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What it means to be a High School Writer


answers: 1
Apr 8, 2008, 09:20pm   #
Could I have feedback on more so the content of my essay, any remarks on my argument, do you agree, feel free to disagree, or perhaps provide me new ways to present my argument?


High School Writer

A high school writer is constantly thinking about how others will perceive or interpret their writing. What spurs a high school writer's unwillingness to write is the misconception of literacy. Literacy can mean all sorts of things, depending on society and the culture in which it is used. Street, in his piece states that "Even though in the long run many local people do want to change their literacy practices and take on some of those associated with western or urban society" (Street, paragraph 3). Each high school writer has a different understanding of what literacy is and what it means to write, yet most high school writers don't even understand the term at all.
Few high school writers are able to develop keen thoughts and produce an adequate essay. This is partially restrained due to the discourse practices as Gee describes. Gee states that "discourse practices associated with our schools represent the world view of mainstream and powerful institutions in our society" (Gee, paragraph 4).These discourse practices taught in school by teachers influence a high school writer's ability to understand "literacy". The teacher professes the "mainstream discourse practices" and consequently is at fault for the literacy crisis among high school writers. These discourse practices taught by teachers lead to a misunderstanding of what is literacy, especially when a teacher is constantly "not teaching grammar or even literacy" (Gee, paragraph 4). High School writers don't know how to write because they don't have the right knowledge in writing.
Literacy is subsequently a different idea in each society and culture. As Gee puts it "Different societies have different types of literacy, and literacy has different social and mental effects in different social and cultural contexts" (Gee, paragraph 3). Having no knowledge of how to write, high school writers conform to society and this affects their writing. Society teaches teenagers to conform to the wants of the media or the "powerful institutions" of society in general. If high school writers follow this they will listen to anything that anyone tells them, if this means English teachers. Teachers are affected by society and therefore they don't teach how to write. Conforming to the wants of the teacher and society and not professing one's true feelings in a piece reflects the teachers' inability to teach literacy. Students are uncomfortable in sharing and writing down their thoughts because they will be going against the mainlined, nonintellectual ideas of society. They haven't been taught what it means to reflect your thoughts into your own work. Instead they have been taught, society has taught them, to conform to what they want you to write or believe. High school writers only know how to fix their paper to the wants of their teacher, partially because of their incapability to understand literacy. High school writers are scared to craft a unique piece because society has made them one sided. Their views are in line with society and therefore a high school writer cannot expand their views and think outside the box; they cannot take a different look on things. In order to challenge facts and ideas and not just accept things at face value, high school writers must be taught literacy.
As a result of society influencing teachers and students, identity is constantly changing. As Gee puts it "these discourse practices are tied to the particular world views...[they] are integrally connected with the identity..." (Gee, paragraph 4). Students aren't sure about themselves and how to truly write. This is because they are confused about their identity and aren't willing to challenge society. Instead of accepting facts students must challenge ideas and teachers in order to write better papers. A lack of identity and purpose results in high school writers creating one-sided papers and arguments, which just fulfill the wants of their teacher. Since there is no understanding of their purpose and what they are supposed to write, they will automatically listen to society to fill that void. Literacy is at a fault and until that time high school writers will always have a skewed view on how to write.








Works Cited
Street, B. (in press/2008). New literacies, new times: How do we describe and teach the forms of literacy knowledge, skills, and values people need for new times. In N. Hornberger, (Ed.) Encyclopedia of Language and Literacy. Vol 2: Literacy. New York: Springer.
Pages 2-3 two paragraph overview of NLS

Gee, J. (2004). Orality and literacy: From The Savage Mind to Ways with Words. In J. Maybin, (Ed.) Language and Literacy in Social Practice. Philadelphia. Multilingual Matters, pp. 168-192.
Pages 168-169 opening four paragraphs

Greetings!

You've written a very good essay! Here are some editing suggestions for you:

Street, in his piece states that "Even though in the long run many local people do want to change their literacy practices and take on some of those associated with western or urban society" (Street, paragraph 3). - A quotation needs to flow naturally into your own writing. You should eliminate the first two words of the quotation and begin with "in the long run ..."

The teacher professes the "mainstream discourse practices" and consequently is at fault for the literacy crisis among high school writers. - I didn't follow the logic here. You need to explain these "discourse practices" more completely to your reader, because it isn't clear why the teacher is at fault.

If high school writers follow this they will listen to anything that anyone tells them, if this means English teachers. - This sentence does not really make sense. Did you mean "if, by 'anyone,' one means English teachers"?

Teachers are affected by society and therefore they don't teach how to write. - Your conclusion "and therefore..." does not follow from the premise. It's like saying "Bill watches a lot of television and therefore he wears green socks." Perhaps there is a connection, but the effect does not follow from the cause, with the information given.

You are a good writer; just make sure that every assertion you make is backed up, and that your conclusions follow logically from them.

I hope this helps!

Thanks,

Sarah, EssayForum.com



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