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This was one of the reasons I felt it was important to gain an understanding of the writing knowledge students bring from high school and the way in which those perceptions might influence their views while learning to write in first- year university. Instructor Expectations One of the principle differences between the writing environment in high school and first-year university is instructor expectations. She further stated that differing instructor expectations puts high school teachers at a disadvantage because they do not know the sort of things each college professor will want in terms of writing skill. Thompson and Gallagher (2010) discovered that students face many challenges when they begin university and that these challenges are compounded by the fact that students who learned to do well in their high school English classes. These students, who learned to play the high school game by following the high school rules, will find themselves playing a completely different game in UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 70 college, where the rules may change from professor to professor. Blau (2010) found that college and university professors expect their undergraduate students to enter into a discourse community and produce the type of scholarly paper that experts in the field produce for scholarly journals. In fact Blau argued that they do not know enough about the discipline to be able to comment on it. They do not speak the same language, and they are unfamiliar with the history of the discourse. Expecting first- year students to be help on essays able to write scholarly papers in the various discourses may be an unrealistic expectation for many students. UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 71 Harris (2010) went further in her assessment of the sorts of things students need to know in order to turn out assignments that will meet the requirements of academic writing. She stressed the need for students to be able to understand the assignments and to figure out what their instructors want them to do. Harris further argues that, without the ability to critically help on essays read the assignment, students are left wondering what to do.
She explains those students often read assignments and interpret them based on their previous experiences with writing assignments. In high school, teacher expectations may not be as high on any particular assignment because it is only one of many assignments. In first-year studies, there tend to be fewer assignments and written work is held to a higher standard. Instructors judge not only the quality of ideas, but also the presentation of those ideas. Their only resort seems to be a hollow imitation of the voices in academic texts, (p. Applebee (1984) also found that instructors in higher education have, as their focus, the reading and criticism of the text, with little time, if any, spent teaching students how to write.
Acker and Halasek (2008) reported on a study that paired Ohio State University and two area high schools that send numerous students to the university. This was a program through which high school and university instructors help on essays conducted joint research that sought to address K-16 language arts alignment and student success in university. The collaborators invited student authors to write essays and receive feedback from both university and high school writing faculty with an e-portfolio system. Subsequent paragraphs should each present a point that supports this thesis and the essay should end with a logical conclusion. In composition, students are usually unaware of what it takes to write even a four-to-five page essay every two or three weeks.
The surveys were designed to compare the views of college instructors with those of high school teachers. This was where I identified a gap in the existing research. UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 75 Student Perceptions If instructors are to get a complete picture of the first-year writing experience at university, then it is important to invite students into the discussion, and have them speak about their writing experiences in help on essays the different discourse communities. In addition, in order to contextualize the views of writing that students hold once they get to university, it is essential to understand their perceptions of the writing environment they had experienced in high school. The report found that even when students are asked for their perceptions, their suggestions are often not incorporated. The authors surveyed nearly 2,000 high school students in the United UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 76 States across schools and grade levels to investigate their perceptions of writing instruction help me with my research paper and what these perceptions might have for gaining a better understanding of writing instruction.
In their own classrooms, the authors observed that students had become increasingly product-oriented and had departed from the process approach they were being taught.
The importance of listening to students was corroborated by Soohoo (1993) who voiced his concerns that somehow educators have forgotten the important connection between teachers and students. We listen to outside experts to inform us, and consequently, we overlook the treasure in our very own backyards: our students. As teachers, we need to find ways to continually seek out these silent voices because they can teach us so much about learning and learners, (p. She interviewed forty-six students about their experiences before, during, and after completion of their first major writing assignment. Carroll (2002) found that first-year students struggle in understanding the expectations of their professors. Further, Carroll found that first-year students expected more explicit instruction from their instructors since they often did not understand what was expected of them when completing assignments. Carroll (2002) says that the emphasis on academic writing in first-year means that UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 78 students are not rewarded for writing narratives or personal opinion pieces as they had been in high schools. It appears that these students believed themselves to have been adequately prepared for the university writing environment. They believe that first- year students should have been taught to write in help on essays high school.
UNIVERSITY AND HIGH SCHOOL ARE JUST VERY DIFFERENT 79 Chapter Overview This chapter explored the difficulties that many students encounter when they begin first- year university. In an attempt to understand why some students have trouble making the transition from high school to first-year university, studies were analyzed with respect to: teacher and student expectations and the mis-match that can occur between the two the differing writing environments in the various courses that come with distinct vocabularies and distinct expectations and the inherent challenges of academic writing.