Tag Archives: Writing Process

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.

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.