Sunday, February 25, 2007

Maybe I grossed everyone out

Hormones are finally balancing out through birth control chemistry. I also cut back on the caffine today, been having way too much lately.

So homework-wise, I've got progress! Finished this week's readings, finished the reading response, have the rough draft of the mini-research project done. What's left to do is 500 words on Zy's Novel and I'll be done for the week. Now I do have to get the cooking show scripts mostly done before I can do any more homework, and that's pretty much the end of the list.

I am worried about the cooking show, that's why I've procrastinated on them so long. I've never written anything like that before. All my other scripts have had a concrete location and characters. And of course my perfection gene is rearing it's ugly head. It's my baby, it's never been done on the circuit before, it MUST BE PERFECT! Yeah, a perfect receipe for writer's block and stage fright.

Anyways, the sixth reading response for ENGL-646.

I’ve given up trying to discuss this class with my boyfriend. Every time I get the grumpy old man response: “those stupid brats know nothing so they are being taught nothing; fire everybody and start the brats over with the basics because the stupid brats don’t know any basics and will remain stupid until they master the basics.” Not in so many words but that’s the attitude. And how many agree with me that 35 is too young for the grumpy old man routine? Judging by all the reading we’re doing, it’s a common feeling out in the public and maybe too common within. All the slang, all the leet-speak, all the text message shortcuts; we’re raising a pack of wild animals that will turn on us like Lord of the Flies. They’re not human; they can’t communicate. And it’s the teacher’s fault they can’t communicate.

Ignoring the blatant ageism to think about it logically, there are problems with teaching and improvements to be made—there always is—but are kids fundamentally more stupid than the generation before? As a group of course not. Are teachers deliberately teaching bad writing? No of course not, but that is what the back-to-basics argument implies. And how many doing the yelling want to fund actual reform that doesn’t look like anything they had going to school? One of the articles that I found doing the mini-research project proposed a solution of separate classes in high school instead of the broad “English” class that has to cover everything: a literature class, a grammar class, a writing class. Because they are different things. I think it was the same article that claimed most parents dismiss any changes or modernization to the classroom because subconsciously they feel it invalidates the experience they had. Maybe the joke “you have to suffer through school because I suffered through school” really isn’t a joke.

The only teaching I have done was the writing tutorials on writing fanfics, and I didn’t introduce grammar elements until after we had covered brainstorming, plot, characters, description, scenes, narration, Mary Sues, etc. and the ESL writers asked for more clarification on terms. So my own experience matches whichever article we read that said you can’t teach editing until there is something to edit. With that in mind, the essay I liked best out of this week’s reading is “The Study of Error” by David Bartholomae. The first of his points to strike me was how we as readers turn off our critical skills and dismiss writing with errors as rubbish and the writer must be an idiot to write rubbish, which is what I think my boyfriend is doing. Study the errors (Bartholomae gives a good breakdown to how to start doing that) and figure out where the real problem lies. My tutorials were a crude method of doing that, since so many of the errors I saw were not understanding the fundamentals of telling a story.

I may have exaggerated Chad's grumpy old man routine, but it does get damned annoying. While I have no particular desire to reproduce and raise, I don't hate kids. Some of it may be ex-teacher bitterness too. *Shrug*

What I'm finding rewarding about this class is how it is validating my personal experience. Despite the lack of feedback in the end, despite the occassional nasty replies calling me a language fascist, despite my unpublished expertise, I was doing good with those tutorials. Maybe even some theory-sound work without getting bogged down in the theory. Mind you, I'm not ready to pick them back up and start writing them. But at least I don't feel that they were a total waste of time and just me preaching to the choir.

Read Free!
The BookWorm

There is a new renaissance festival in Louisiana! Check out the Acadiana Medieval Faire at: http://www.acadianafaire.org/

1 comment:

Mez said...

Sounds like an interesting class :)