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Author Topic: Developmental Writing: Building a Library  (Read 7372 times)
oldadjunct
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LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #15 on: April 07, 2010, 9:30:47 PM »


I have found a lot of success teaching students grammar. They don't often ace the quizzes, though. Also what they learn tends to translate to their writing. I use a book by Pamela Dykstra. I don't know if she is any kin to Lenny, but the book is fabulous, and Martha Kolln helped with the book.

My students come in with lots of grammar problems, G.

The grammar debate is perhaps the most fundamental and contentious one in Developmental Writing, so hardly a derail.  I doubt any of us expect to resolve it in a series of posts here.  My guess is that most of us operate in the middle ground at the same time that we see what we expect.

Having read your posts, Pry, and having grown up in CT I think I have a very good idea of where your students are coming from, literally and figuratively.  A challenging group to be sure; my point of reference is similar: inner city Boston, Brockton and Springfield.

The Pamela Dykstra book looks good, there is a lot to be said for sentence combining (only one element in the book).  When sentence combining was all the rage (ie: not operating in the middle ground) a typical paper was filled with these wonderfully well formed sentences that were completely vacuous.  I have had some success with John Langan's English Skills with Readings, though people on "my side" of the debate call it too simplistic. 

I am reading Joseph Harris's A Teaching Subject:Composition Since 1966, granted it was published in 1997, his chapter on "Error" is good.  But then again, it tends to confirm what I see.
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Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
prytania3
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Posts: 44,063

Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #16 on: April 07, 2010, 9:43:43 PM »


I have found a lot of success teaching students grammar. They don't often ace the quizzes, though. Also what they learn tends to translate to their writing. I use a book by Pamela Dykstra. I don't know if she is any kin to Lenny, but the book is fabulous, and Martha Kolln helped with the book.

My students come in with lots of grammar problems, G.

The grammar debate is perhaps the most fundamental and contentious one in Developmental Writing, so hardly a derail.  I doubt any of us expect to resolve it in a series of posts here.  My guess is that most of us operate in the middle ground at the same time that we see what we expect.

Having read your posts, Pry, and having grown up in CT I think I have a very good idea of where your students are coming from, literally and figuratively.  A challenging group to be sure; my point of reference is similar: inner city Boston, Brockton and Springfield.

The Pamela Dykstra book looks good, there is a lot to be said for sentence combining (only one element in the book).  When sentence combining was all the rage (ie: not operating in the middle ground) a typical paper was filled with these wonderfully well formed sentences that were completely vacuous.  I have had some success with John Langan's English Skills with Readings, though people on "my side" of the debate call it too simplistic. 

I am reading Joseph Harris's A Teaching Subject:Composition Since 1966, granted it was published in 1997, his chapter on "Error" is good.  But then again, it tends to confirm what I see.

It does seem like you have to choose between well-formed but vacuous sentences or ill-formed non-vacuous ones.

But I think the emphasis on "critical thinking" has tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction. The critical thinking doesn't do anyone much good if you have to struggle through sentence construction to get at the *possible* meaning. Another thing I've noticed is that my students keep getting more prolific every semester. They crank out papers like nobody's business but reread them after they've written them? Ha.
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oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #17 on: April 07, 2010, 10:00:41 PM »


It does seem like you have to choose between well-formed but vacuous sentences or ill-formed non-vacuous ones.

But I think the emphasis on "critical thinking" has tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction. The critical thinking doesn't do anyone much good if you have to struggle through sentence construction to get at the *possible* meaning. Another thing I've noticed is that my students keep getting more prolific every semester. They crank out papers like nobody's business but reread them after they've written them? Ha.

Everyone is free to exclude the middle, I suppose.  I happen not to choose that path, nor do I teach Developmental Cranking and Rereading, so I can't speak to your success there.  But, I would be interested in reading more about that approach if you have a reference.

« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 10:01:44 PM by oldadjunct » Logged

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Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
prytania3
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 44,063

Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #18 on: April 07, 2010, 10:05:51 PM »


It does seem like you have to choose between well-formed but vacuous sentences or ill-formed non-vacuous ones.

But I think the emphasis on "critical thinking" has tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction. The critical thinking doesn't do anyone much good if you have to struggle through sentence construction to get at the *possible* meaning. Another thing I've noticed is that my students keep getting more prolific every semester. They crank out papers like nobody's business but reread them after they've written them? Ha.

Everyone is free to exclude the middle, I suppose.  I happen not to choose that path, nor do I teach Developmental Cranking and Rereading, so I can't speak to your success there.  But, I would be interested in reading more about that approach if you have a reference.



I don't understand your question. Are you talking about our method of assessment/
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I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #19 on: April 07, 2010, 10:13:47 PM »


It does seem like you have to choose between well-formed but vacuous sentences or ill-formed non-vacuous ones.

But I think the emphasis on "critical thinking" has tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction. The critical thinking doesn't do anyone much good if you have to struggle through sentence construction to get at the *possible* meaning. Another thing I've noticed is that my students keep getting more prolific every semester. They crank out papers like nobody's business but reread them after they've written them? Ha.

Everyone is free to exclude the middle, I suppose.  I happen not to choose that path, nor do I teach Developmental Cranking and Rereading, so I can't speak to your success there.  But, I would be interested in reading more about that approach if you have a reference.



I don't understand your question. Are you talking about our method of assessment/

I may have reacted to your "Ha" at the end of your post, which seemed to cast everything previous in a different light.  If I was wrong, I was wrong.

Yes, I would be very interested in your method of assessment.  I am actually in the process of working to break out of a very well grounded, but seemingly ossified approach. I know what I am doing, students like what I am doing, but....  (Thus my return to the literature.)
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 10:15:22 PM by oldadjunct » Logged

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
prytania3
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 44,063

Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #20 on: April 07, 2010, 10:50:13 PM »


It does seem like you have to choose between well-formed but vacuous sentences or ill-formed non-vacuous ones.

But I think the emphasis on "critical thinking" has tipped the scales too far in the opposite direction. The critical thinking doesn't do anyone much good if you have to struggle through sentence construction to get at the *possible* meaning. Another thing I've noticed is that my students keep getting more prolific every semester. They crank out papers like nobody's business but reread them after they've written them? Ha.

Everyone is free to exclude the middle, I suppose.  I happen not to choose that path, nor do I teach Developmental Cranking and Rereading, so I can't speak to your success there.  But, I would be interested in reading more about that approach if you have a reference.



I don't understand your question. Are you talking about our method of assessment/

I may have reacted to your "Ha" at the end of your post, which seemed to cast everything previous in a different light.  If I was wrong, I was wrong.

Yes, I would be very interested in your method of assessment.  I am actually in the process of working to break out of a very well grounded, but seemingly ossified approach. I know what I am doing, students like what I am doing, but....  (Thus my return to the literature.)

We have portfolios (now eportfolios) for final assessment and no grades for essays during the semester. We emphasize "process" much to the dismay of the rest of the college. Problem with portfoilos is the papers get revised and rewritten so many times (and with my hand in them and those from the writing center) that the portfolios don't give you a true idea of a student's real ability.
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I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #21 on: April 07, 2010, 11:51:32 PM »


We have portfolios (now eportfolios) for final assessment and no grades for essays during the semester. We emphasize "process" much to the dismay of the rest of the college. Problem with portfoilos is the papers get revised and rewritten so many times (and with my hand in them and those from the writing center) that the portfolios don't give you a true idea of a student's real ability.

I like portfolios in theory, especially if they are graded in random selection across the comp. faculty, which can increase consistency in evaluation.  Unfortunately, what with the coming and going endemic now, reliability is a serious problem.  I tend to think that portfolio grading by the professor of record is just a way of kicking the can down the road, particularly in the "What grade did I get on this paper?" environment.

