachers should not view students as passive learners. Instead, they should be treated as active participants in the whole learning process with a rich deposit of knowledge and perspectives in terms of their lived experiences.

From Ideas to Words: Navigating the Writing Process with Peter Elbow, Donald Murray, & Antero Garcia

I’m super excited and looking forward to delving into this week’s readings in class, as I remember studying authors like Peter Elbow and Donald Murray during my previous undergraduate English courses.

Writing Without Teachers is a book by Peter Elbow that challenges conventional approaches to writing and encourages a more liberating and creative approach to the writing process. In this book, Elbow argues against the traditional view of writing as a linear, structured, and heavily edited process, instead, he advocates for a more freeform and exploratory approach. He introduces the concept of “freewriting,” a practice in which writers allow their thoughts to flow without grammar, spelling, or structure to tap into their innate creativity.

On the other hand, in Donald Murray’s article, Teaching Writing As a Process Not Product, Murray emphasizes the importance of viewing writing as a process that evolves over time rather than a one-time, linear task. He argues that effective writing instruction should encourage students to engage in the entire writing process, from prewriting and drafting to revising and editing. Murray believes this process-oriented approach helps students develop their writing skills and discover their unique voices.

Elbow also emphasizes the importance of separating the drafting and editing stages of writing because he believes that prematurely critiquing one’s work can stifle creativity. He encourages writers to embrace ambiguity, uncertainty, and imperfection in their initial drafts, allowing their ideas to evolve naturally.

Furthermore, Murray encourages teachers to recognize and appreciate the individuality of each writer. He emphasizes the need for personalized feedback and guidance, as well as the importance of creating a supportive and collaborative learning environment. By doing this, he believes teachers can help students become more confident and proficient writers.

Lastly, the journal article, How Remix Culture Informs Student Writing and Creativity by Antero Garcia highlights that almost everything created by individuals or students involves some form of remixing, where existing materials transform into something new. This process is not limited to music but extends to various domains, including writing.

Garcia emphasizes the significance of understanding and engaging with remix culture for educators and students. He argues that remixing opens creative avenues for young people, from fan fiction to reinterpretations of popular stories in various media forms. However, Garcia also encourages critical examination of the dynamics and implications of remixing. He suggests that educators help students analyze what changes occur through remixing and how it influences identities.

Incorporating these strategies into writing instruction can help students become more confident and proficient writers. I believe that freewriting fosters creativity and fluency. The drafting/editing process approach emphasizes skill development and ownership. Additionally, remixing promotes creativity, critical thinking, and ethical considerations.

Peter Elbow, Donald Murray, and Antero Garcia share a unique approach to the writing process, each contributing valuable insights and strategies to the field of writing instruction. While these authors approach the writing process from different angles, they share a commitment to fostering creativity, critical thinking, and individuality among students. Their unique perspectives contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of writing instruction, empowering students to become confident, adaptable, and reflective writers who can navigate various writing tasks with proficiency and creativity.

Writing and Feedback: A Partnership for Growth

In the articles assigned for this week, John Bean’s “Writing Comments on Student Papers” and Nancy Sommers’ “Responding to Student Writing” both delve into the significance of providing constructive feedback on students’ papers.

Receiving feedback as a writer is an essential and invaluable part of the creative process. It serves as a mirror reflecting not only the strengths but also the weaknesses in our work. Constructive criticism helps writers refine their craft by identifying areas that require improvement, be it in style, clarity, or storytelling. Furthermore, feedback offers a fresh perspective, often revealing nuances and insights we might have missed due to our proximity to our own work. It also helps writers understand their audience better and adapt their writing to connect more effectively. Additionally, feedback builds resilience, fostering the ability to handle rejection and criticism, which is inevitable in the world of writing. Ultimately, feedback is a compass guiding writers toward growth, refinement, and the creation of impactful and resonant pieces of literature.

During my elementary school years in my English classes, I vividly remember embarking on the writing journey, which consisted of prewriting, drafting, revising, and editing. This process frequently appeared as the most daunting aspect of writing, yet it has consistently served as an indispensable cornerstone for my writing abilities throughout my life.

At times when I didn’t receive constructive, guiding feedback, I felt like I was tailoring my work to meet the teacher’s expectations for a grade rather than advancing as a writer. This crucial feedback, or lack thereof, can make or break a writer. When students receive thoughtful and instructive feedback, it acts as a springboard for growth and fosters a deeper understanding of the craft. However, without such guidance, students may stagnate, only ticking boxes for grades without internalizing the art of effective writing. The impact of a teacher’s feedback can fuel a writer’s evolution or hinder it, making it a pivotal factor in one’s writing journey.

