Language In The Classroom

When it comes to language in the classroom many African American students are oppressed because of the way they speak. Teachers especially try to correct these “errors” linked to African American Language, which is why professionals, and society need to understand that African American Language is different form of language and not a flawed form of Standard American English. Welcoming their home languages, cultures and identities into the classroom so they feel included and apart of the class. Doing so might make the minority students more willing to add Standard American English to their life. African American Language and Standard American English are different, but if people are able to understand, acquire, and switch between both then society will be more capable of recognizing the authenticity of the language and its people.


Language is defined to its grammatical origins, not the vocabulary. The use of “standard” is problematic, suggesting that the United States does have an accepted standard language. English is considered a Germanic language because the grammar follows Germanic rules, even though the vocabulary is mostly French and Latin. African American Language is more grammatically African than English, even though the vocabulary is English. Since, it follows logically that African American Language it should be considered linguistically. The African language is separate from English, because of its grammatical origins in the Niger-Congo or western and southern parts of Africa. Determining African American Language as its own language from Standard American English and establishing African American Language as a legitimate form of spoken and written communication. The term “standard” is used to differentiate the type of English preferred in academic and professional settings from other varieties of spoken and written American English.


In the article “Bad Ideas About Writing: African American Is Not Good English” Jennifer Cunningham explained the grammatical and phonological rules that Linguist Lisa Green discusses in African American Language. Between African American Language and Niger-Congo languages, there is a grammatical structure called zero copula. Zero copula allows the sentences to be grammatically correct without a verb(Ex: be, am, is, are, was, were, been, being). Some African American Language speakers will say “She reading”, when Standard American English speakers will say “She is reading”. Both of those phrases would be considered correct. The author also states that “Construction that includes the word “be” known as habitual be, meaning that if the word “be” is used in a sentence, an action is consistent or regular”(Cunningham p.90). As a result, “She be reading” in African American Language is equivalent to “She reads all the time”, in Standard American English.


Additional grammatical trait used in African American Language is the negative concord; a phenomenon in which more than once negative element occurs in a sentence, but the sentence is interpreted as only being negated once. The use of the negative concord is to emphasis the sentence. Meaning t

he African American Language sentence “I ain’t got no time” is correct and more empathic than the Standard American English sentence “I don’t have any time.” The word of “ain’t” is also used in African American Language and can be translated to the Standard American English word “didn’t”. Those examples should support the point that African American Language is not bad English but follows a pattern that doesn’t exist in Standard American English.


Not only do African American students feel oppressed from the lack of validation but upcoming teachers also struggle with their identity as a teacher or even a person. Shuaib Meacham’s article titled “The Clash of “Common Senses”: Two African American Women Become Teachers.” Meacham follows two African American women where in the process of becoming teachers. They became frustrated in the reality because they wanted their language to have a more significant role in the education world. Linda grew up speaking Black, or African American Language, which is frowned upon in the education world. As a result, Linda began to negatively devalue not only herself but her family and the people in her community. Tanya grew up speaking Standard American English, but she experience a situation were one of here white counterparts defined the way she talked as “talking white.” In the education world she found herself losing her cultural identity as a Black Woman. Both Linda and Tanya were challenged to maintain their self-esteem and cultural integrity when it came to the task of teaching. Together both women help each other maintain their confidence to create their own standard rooted in cultural appreciation and Black self-love that help get them to that point.


Accepting different languages in the classroom, means you welcome in that person’s culture and identity. Doing this will not only make African Americans feel respected but, all other minorities, as well as making people more willing to include Standard American English into their lives. “If students understand that different audiences and contexts expect different language choices and that African American Language is different from Standard American English but that neither is better or worse than the other, then they are better able to accept and use both proficiently.” (Cunningham p.91)


Works Cited


Ball, Cheryl E., and Loewe Drew M. “Bad Ideas About Writing.”Cunningham, Jennifer M. “African American Language Is Not Good English”, West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute (2017).


Delpit, Lisa D., and Dowdy Kilgour Joanna. “The Skin That We Speak: Thoughts On Language and Culture in the Classroom.” New York Press, (2002).


