Sunday, November 29, 2015

Blog # 10 – Wiley and Fister

The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (and Why We Need to Resist) by Mark Wiley & Why the “Research Paper” Isn’t Working by Barbara Fister

In The Popularity of Formulaic Writing (and Why We Need to Resist) by Mark Wiley, we are presented with a method that seems very similar to the five paragraph essay. Wiley starts his essay by presenting Schaffer’s four-paragraph essay idea. This method seems easy to follow and easy to understand. By using this method, it seems like the student could follow each step and they could be able to write their essays without a problem.

I agree that Schaffer’s method to writing an essay can become a godsend for those students who don’t know how to go about putting an essay together. This method can help them develop their ideas and can make them feel better about writing. Often, students feel frustrated when they don’t know how to write their essays. I’ve seen many classmates frustrated about their ideas, the structure of their essays, or whether or not they are following the assignment’s guidelines. And when they look at the rubric, they often wonder how are they supposed to write everything the rubric will be evaluating or in which order are they supposed to write it. As I read about Schaffer’s method, it seemed like this could really help those students who are struggling to write their essays.

Wiley’s essay also says that this method should be used by students in the ninth and tenth grade and that by the eleventh grade they should be able to develop their essays on their own. This seems to be a good way of helping students not become dependable on this method and having them actually learn the steps so that they can use it in the future. This way, they could also be more prepare to do college level work for when the time comes. This method makes me think about the writing process as a whole. We could learn about it step by step but later we learn that the process changes for every piece of writing we are creating. Schaffer’s method could be a good base for students who are struggling but it is necessary for those students to learn to not depend on this method.

Why the “Research Paper” Isn’t Working by Barbara Fister talks about the topic of writing a research paper. I knew by the title of this essay, that an explanation about why the research paper isn’t working was going to be presented in the essay. I found very interesting what Fister had to say. “We should abandon the traditional research paper” she said in her essay. That sentence really got me thinking. What would happen if we break tradition? Would it be really bad to do that? or actually beneficial for the students? I don’t know if I have the answer to that but Fister says not to call the research paper that but rather to “turn it into a presentation, an informational brochure, or a Wikipedia article.” These are all different ideas and different it’s often scary. It’s not what we know or what we are used to. But perhaps it could actually teach the students more than having them feel frustrated about writing the traditional research paper. I think that it’s important to have students learn how to right the traditional research paper but I like Fister’s idea of bringing in something new to the table. 

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