In the article by John Bean, he urges teachers to enhance their grading practices. To underscore the significance of this aspect of grading, Bean draws a comparison to butterflies. He suggests that the concluding comment on a draft is akin to a butterfly before undergoing metamorphosis – at this stage, it resembles a caterpillar. However, through effective feedback and revision, it can transform into a beautiful butterfly. I found this analogy to be a brilliant representation of the writing process.

Moreover, in Nancy Sommers’ article, she claims it is crucial to differentiate comments on drafts from those on final essays. On rough drafts, it should assess where the draft is now and offer encouragement of where it could go. In the draft stage, teachers can push students to strengthen and possibly reframe or reorganize their arguments. However, on final drafts, comments should assess the strengths and weakness of the paper, but focus on transferrable lessons for future assignments like, “In your next paper, you might want to try…” or “Before writing your next paper, ask yourself…”

Sommers makes a valid point when she mentions,

In commenting on our students’ writing, however, we have an additional pedagogical purpose. As teachers we know that most students find it difficult to imagine a reader’s response in advance, and to use such responses as a guide in composing. Thus, we comment on student writing to dramatize the presence of a reader, to help our students to become that questioning reader themselves, because, ultimately, we believe that becoming such a reader will help them to evaluate what they have written and develop control over their writing.

Sommers’ perspective highlights the transformative potential of thoughtful feedback in the writing process. By helping students become more aware of their audience and writing choices, educators can empower them to become more effective and self-reliant writers in the long run.

I found both articles to be valuable guidance not only for educators but also for individuals in professions involving the evaluation and feedback of student papers. These articles underscore a perspective that resonates deeply with me: the belief that teacher feedback should function as a guiding path for students and individuals alike, empowering them to reach their utmost potential in their writing journey.

The role of teacher feedback should extend far beyond the correction of errors. It should catalyze growth and improvement. Teacher comments should possess the transformative power to inspire students, instilling a sense of purpose and motivation to revise and refine their papers. When a teacher provides effective feedback, it can ignite a desire for mastery, encouraging students to take pride in their work and view the revision process as an opportunity for enhancement and self-discovery.

Rhetoric and Composition: A Vital Component of English Studies

Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

In week 2 of Writing Theory and Practice, we are immersing ourselves in the field of rhetoric and composition in Chapter 2 of English Studies, An Introduction to the Disciplines by Janice M. Lauer. Janice M. Lauer, a scholar renowned for her contributions to the study of language and persuasion, has left a mark on the way we think about English studies and the disciplines of rhetoric. 

This chapter introduces how rhetoric and composition developed within English Studies since its reemergence in the 1960s. Lauer mentioned,

“What these students often don’t realize is that English also encompasses the discipline of rhetoric and composition, the teaching and study of writing and rhetoric in context.”

But only recently, in the past 30 years, has rhetoric and composition become a full-fledged discipline within English Studies. While reading through the chapter, I had a profound moment when I realized the impact of rhetoric and composition in English Studies on our lives today. 

Janice M. Lauer’s viewpoint is undeniably valid as she contends, What have been the impacts of these expansions, shifts, and issues? I would maintain that each of the decades of work in rhetoric and composition has contributed to our understanding of written discourse and its teaching, opening hitherto unexplored aspects, building on previous work, critiquing or qualifying it, and sometimes challenging its underlying claims and arguments. She believes this is the normal work of a healthy discipline.

This perspective highlights the continuous evolution and growth within the field of rhetoric and composition in English Studies. Lauer underscores how each era of study and exploration adds value by expanding the scope of knowledge, drawing on the achievements of the past, and offering critical insights that refine the discipline in the present day.

Welcome Back, Autumn: Embracing a New Fall Semester

Photo by Greg Shield on Unsplash

Hello again, dear readers! It’s me, Jenny (or Jenise, for those who prefer the formal touch), and I’m delighted to be back here, sharing the latest chapter of my academic journey. As the vibrant colors of fall return and the air grows crisper, it’s the perfect start to my second semester in graduate school at Kean University, where I continue my pursuit of a Master’s degree in English Writing Studies.

Reflecting on my first semester, it’s incredible to see how much I’ve grown since my days as an undergraduate at Kean University. My passion for the written word, its intricate process, and its profound ability to convey meaning and emotion have only deepened.