Meacham, Shuaib J. “The Clash Of Common Senses: Two African American Women Become Teachers”, New York Press, (2008).


Dual-Enrollment Writing Classes Should Always Be Pursued

Dual-enrollment classes were established in the 1990’s (Wilkinson, 338) to give qualified high school students a chance to gain college curriculum experience. While, also, earning college credit that is counted for in the bachelor’s degree program. To say that the pursuit of this extension of  a “college ready” program is a bad idea, is a bad idea in itself. The concern is the disconnection between high school and college cultured experience. You are implying that the program is a disservice to high school students. Dual-enrollment classes, more often than not, are to be taken on college campuses with college professors and college peers. Senior, and juniors depending on the school district, high school students able to further their education and get a head start on college credits. Dual-enrollment classes should be strongly encouraged for those high school students who feel prepared to take a college-level course.

youth Learning


Students who excel in their high school classes, by junior or senior year, can feel stagnant in their education. Some students are naturally quick learners, good test takers and/or can retain information fairly well. All of these attributes can aid in a student’s ability to surpass their peers. To have the option to gain college curriculum early is a great academic choice. In studies reported by the National High School Center, it is found that that dual-enrollment classes have reduced the amount of remediation at the college level (Taczak and Thelin, 7). This opportunity can help motivate students to continue their education. “In 2010, a study of Oregon’s dual enrollment programs, for example, found that dually enrolled student are more likely to go to college, less likely to drop out as freshmen, and to have higher grade point averages than students who did not take college courses in high school,” (Kim, Why More Students Should Go to College in High School).  It can be seen as a part of the process of transition into college. You are giving students a head start on life. We know the ‘real world’ is nothing short of a competitive field.


Furthermore, one of the many benefits of dual-enrollment is being able to complete your college degree programs faster. If taken for both junior and senior year, you are only looking at 2 more years of college! Especially since the first 2 years are full of core curriculum classes, when you finally get to college you will be able to go straight into your degree focused classes. If done correctly, the dual-enrollment program can set you up for success in life. To get ahead and stay ahead in your career and life is a hard and rigorous task. Yes, you are cutting down your “college years” and you won’t have the full 4 years of experiencing college life. In my eyes, it is worth it. You are setting yourself apart from the competition when you apply for a job or an internship. You are giving yourself that edge that can put you above everyone else and secure that position.

In addition, the college courses are offered at a reduced tuition which can help families financially and still give their child a higher education. A deciding factor in high school graduates decision to not go to college can be the, ever increasing, cost. Low-income families are forced to neglect their child’s college education because tuition is out of their price range. With dual-enrollment classes, they can have a chance at that degree. The classes are offered at a discounted price that can allow college classes to become affordable. Within certain school districts, depending on circumstances, the school will be able to pay for the student to take the college-level courses.


Moreover, everyone loves to compare the two ‘college ready’ programs that are active in high schools, Advance Placement and Dual-Enrollment classes. Advanced placement (AP) classes are supposed to imitate the structure of a college-level class, apart of the ‘college ready’ incinitive. In reality, Advanced placement classes are a waste of time. The structure of the class is to give students two times the amount of work versus a regular class. Which contradicts the structure of a college course. In college if you are lucky, your professor to assign more than 5 assignments for the whole semester. The concept that giving high schoolers a multitude of assignments to complete very week to prepare them for college was poorly made. Dual-enrollment gives first-hand experience of the typical college classroom structure and curriculum.

To decide whether or not dual enrollment is the better option is to you. If you are a high school student or younger, then it depends on what type of student you and want to be. If you have already graduated high school, then it depends on your high school experience and how you believe the ‘college ready’ program stacks up against their future. I have learned that doing things that can set you apart from others and for success are worth it, in the end. How do you picture your life playing out? Do you see yourself in a position of higher authority? If so, then who would not want someone who is an overachiever as a boss? I definitely would because I know that, within that company, that boss is going to do their very best to make that a successful business. Allow your dreams to be your motivation. If you want to know more on the impact of college courses for dual enrollment students, then I would advise you to look into Kara Taczak and William H. Thelin’s work titled, “(Re)Envisioning the Divide: The Impact of College Courses on High School Students”. Take control over your own education and become the person you know you can become.


