Evaluate our own discourse community, think about target audience, generate contribution and platform. Contribution will be set and expressed through platform. Opening will point to contribution and determine the context and key point, then expand and give detail to what research has been done and facts that have been found and already been done and also what we are adding. Add pictures, videos, articles, blog, personal opinions and comments, etc. Determine audience formal or informal? Tone, context, specifics, and mood of text suited to audience. Make sure to include additional required elements of format for platform (ex. index, page numbers, colors, size of text, MULTIMEDIA!, illustrations, music, symbols, keys, web addresses, sources, etc.). Add personal media, perspectives and input. Put this in general authority, not just specific to the class.
There is a time in every person’s life where they experience an epiphany. For me, one of the biggest epiphanies I ever experienced pertains to writing. At the beginning of this school year, coming to UNCC straight out of high school, my only writing experiences had been those restricted by the confines of a standard curriculum and format of writing. These restrictions even flowed over into my first semester in college and I was asked to write “five-paragraph essays”. It wasn’t until this semester and being enrolled in UWRT 1103 with Professor Cook that my writing became much more than that. It’s not all just format, length and criteria, but it’s context, purpose, and interpretation that make a great piece of writing.
This semester, I am taking four courses plus a lab. In one of these courses, an LBST course, I was asked to write a five-paragraph essay. This was about three and a half weeks into the semester and I had just become so “enlightened” by the fact that the five paragraph essay and thesis statements and all that were really just wrong to require. I remember my LBST professor saying “Okay so for this assignment you will be writing a simple five paragraph essay for your research on the Health Care System.” As soon as she said it I remember I got all hot and frustrated and I went from super distracted to all of the sudden being to tuned in but out of shock and disagreement. I felt like a spoiled kid whose parents had just flipped a switch and decided not to allow them to have such luxuries any more. Instantly, my hand shot up in the air and I was ready to protest or suggest instead of such a standard format, if we could just have content requirements instead of format requirements. But then I remembered what we had talked about in UWRT earlier that week. We discussed that as much as we would like writing to be about what we it to be, and include lots of personality in our writing and what not, sometimes the contextual part of writing includes a very narrow and fact based criteria. One form of writing that is appropriate for one assignment may not be as appropriate for another. “Good writing” I believe should really be looked at more as “appropriate writing”.
Since further developing as a writer and student in UWRT 1103, I have reevaluated that moment over and over in my head. It still frustrates me and that assignment itself still frustrates me. When it comes down to it, I really don’t enjoy standardized writing anymore. While in high school I considered myself to be a “good writer” I had mastered the five-paragraph essay. But now, I realize just how limited I was and that since learning what I know now about writing, I have been able to place myself in a specific writing community. I would consider my new style of writing to be highly expressive and well articulated, something I was never able to say before. Also I have been able to enjoy the writing process. There are so many aspects of writing that I can see now that I was never able to see before. Such as context, contrast, narrative vs. reflection, analytical vs. expressive, and what it truly means to be a good writer. All of these things influence my current standpoint on writing and I have fully learned to appreciate writing in a whole new light.
If there is one thing I can take away from this experience with writing, its what it takes to make create a good piece of writing. As long as an individual has correct grammar and spelling, articulates the information necessary in the assignment thoroughly, and meets the length requirements of the assignment, there shouldn’t be many other restrictions. Even though there are times when simple facts or analytical collections need to be expressed, one can do so in their own unique way of writing reflective of them that still captures the reader’s attention. Writing should be a form of personality, like art. Individuality should always be able to shine through in a persons writing regardless of the topic. As far as things like the five-paragraph essay go, as “good writers” we know there would probably be a better way to write about something than through that. However, another important part of being a good writer is being able to adapt and articulate certain tasks in writing even when we don’t want to, in order to accomplish a given task. I believe that writing should never be something we look at as a chore. Rather, it should be a creative outlet no matter what the purpose. Writing is limitless and should never be taken for granted. After reflecting upon everything I’ve learned thus far in the class and throughout the course of the semester, I cant say I have truly grown as a writer and know that I will continue to grow as the semester progresses.
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.