Genre theory time

Dean comments that genres are more than forms in her article but she doesn’t really explain in great detail what she means by that so it just leaves me confused. she also mentions that genres are forms of life which makes no sense to me at all.

Dean mentions that classification is an  essential part of understanding genre which I agree with because if you don’t understand genre and how it is applied then it is very hard to work with things that are classified in certain genres.

Genres are categorized as:

- rhetorical
 -dynamic
- historical
 -cultural
 -situated
 -ideological

I think these categories work really well with genres.

Overall from reading Deans article on genres, I feel like I have a better understanding of genres and how they can be applied but there were some areas of Deans article that I felt she didn’t explain a concept fully or she left out details.


Is there a discourse writing community?

Right at the beginning of “The idea of community in the study or writing” Harris makes a point of that during his time at the university, he was part of many discourse communities but was never a full member of one. If we think about this, we can see that it also applies to us as students. We are part of many discourse communities but we do not spend all of our time in one thus making us a member but not a full member. Writing being a discourse community is true and meets the requirements for being one but it is also not a discourse community at the same time. If you are writing a paper for your English class then you are part of the discourse community doing the exact same thing but if you are writing poetry you are not since no two poems are alike and poetry is full of feelings.


“The troubles of many student writers, Bartholomae suggests, begin with their inability to imagine such a position of privilege, to define their views against some “common” way of talking about their subject. Instead, they simply repeat in their writing “what everybody knows” or what their professor has told them in her lectures. The result, of course, is that they are penalized for “having nothing really to say.”” I think that what Bartholomae is saying has truth to it. When writing a paper you would following the guidelines thus making you put what your teacher has talked about in your paper. This doesn’t mean there isn’t new information in the paper but it is just reiterating what everyone knows already. This is the main discourse writing community and what we need to do to become better writers is to find a way out of that discourse community and into another one that better fits our needs as writers.


I think that they are agreeing with Swales description of discourse communities to some degree. “There has been much debate in recent years over whether we need, above all, to respect our students’ “right to their own language,” or to teach them the ways and forms of “academic discourse.” Both sides of this argument, in the end, rest their cases on the same suspect generalization: that we and our students belong to different and fairly distinct communities of discourse, that we have “our” “academic” discourse and they have “their own” “common” (?I) ones. The choice is one between opposing fictions. The “languages” that our students bring to us cannot but have been shaped, at least in part, by their experiences in school, and thus must, in some ways, already be “academic.” Similarly, our teaching will and should always be affected by a host of beliefs and values that we hold regardless of our roles as academics. What we see in the classroom, then, are not two coherent and competing discourses but many overlapping and conflicting ones.” As we see from what Harris is saying, there are many overlapping and conflicting discourse communities a student can relate to. Language is an important part of a discourse community but if everyone’s language is different than is there a discourse community for each language or is there one big community? And if you really think about it, are there really many discourse communities or is there just one discourse community with many specialized sections in it? For all discourse communities relate to each other somehow.

Discourse communities I belong to

The first discourse community I belong to the chemistry department. Everyone has a common goal in chemistry: to make things react. we like mixing chemicals and seeing what happens. Mass emails are sent to us from the chemistry department and there are study groups that sent out their own emails and texts to those that are in that group. Chemistry is mostly experiments which we all get feedback on from instructors and friends as to what we did wrong and what we did right. Chemistry like most sciences is a broad term. There are many different types of chemistry such as basic chemistry, organic chemistry, and inorganic chemistry. If you have ever talked to some one about chemistry, you are going to hear a lot of complex terms and a few equations. Chemistry is very detailed and the wrong word can mean a totally different thing. All of my instructors love chemistry with a passion, you can hear it in their voice otherwise it would be very hard to teach. Chemistry is used for finding out how chemicals work together and why reactions happen.

The second discourse community I belong to is the math department. The goal in math is simple, solve the equation but how you get the answer depend on the type of math you use. There are many different types of math which use different equations to solve problems. Mass emails is the most effective way of communication for the department. You take a lot of tests in math and have a ton of homework but that is the way you get feedback from people. The people that teach math love it since it is a tough subject to teach. Math has a lot of equations and vocabulary terms that you will hear if you talk to some one that really loves math. Math is used to provide facts and answers to you

Both of these communities share similar traits. The same type of communication is used, both have a lot of terms and equations used, and it is something that you have to be passionate about. Chemistry and math use the same amount of writing but you are not writing papers really unless you have to write a lab report in chemistry. You write a lot of equations. Numbers are everywhere in both of these communities. Both of these communities needs the other and they also influence each other.

