My Groups Progress Through Inquiry

Throughout working on this inquiry project, both of my group members and I have been exploring different avenues of this topic. Each of us were assigned specific questions that we were to try and answer about our topic, through our individual research. During this process we have all been realizing just how difficult it is to find sources and concrete research on this topic. Given the fact that our main question is “what would the world be like without money?” is a hypothetical question, research on this topic is limited. Even with these constraints, I believe my group and I are doing a great job so far evaluating the possibilities and picking apart this topic.

Ellana’s job in in this inquiry process is evaluating the questions: Psychology between owing someone something, why as humans do we need to be paid back? And was there a turning a point for money to come into existence? One thing I’ve noticed since reading Ellana’s posts is that she has a great line of clear thinking that goes into her writing, you can really she the definitive avenues she choses to go down throughout her research and writing. There is a great amount of detail she presents and lots of intriguing questions she asks to further her writing process. So far, I think she is doing a great job with her part of this inquiry project. One suggestion I might have for her is to explore different areas of thinking, try and piece things that seem unrelated to the topic into new directions of her writing.

Larissa’s job in this inquiry process is evaluating the questions: How did currency develop in cultures? And how did bartering turn into currency? One thing I’ve noticed since reading Larissa’s posts was how great her research is and how much she is able to relate things from her sources into answering her specified inquiry questions. However, I am beginning to realize a narrowing of the topic instead of a broadening. I realize this is because she has the challenging job of taking fact based material and trying to turn it into something more abstract or create a new line of thinking while still remaining on topic and within the confines of her specified questions. She has given great detail so far in her writing and I feel like if she could continue this same way of writing while branching out a little more, she could accomplish a lot through her writing on this topic. One word of advice I would give to her would be to not to be scared to go completely out of range in her research from what she has been typically sticking to At this point our questions will be changing no matter how hard we try and that’s okay. It will allow for more opportunities and knowledge on exploring different angles of this theoretical society and its true potential.


Discourse Communities and Community in Writing

In talking about Swales’ and Harris’s writing, it is clear that they are in agreement with much of what community means. Harris makes statement to all of use being individuals but also all part of communities. It could also be said that be are all community rather than individuals because there will always be similarity and groupings to peoples writing and ideas. Harris talks about the word “pedagogy” and how students and people have to challenge and inquire the common rules and knowledge to writing. Within discourse communities people need to find comfort in in the unknown and addressing new things, however, they also need to know how to do so while acting within the confines of their particular discourse community.

“Community” and Our Writing

The word “community” typically has a sense of togetherness or sameness to it. This term becomes challenged and evaluated through the writing of Joseph Harris, Bartholomae, and Bathes. When it comes to community in writing, many people are confused about what exactly this means. After reading the article The Idea of Community in the Study of Writing, I now better understand the meaning of what it means in relation to writing and education, but also how it contradicts many preconceived notions most people have about writing. Something that is typically misinterpreted about the word “community” is that it reflects upon multiple people. I have come to the understanding that “community” actually leans more towards the word “individual” in terms of community in writing.

Harris agrees with Bartholomae when he says that we “write not as isolated individuals but as members of communities whose beliefs, concerns, and practices both instigate and constrain, at least in part, the sorts of things we say” (p. 3). In addition, he also agrees with Bathes statement, “We do not write simply as individuals, but we do not write simply as members of a community either” (p. 10). I believe what they are saying is that, when we write, we begin based off of our own individual ideas but what actually ends up happening is that a sense of community is developed in our writing by the similarities it has to others similar thoughts and ideas. We write as individuals with our own opinions, but somewhere along the way, we accumulate a sameness to others through our writing, thus creating a community. My conclusion of community in writing is that, individual writings of similar minded people, create community, rather than a community influencing an individuals writing. One example being, a group of 50 people from different areas of the globe may not even know they have the same views of opinions in their writing, being unaware of the “community” in their writing. However, without knowing each other’s ideas or views, they write very similarly thus creating their own community.

One word that could be closely related to “community” is “discourse”. Swales’ observations of discourse community could be somewhat attributed to what Harris writes in The Idea of Community in the Study of Writing. Swales’ talks about the key factors that define a discourse community and that everyone in such community works towards a common goal. I believe this to be somewhat true with community in writing, however most of the time I don’t believe it to be intentional. Maybe once people have become aware or are in contact with others in their community of writing, they might openly work amongst each other towards a particular common goal. Most of the time however, it is my opinion, that unless it is a required sort of academic writing community, many people are unaware and just speak and think freely towards what message or goal their writing persuades.

In conclusion, I can say that I agree with much of what Harris, Bartholomea, and Bathes say about “community” in writing. It is something that is individually driven but group resolved. Many times people feel confined to a certain way of writing, but writing communities can help to individualize and expand ones true way of writing. It is important in academics to have a certain type of community in writing, however one that does not fully take away from an individuals true self in their writing. The importance is in the balance between the academic community and the individuals preferred community.

Understanding of Schooled Literacy and Gatekeepers

At the start of this blog prompt, we were given a definition of a gatekeeper. A gatekeeper is defined as something or someone “used to signify either a person or force that creates protocols for entry into physical or abstract space.” To me, I was a bit confused by this definition especially because I have never heard this term used in context of writing. I have come to find that often in this course we are relating terms not typically thought to be related to writing, to our writing and inquiry pieces. After Addressing the chapter of The Elements of Literacy and evaluating the different perspectives on literacy and how it is used in context of education and schooling, It is clear that literacy can mean many more things than most people may think. When left open to interpretation and context, there really is no exact definition. This is something that can be used to address the five paragraph essay. After reading he Five-Paragraph Essay and the Deficit Model of Education by Lil Brannon, I felt enlightened that there has actually been something of renowned and legitimate writing that supports the negative impact of writing curriculum based off of the five paragraph essay. In this she talks about how this style of writing is hardly a style at all and hurts more than helps anyone who is originally taught this way. One main reason for this is because is real life no one actually writes this way or is able to properly articulate a good piece of writing while being limited to this format. Due to the fact that this is unnecessary and incorrect, we as our own gatekeepers must take matters into our own hands my gate keeping our minds from this wrong information.

It is important to keep in mind that we have the ultimate control over ourselves even if we are forced to write in this manner. We must allow ourselves to fulfill this task because of its appropriateness in context of requirement for our class but then we must do away with the understanding that this is the “proper” way to write. Another article, Teaching as Un-teaching backs this opinion of the five paragraph essay and also addresses the important point that students are literally having to work harder and undo what has been done in their minds and understandings of writing because of misgiven information about how they should write. They are being taught one set way to write and like said in the article Teaching as Un-teaching, this will not always be the type of writing needed in the future.Schooled literacy overlooks the fact that writing is limitless, or at least it should be. Limits may need to be put in place in context of providing a specific or more narrowed point in your piece of writing. However, though there are limits, what the limits are will most likely be different for every bit of writing you do throughout your life, and that is what the five paragraph essay lacks to inform.

Two more articles that can be addressed in this new understanding of literacy and gatekeepers are Deficit Model of Education, and Blaze’s Experience. After reading through both of these articles, I found many other supporting point of the negativity impact of the five paragraph essay and how it relates to the struggle of teaching as un-teaching. To bring all of what I have come to learn through these reading and my personal experience in this class I have come to raise the question, how can we become better gatekeepers of our own minds, and how do we become as literate as we can when the schooled literacy we are being taught from such a young age could actually be considered illiterate? This is something I hope is addressed and further looked into in hopes to change the government regulated state-wide writing curriculums.