Writer paper

During this prewriting phase, students also engage in several activities designed to illustrate ways of knowing. They assemble collages from photographs and images in magazines. They select mu- sic and choreograph images of knowing from experience.

They demonstrate what they know and how they have learned it. The purpose of these activities is to embrace knowledge gained from experience and to highlight con- nections between personal identity, knowing, and writing. During this phase, we build connections between all activi- ties. They write five- to seven-page papers that synthesize evidence from experience with evidence from per- formance with evidence from at least three sources we have read. Stu- dent writers use their own experiences as evidence to make claims about the role of expert knowledge at the university. This is simply because the people determining the criteria seldom hold the honored profes- sional positions which lie at the very top of the hierarchy.

In a reflective phase following submission of his final draft, Justin discusses what he has learned about personal and academic ways of knowing. Their rich narratives are enhanced by the performance phase of the project. Justin, for example, gave a breathtaking mountain biking demonstration, and it helped him - 87 - WRITING ASSIGNMENTS write a gripping narrative anecdote, which introduced the thesis of his paper. To support their theses, student writers organize the body of their papers around points scholarly writers make. Stu- dents synthesize textual points made by scholars with their own understandings of coming to know. Their focus is on connec- tions between these points themselves and not on the points made by scholars. In this way, first-year writers enter the conversation of others — who presum- ably have more authority and privilege to speak on these issues than do students — by connecting personally with the themes they address. Thus, student writers find something unique to add to ongoing conversations about disciplinary epistemologies. Expressive composing processes are juxtaposed intertextually to serve the interests of first-year students in an institution that historically has belittled and condemned their abilities. These composing processes serve students extratextually as well. Although diverse groups of stu- dents generally enroll in my class, one semester sixteen women and one man registered. Teaching a predominantly white, middle- class, heterosexual female group alerted me to ways in which gender-conscious teaching can make a mess in classrooms. In this female-majority class, the gendered nature of knowing, learning, and writing percolated uneasily to the surface. During prewriting, many women chatted and wrote blithely about things they knew a great deal about — dieting, sleeping, applying makeup, crochet- ing, and shopping. Women find themselves needing to choose between experientially learned knowledge and a seemingly separate knowledge of the mind.

I encouraged students to play with their topics of dieting, sleeping, makeup, and shopping.

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I said I would help them write plausible academic syntheses about the expertise they claimed if only they would claim it. They might create a space for transforming gender politics in classrooms. She performed a very funny parody of high fashion runway exhibi- tions. Her work put her readers out of synch with normal expectations for college fare. Jackie exposed how feminized epistemologies might disrupt misogyny embedded in disciplinary ways of knowing and masculinized domination of academic discourse.

Teaching this class, I realized that I had been pedagogically blind to what it might mean to write academically as a white woman, a working-class student, or person of color.

As Kristie Fleckenstein ( 1999 ) explains, writer paper In sacrificing bodies to some illusion of either transcendent truth or culturally constituted textuality, we cut ourselves adrift from any organic anchoring in the material reality of flesh.

Sherrington says a body knows itself to be real (qtd. Acknowledgments The author wishes to thank the editors for their thoughtful and gener- ous reviews of earlier drafts of this essay. She also must thank Kathryn Fitzgerald for ongoing inspiration and Connie Hale, Bruce Adams, and Mary Ellen Hughes for close and careful readings. All the readings discussed in this chapter that are listed by author and title but no year of publication are assembled in Kathryn Fitzgerald, Heather Bruce, Sharon Stasney, and Anna Vogt, editors, Conversations in Context: Identity, Knowledge and College Writing (Ft. Fitzgerald, Kathryn, Heather Bruce, Sharon Stasney, and Anna writer paper Vogt, eds. Conversations in Context: Identity, Knowledge and College Writing. For those of us who have spent any num- ber of years in writing classrooms and for those preparing to enter them, one of the most challenging areas of writing instruc- tion is the arena commonly referred to as argumentation. And there is no short supply of readers and argument text- books on the market to assist teachers. Typically, these texts rely on the fundamentals of classical rhetoric or Toulminian argument as the theoretical underpinning for understanding and compos- ing persuasive discourse, and they are often organized into units of thematically linked readings.

At many institutions, my own included, students who successfully pass both sections of first- year composition, or their honors English equivalent, may well have fulfilled their writing requirement for graduation. Thus, stu- dents must be able to bring discourse skills to bear on the writing and research they do throughout their collegiate experience.

A second concern writer paper is the decontextualized, ahistorical manner in which conflict can be portrayed — devoid of its social, political, economic, and local exigencies. The prompts emerged from an English 102 course I taught at an urban, largely commuter insti- tution the spring that Los Angeles was engulfed in riots follow- ing the acquittal of four police involved in the Rodney King - 94 - Conflict, Context, Conversation assault.

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