Should there be a standard writing model?

We all learn the 5 paragraph essay model in school and we always use it or else we lose points on our papers. When reading “The Elements of Literacy”, the part about the no child left behind act stood out to me. Maybe the standard of writing was changed so that all children were judged on the same level. If that is what happened then I have mixed feelings about it. While the 5 paragraph model gives a base model to everyone it should not be the standard since there is no standard in education higher then high school. It seems to me that there are two sets of gatekeepers for writing papers. There are the 5 paragraph model gatekeepers and there are the free range writing gatekeepers. Most people get pass the first set of gatekeepers but not everyone gets past the second set. This provides the issue, should there be a set writing model that the entire world uses?

If I were to write an essay that contained 7 paragraphs in high school, I would have lost points for not following the model my teacher wanted but once I got to college and learned that teachers don’t use this model, my mind exploded a bit. I mean I spent about nine to teen years of my life being told that I had to write using the 5 paragraph essay model or I was writing wrong. Why are we being taught something that does not hold true in college? “Blaze’s experience” brings up a different point. A lot of teachers use Moodle to grade essays and homework now and when they set up the grading rubric in Moodle they unintentionally make it so that the 5 paragraph model works the best so most students use it and are not as creative as they could be. While I like being creative when I write, I don’t want my grade and work to suffer because I have to write a certain way. I think that the 5 paragraph model should be introduced as a model and used in middle school but once in high school students should be able to write the way they want to and be graded on the same level as each other even if it means that a teacher has to read every single essay.

Being literate and “good” writing

To be literate, to me, means that a person is able to read and write but they also have to be able to use grammar properly and fully understand what they read. They also have to be able to communicate with others efficiently. When I think of a literate person, I think of someone who is able to properly use grammar, comprehends what they read, and are able to communicate effectively in one language or a few.

Good writing will have a different meaning to everyone but to me good writing is a piece of writing that is able to draw your attention and makes use of the senses. I love reading books and papers that use the senses so that when I am reading the piece I am able to have a clear picture of what is happening in my mind kind of like a movie playing while I am reading. If I’m not draw into a book or paper by the end of the first page I stop reading because I want something that can hold my attention. Most of the required readings for these general education classes we take, I only read because it is required granted that every once and a while there is a piece I like but mostly I do not like them at all. Good writing of course has proper use of grammar and such. I would not consider writing that has more than a few grammar mistakes to be good.

What “grinds my gears” when I’m reading something is when the subject keeps jumping around paragraph to paragraph. It’s like they don’t know how to relate the subjects so they don’t even try and then everything turns up messy. I also hate it when people put too much information or too many details into a paper. I just want the main point and a little background information not the entire history of a subject. I don’t mind writing five to seven page paper but when someone writes a paper that is five to seven pages over the maximum page limit, all I can say is why? No one wants to read a paper that long while you really like reading papers. When I communicate with people, I hate it when they text me every little detail of what they are doing at the moment, if I didn’t ask about it then I don’t want to know about it. I also hate it when I’m talking to my friend and some inserts themselves into the conversation or acts like they know what we are taking about. And when someone tells you something that you didn’t ask about or want to know about their life it just makes the conversation become awkward.

While reading the article “teaching as unteaching” I saw how lucky I was that even though some of my high school English teachers told my class some of the same things they never told us that college used the same guidelines as high school. The teachers that I liked best in high school would give the class guidelines for the length of the paper and then give us free range on what we would write about. I do agree with what the author is saying in the article. It seems that in all subjects we are taught that what we learn will be used in college and it’s not meaning we have to forget about half of what we have learned since it serves no purpose and learn new things.


Inquiry prompt

What is Inquiry?

Inquiry is asking questions and gathering information that leads to looking into a subject that interests you.

“Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world.”

“A seeking or request for truth, information, or knowledge.”

“It starts with exploration and questioning and leads to investigation into a worthy question, issue, problem or idea.”


What is Inquiry Based Learning?

Teaching method where the student is giving a problem and has to find the answer to it on their own with the teacher guiding them.


Who uses Inquiry Based Learning?

All levels of education. Used more in elementary school and less in high school. It seems that most people agree on what it is but not where and how it should be used.