Works Cited

Rob Jenkins. Advanced Placement vs Dual Enrollment. The Chronicle of Higher Education. January 14, 2013.

Kara Taczak and William H. Thelin. (Re)Envisioning the Divide: The Impact of College Courses on High School Students. The National Council of Teachers of English. September 2009.

Caroline Wilkinson. Dual-Enrollment Writing Classes Should Always Be Pursued. Bad Ideas About Writing. West Virginia University Libraries Digital Publishing Institute Morgantown, WV. 2017.

Research Starts with A Thesis Statement

Research Starts with A Thesis Statement

The theory that research begins with a thesis statement is a dangerous belief and practice when it comes to writing. In her essay “Research Starts with A Thesis Statement” in the book Bad Ideas About Writing Emily Wierszewski believes that a “thesis- first research model in research is only used to verify our existing ideas or thesis” (Wierszewski pg.231). This is a bad idea when it comes to writing due to the fact that it doesn’t welcome the idea of uncertainty and curiosity. Thesis- first approaches exist only to glorify that a researcher’s pre-existing belief is correct. Without openly accepting curiosity writers are deprived of the chance to explore the infinite varieties of ideas and question that could develop while doing research. A better idea of writing would be to “begin research with a question or a statement of a problem” (Wierszewski pg. 233). Allowing individuals to ask questions allows them to embrace the unknown and new findings, rather than limiting the possibilities.

Thinking Allowed

Emily Wierszewski has the firm belief that starting research with a thesis statement is a bad idea about writing. She believes that students view research as a tool only reliable for supporting beliefs, rather than asking questions. Wierszewski believes this is a bad idea when “In a thesis-guided research process, a question is posed, an answer is generated, and sources are found that match up with that answer” (Wierszewski pg.232). She believes students need to be guided to open ended question first approach to research to create an authentic process of analyzing sources and material. Having this freedom creates a safe space for inquiry and honest answers for students, and the ability to advance as a writer. “When we understand research as a process of discovery rather than a process of proof, we open ourselves up to be changed by our research—to better our lives, our decisions, and our world” (Wierszewski pg.234). She believes that once students open up to this idea, they not only improve as writers, but they explore curiosity with a new perspective. Students will no longer be afraid of the unknown but rather intrigued with what it could lead too.  Wierszewski beliefs of asking questions, is supported by Robert Davis and Mark Shadle, two authors who further discussed the benefits of trying different research processes. Davis and Shadle not only believed in having a research process built on creativity and inquiry, but also how important writing itself affects this process.

Research writing as useful as it can be is very disregarded by students as an unnecessary skill. Research has been thought of as a standard way of writing from creating a thesis statement, to carrying out research and proving theories to be right. In Mark Shadle and Robert Davis essay “Building a Mystery: Alternative Research Writing and the Academic Act of Seeking” Mark Shadle helps readers understand that research writing can be a resourceful tool in straying from the “modernist ideals”(pg. 418 Davis & Shadle) of writing and formulate different strategies a student could use when it comes to writing a research paper. Davis and Shadle believe that in comparison to the classical idea of research writing, students should embrace the ambiguity of passion and freedom to explore the unknown. As an example, Shadle and Davis point out that an important aspect of research, is writing. More specifically they state that writing is a way for “writers to demonstrate their place in society.