But relative to our posts, referencing your portfolio system doesn't really answer my question about assessment.  Granted you assess by way of portfolios, what is it that you assess in the portfolio?  To what extent do you, or your department, skew in one direction or the other on the "correctness" continuum?  Why?   If process is important, what is the problem with the process of a student seeking out help and incorporating that help in the final product?  After all, very little practical writing is done solo, part of the process is in a group.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2010, 11:54:48 PM by oldadjunct » Logged

Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
prytania3
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 44,063

Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2010, 11:54:43 PM »


We have portfolios (now eportfolios) for final assessment and no grades for essays during the semester. We emphasize "process" much to the dismay of the rest of the college. Problem with portfoilos is the papers get revised and rewritten so many times (and with my hand in them and those from the writing center) that the portfolios don't give you a true idea of a student's real ability.

I like portfolios in theory, especially if they are graded in random selection across the comp. faculty, which can increase consistency in evaluation.  Unfortunately, what with the coming and going endemic now, reliability is a serious problem.  I tend to think that portfolio grading by the professor of record is just a way of kicking the can down the road, particularly in the "What grade did I get on this paper?" environment.

But relative to our posts, referencing your portfolio system doesn't really answer my question about assessment.  Granted you assess by way of portfolios, what is it that you assess in the portfolio?  To what extent do you, or your department, skew in one direction or the other on the "correctness" continuum?  Why?

It's more towar d critical thinking and less toward grammar, but then, by the end of the semester and the revision of the portfolios, grammar is not really a problem. Even though it really is.
Logged

I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
oldadjunct
Distinguished Senior Member
*****
Posts: 4,987

LIFO. Enough said.


« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2010, 12:08:18 AM »


It's more towar d critical thinking and less toward grammar, but then, by the end of the semester and the revision of the portfolios, grammar is not really a problem. Even though it really is.

I really don't disagree with this.  After all, if you can't say it right, few will listen.  Believe me, I am struggling with this problem as I move along the chain from quite effective teaching of Comp II and above argument level to wanting more and more to work with students who squeak through with a "C" in non-transfer courses.
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Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan

OMG!  My partner gave me hu!  What do I do to get rid of hu?
compdoc
Distinguished Senior Member
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Posts: 2,420


« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2010, 12:16:39 AM »

http://wrt-howard.syr.edu/Bibs/BasicWtg.htm
It's a reasonable bibliography on basic writing.
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niceday
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Posts: 2,974


« Reply #25 on: April 16, 2010, 10:13:12 PM »

I'm bookmarking this thread as I might have a use for these references.
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verysneaky
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Posts: 373


« Reply #26 on: April 23, 2010, 9:50:17 PM »

<bookmarking>
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 9:50:31 PM by verysneaky » Logged
marigolds
looks far too young to be a
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Posts: 11,623

i had fun once and it was awful


« Reply #27 on: May 06, 2012, 5:24:09 PM »

Reanimating on purpose.

I'm teaching Basic next semester and am going through all the old threads. I'm particularly interested in the discussion between Oldadjunct and Pry about grammar--my department does not encourage (or even condone, really) the teaching of grammar, even in Basic, and I'm trying to decide if I should incorporate it despite potential pushback. 

And I'm making a list of all these fantastic resources, too. 
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petunia621
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Posts: 67


« Reply #28 on: May 07, 2012, 4:38:39 PM »

How funny. I only just figured out that this thread was old!
For anyone who is interested, the Council on Basic Writing has a facebook page, and the  CBW Listserv http://orgs.tamu-commerce.edu/cbw/cbw/Listserv.html is very informative.

Cheers,
P
Pardon my url linking brainfart. It's the end of the semester! My brain is mush.
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elsie
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Posts: 3,855


« Reply #29 on: May 07, 2012, 7:59:20 PM »

One of the all-time best resources for composition teachers is Comppile's CompFAQs at http://compfaqs.org/CompFAQs/Home.
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"People assume that time is a strict progression from cause to effect. But actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey stuff." - the Doctor
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