Kelley 1 Kaitlyn Kelley Dr.

Rieman English 1103 H 27 October 2010 Expectations When signing up for this class, I was expecting to be challenged a great deal. The idea of an accelerated college English was intimidating to begin with, and then I signed up for the Honors version. My high school was a challenging, high expectation-holding, college preparatory school and I did not know how the intensity of an honors college course would compare. Some of the challenges that I anticipated I have not necessarily faced and I have experienced other challenges that I did not expect. In my mind, I pictured having hours of reading novels, stories, and poems each night. In class, I was prepared for deep, intellectual conversation about the literature. I was not anticipating having hours of reading articles about writing. One of the unexpected challenges I have experienced this year is that most of our assignments, at this point, are graded for completion. I am used to having every sentence analyzed for grammar and content no matter what class or what assignment. I am not sure why this is a challenge to me because I have always turned in my assignments but I assume my discomfort comes from the mental switch that happens as I rediscover what is expected of me. It surprises me that I am stressed about not having my work scrutinized over. The impending fear and uncertainty of turning in my pieces in a portfolio contributes to my anxiousness of writing papers that are not graded for grammatical correctness now. As a result, I have to focus and

Kelley 2 accept the expectation change. It challenges me to learn to accept that I will have to do things that I was not previously used to. Though I was prepared for reading and analyzing novels and poems, we did not read scholarly journal articles in my school. I have had to practice switching my mind-set from just reading the words with the intention of completion to reading for comprehension. I do not consider myself a member of the intended audience; however, when I enrolled in this class, I signed up to become a discourse member; and I have to accept this fact and begin reading with this in mind. Only then can I actually read for understanding and process the ideas and themes presented in an article. I am used to the writing-to-explore pieces from high school. Last year, I was also expected to write a two-page journal entry each week that was graded mostly for grammar and completion. The writing-to-explore pieces feel very natural to me because of this. However, I have written all the journals that caught my interest when I read the assignment and so now, I do not like writing the journals because there are few topics left that truly intrigue me. I do realize that this is part of learning to write as well. In my career, I am sure that I will have to write about some topics that I enjoy less than others; however, all works require the same energy and effort. In the beginning, I varied my writing style by composing a poem and I was proud of how I embraced the evolution. However, I fell back into writing them in my normal “English-paperwriting” voice. I approach the idea of varying my voice timidly because I am afraid to lose the meaning of my work in the unnatural style. I am unsure how to properly vary my journals and still address the topics needed and to meet the page requirements. I am comfortable in this tone but I also want to be able to conquer other styles. My uncertainty of how it will turn out holds me back from attempting to evolve my writing style.

Kelley 3 However, I have explored and grown in another mode of communication since high school—participating in class discussion. Last year, I would never have been the first to offer my ideas before anyone else and I would rarely say anything out-loud. I came into this school year with the intention to participate more in class discussions, especially in the smaller classes. It used to be something that was very out of my comfort zone, but with the conscious decision to speak more, I have gotten more used to it. I think this effort has aided me by adding incentive to read my assignments and understand them. In our classroom culture document, we agreed “to have an open mind and be prepared to look at things from a different angle” and the responses people give to what I contribute help me to grow because it provides another point of view to my opinion. Like hearing people’s responses to my opinions, research can be another voice to explore an idea. For research papers in the past, I never took advantage of the research as a way to challenge and grow my view on a topic. I have always written a paper full of my ideas and then found sources to support what I already believe and about which I wrote. I wrote a paper in high school about William Blake’s “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” and it took me a long time to find “usable” sources because I refused to use any that did not address my point specifically. I would simply disregard any other sources that did not fit my theme. Therefore, it is a good thing that I do not know much about my topic so that it can truly be a genuine research paper. I am glad that we do not have a set limit of quotes necessary like I did in high school. I think this will help me actually make use of my sources and use it to drive my paper instead of my ideas driving it. I am excited to see where the information leads me. The topic that I am researching developed when we read “Sponsors of Literacy” by Deborah Brandt. I could not stop thinking about all the kids that I babysit and how their houses

Kelley 4 are full of electronic toys that sing the alphabet to them. One of the families has a magnetic game on the refrigerator that involves putting in letter in a reader that tells them the letter, what sound it makes, and a word that starts with this letter. I began to wonder if children now have the means to educate themselves to read without the assistance of adults. Leapfrog created the tag reading system that can read select words in books or can read the whole book. It is incredible the amount of technology that is available to learn to read. I began to further explore this idea when I wrote the Writing to Explore piece about observation. I decided to write a poem for it about the shift from using pencils to typing. In it, I discuss the shift into “a day progressed…when no longer needed are ink and lead.” I want to focus my paper on a question that explores if a child can teach themselves to read without the aid of an adult. It has been difficult to find answers to this question directly because it is fairly recent that there is so much of an increase in quality, learning toys. From what I have seen so far, I do not think it has been tested enough for a conclusion to be made at this point. The majority of the sources I have found have been written before 2004. I may have to redirect my paper in a different direction, possibly talking about how the technology compliments the teacher’s efforts. I am still gathering sources that explain what technology’s role as a sponsor of literacy is. I am still reforming the finalized question. This is the first research paper for which I have enjoyed looking up information. I am scared that I fall back into my old habits and will keep looking for information until I find some that says that children can teach themselves with only the new electronics. Or at least only use information that does not disagree with my ideas. I may be tempted to pick the research based on which proves that children can teach themselves because I want that to be true. This is going to be a challenge that I have to keep in mind when I am looking for more sources.

Kelley 5 When I complete this inquiry paper, I hope to have a clearly organized and concise paper. To achieve this, I plan on going to the writing resource center with the intention of examining the order and my transitions between paragraphs. Unlike last time, I am hoping that if I come in with the intention of making my paragraphs connect better, they will give me more aid than “no, it is fine how it is.” I intend to write a paper that clearly describes how young children learn to read with relationship to technology. My aim is that my paper will answer not only questions that I had when beginning this research, but also any questions about which a reader may inquire. I intend to give the reader as much interest in the topic as I have by conveying recent information with a compelling tone. I hope in the paper that I can implement all of the new techniques I have discovered while in this class. My exposure to academic journals will be used as I evaluate sources and dissect them for meaning. Because I will be writing my inquiry paper near the end of the semester, I will be able to look past just turning it in for completion and see that it will be soon be graded as my papers in high school were. I am also hoping that I will be able to explore my ideas without fear of being judged. This relates to my increased awareness of the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the semester: to participate more in class. Writing a paper that I actively engage myself in is similar to participating in class discussion because I am laying out all my ideas for others to read and give their reaction. I think that throughout the semester I have grown in many ways, one of them being my interaction with expectations, both that I have set for myself and what others expect of me.

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