This idea about writing has further been supported by David Bartholomae as he further discusses how analysis and writing can be resourceful to a student learning to write complex content. For a student to write, he feels that they must “learn the language and how to speak as we do”(pg. 8 Bartholomae) and to learn the language student must be brave enough to try and be open to guidance. Bartholomae argues that “the writing that students do in colleges and universities takes place in a complex context of already ongoing disciplinary discourses”(pg. 12 Bartholomae).The base of research is writing, getting back to the basics and redefining the understanding you have of the language of writing and avoiding writers block. He expresses that every paper a student writes invent the university and at some point, learn the language. Bartholomae argues that a solution to shape students into better writers is “If we look at their writing, and if we look at it in the context of other student writing, we can better see the points of discord when students try to write their way into the university”(pg. 17 Bartholomae). If teachers example the factors under which students write, we can better understand the lack of connection to the language of writing. Ultimately bridging the gap between writing and how it connects to all other forms of writing.,_Alternative_Research_Writing.pdf


Texting ruins literacy skills

So here’s the tea about texting and literacy skills. Did you know that there’s a whole debate over whether texting depletes children’s literacy skills? I’ve had the pleasure to get into a couple of people minds about the ‘issue’ at hand. There has even been a number of small studies that has said the complete opposite. Texting doesn’t ruin literacy skills, instead it enhances them.

            Since the beginning of time “new technologies have consistently threatened old ones, so cries that “texting is killing civilization” are part of a big history trashing new media (Justice 312). Because texting is new, it is getting trashed just like writing, video games, television, etc. did. When something new is introduced, you have to accommodate to it, don’t just shame it because it’s unfamiliar to you. Christopher says that, “several researchers have found positive correlations between texting and people’s literacy skills” (311). For example, Kat Fox found that texting improved texters summarizing skills, or the group of researchers at Coventry University whom discovered that the more pre-teen children used text abbreviations, the more likely they were to score higher on reading and vocabulary tests, vice versa. If texting really does ruin literacy skills, why are there studies showing otherwise or the that fact that the literacy rate hasn’t plummeted since texting has been introduced? “We should consider texting as not replacing formal writing, but instead, as a complex compliment to formal writing that allows people to augment their existing writing skills in fresh, complex ways. Instead of perceiving texting as a threat to literacy, we should start understanding texting as an ally” (Justice 313). If we keep seeing texting as a threat, we’re going to treat it like one, when really texting should be a partner. There was once a time when writing itself was viewed down upon by philosopher Plato. If society can get over the problematic ‘writing’ itself, whose to say we can’t do the same thing with texting.

            Crystal says,” I do not see how texting could be a significant factor when discussing children who have real problems with literacy. If you have difficulty with reading and writing, you are hardly going to be predisposed to use technology which demand sophisticated abilities in reading and writing. And if you do start to text, I would expect the additional experience of writing to be help, rather than a hinderance” (157). If you actually think about it, would an illiterate person text or even attempt to, would you if you were illiterate? I know that I don’t like to try new things without having some background knowledge or information on it. Texting requires you to have some amount of background knowledge. “Before you can write abbreviated forms efficiently and play with them, you need to have a sense of how the sounds of your language relate to the letters. You need to know that there are such things as alternative spellings. You need to have a good visual memory and good motor skills. If you are aware that your texting behavior is different, you must have already intuited that there is such a thing as a standard” (Crystal 162). Texting involves much more than just pressing buttons, it involves a lot of thinking. You would have to have knowledge about mnemonics devices, code-switching, which you would do subconsciously. Texting has more than one factor that comes into play. Texting allows texters ample time to think of a reply, they could edit and revise which you wouldn’t be able to do in person. Texting includes aspects of both writing and speech, some may even call it “fingered speech” (Justice 312).

            In a study of whether texting and knowledge of text abbreviations adversely affect children’s literacy attainment, “there was no evidence that knowledge of textisms by ore-teen children has any negative association with their written language competence. All associations between text language measures and school related literacy measures have either been positive or non- significant, but the relationship even in those pairing that did not reach significance were in the direction if a positive relationship between texting and school writing outcomes “(Plester etc al 142). Most studies that involve literacy and texting, more than likely has positive/good answers. If the research conclusions have been good, why all the hostility still? There were two studies conducted, the first study showed that there “was a significant association between spelling ability and the number of interpretation errors made in the textism to English translation, indicating that as the children’s spelling score increased, so the number of interpretation errors made decreased” ( Plester etc al 141). The second study showed “clearly that pre- teen children can use meta-linguistic awareness to slip between one register of language and another, as they deem appropriate” (Plester etc al 143). Meaning that the pre-teen children knew when and how to talk or text a certain depending on who they were talking too.