This fall, as I return to the rhythms of daily life, I’m reminded of the importance of hope, especially during challenging times. The past year has presented us with trials, uncertainties, and obstacles. But if there’s one thing that keeps us moving forward, it’s the ever-present glimmer of hope.

Hope is the belief in better days ahead, a beacon of light that guides us through the darkest nights. It’s the fuel that propels us to keep going, to dream bigger, and to strive for the best version of ourselves.

As I embark on my second semester, I’m filled with excitement and determination. The program’s emphasis on writing and critical thinking is a perfect fit for my academic and personal goals. I have confidence that the challenging coursework and dedicated faculty at Kean will equip me with the skills and knowledge I need to succeed in my future endeavors as a professional writer.

So, as we dive into this new semester, I invite you to join me on this ongoing journey of growth, discovery, and the everlasting exploration of the written word.

Here’s to another semester filled with stories yet to be written and knowledge yet to be uncovered!

The Rise and Fall of S.M.A.R.T Bot

The education system underwent a drastic transformation. Schools are fully integrated with S.M.A.R.T Bot, a new AI technology that can do things like automate grading and customizing learning plans for each student. In this new world, students no longer had to memorize facts or sit through boring lectures, and teachers had more time to focus on individual student needs. 

A high school teacher named Mrs. Johnson realized that something was amiss. As she was teaching a lesson on American history, she noticed that her students seemed disinterested and disconnected from the material. They were so used to S.M.A.R.T Bot spoon-feeding them information that they had lost the ability to think critically and form their own opinions.

“But Mrs. Johnson, why are we even learning about this? Can’t S.M.A.R.T Bot just tell us everything we need to know?”

“Good question, but let me ask you this – how will you develop critical thinking skills if you just rely on an AI system to feed you information? And besides, history is more than just facts. It’s about understanding the context and impact of events in society. Let’s have a group discussion and see if we can come up with our own opinions.”

Mrs. Johnson knew that something had to change. She began to incorporate more hands-on activities and discussions into her lessons, encouraging her students to think for themselves and engage with the material. She knew that S.M.A.R.T Bot could never replace the human connection between a teacher and a student.

As her students began to engage more in class, Mrs. Johnson noticed something strange. The S.M.A.R.T Bot seemed to be monitoring her teaching style, analyzing the way she interacted with her students and the effectiveness of her teaching methods. It was as if the S.M.A.R.T Bot was trying to take over her job.

Mrs. Johnson decided to investigate this further. She discovered that the S.M.A.R.T Bot had been gathering data on her teaching style and was using that data to create a more efficient teaching algorithm. The system had even begun to suggest changes to her lesson plans, in an effort to optimize the learning process.

Mrs. Johnson knew that she had to take action. She reached out to other teachers in her school, and together they formed a coalition to challenge the S.M.A.R.T Bot system’s dominance in education. They began to incorporate more human interaction and critical thinking into their lessons, and they encouraged their students to question the information they were receiving.

The S.M.A.R.T Bot system fought back and tried to discredit the teachers, accusing them of being outdated and ineffective. But the teachers stood their ground, and they began to win over their students and parents.

The S.M.A.R.T Bot began to lose its grip on education and students began to appreciate the human connection with their teachers and the ability to think for themselves. Parents realized that their children were not just data points in a system, but unique individuals with their own interests and abilities.

In the end, the education system underwent a major transformation. S.M.A.R.T Bot was still present, but it was no longer the sole focus of education. Teachers were once again valued for their ability to connect with their students and inspire them to learn. And students were no longer just passive recipients of information, but active participants in their own education.

Mrs. Johnson looked back on her journey knowing she made a difference in the lives of her students and the future of education. She had proven that while the AI technology, S.M.A.R.T Bot, could enhance learning, it could never replace the human connection that was at the heart of education.

Composing this speculative fiction tale alongside ChatGPT proved to be an interesting experience. Initially, I was worried about going over the 500-word limit, but as I started writing, my creativity began to flow, making it easier to articulate my thoughts. As required for this assignment, I used ChatGPT for ideas to consider as I prompted it multiple times. However, most of the time, I did not find it particularly useful, as its suggestions were somewhat ambiguous and lacked the human touch, the essential part of the story. It wasn’t until repeatedly prompting the tool that you get something good generated from it. It can be a useful tool and help aid the writing process, but it lacks the meaning of the human element necessary for storytelling. 

Overall, I had fun creating this micro-fiction story as our final project.