            What’s your take on the issue? Do you believe that texting has improved of hindered your literacy skills? Personally, I believe that texting has helped my literacy skills. I know for a fact that it has helped some people with their’ s, I witnessed that first hand. If you didn’t know how to spell a word back in the days you were out of luck, but now if you speak into the phone it can spell it for you, if you pronounce it correctly, eventually you will learn how to spell the word.

                                       Works Cited

Justice, Christopher. Texting ruins literacy skills. Digital Publishing Institute. pp 308- 314.

Crystal, David. Txtng : The Gr8 Db8.Oxford University Press, 2008.

Beverly Plester, Clare Wood, and Victoria Bell, ‘Txt msg n school literacy: does mobile phone use adversely affect children’s literacy attainment?’. Volume 42 Number 3. Beverly Plester,2008.

Reading And Writing Are Not Connected

Reading And Writing Are Not Connected

By: Desyrae Clark



     Throughout most people’s  career as a student they are given multiple rules on what are good and what are bad ideas about writing. For example a rule  is  don’t start a sentence off with the word “because” . Well  here is one more rule to add to the  list of bad ideas when writing. Reading and writing are not connected is one of those bad ideas that can affect a student more then that student know when  one subject is given more attention then the other subject. Reading and writing are two subjects that help each other out. For example as a college student when a English professor has given an assignment to write an essay on the book the students  have read about all year. If one doesn’t master the skill of reading and understanding what they have  read. How will the student be able to  write about what they have read. If that students previous English teacher would have given an equal amount of attention to reading comprehension skills as well as writing that student would have no issue with completing the task at hand. Instead of not connecting the two subjects according to author Ellen C. Carillo of article “Reading And Writing Are Not Connectedin the book Bad Ideas About Writing edited by Cheryl E. Ball & Drew M. Loewe teachers should not only connect the two subjects but also teach them in the classroom together as a better idea or pedagogy (style of teaching).

     In the article by Ellen C. Carillo Reading And Writing Are Not Connected she shines light on the impact of studies over the years of reading and the scores that were document. She states, “Since the 1950s we have been hearing Johnny can’t read”.  The statement “Johnny can’t read” isn’t talking about a boy name Johnny but is referring to the United States as a whole . These studies shows that this country had a serious problem in the development of reading skills.  Not only does she mention the studies on reading but also writing. She states in the next sentence ,” 1975, Newsweek informed us Johnny can’t write either” . The author is showing the readers that once again as the United States we were also lacking when it comes to writing skills . Starting off her article with those facts tells readers from the beginning how reading and writing work hand and hand. Carillo states in her article how strongly she feels that society should start allowing teachers to teach the two subjects together instead of apart . She writes, “What is often neglected in these public debates about the best way to teach literacy at the college level is that reading and writing are connected practices and, as such, the best way to teach them is together”.  Carillo uses many different resources to support and argue her opinion or her suggestion of better idea for this particular bad idea. That reading and writing should be connected and taught together in the classroom.    Reach Out and Read

     One of the references Carillo uses is Linda Adler-Kassner and Heidi Estrem’s  “Reading Practices in the Writing Classroom” . All of these writers have shined light on the bad idea of how teachers separate the two subjects of reading and writing in the classroom. The authors even mentions how not only is not being taught together but both have separate curriculums . The authors states, “ For others the curricula demands of a course like first-year writing leave little space for actual reading instructors…”.  These two ladies understand that todays standards in classrooms have split the two subjects given more attention to the other , which is causing a downfall in the over skill of mastering both . Certain classroom standards are giving students more essays to write not enough literate to read. When it comes to the overall skill of both reading and writing neither is more important than the other. The authors also state their opinions on how reading and writing are both important tools outside of the classroom. The authors writes, “ The act of reading for instance is referenced along with writing as a tool for inquiring learning, thinking ,and communication”. They show readers the importance in life of both reading and writing . Neither is more important than the other but both benefit the person.

     As stated before Carllio uses many different references to support her better idea for this bad idea. Another one of her resources she used is Robert Scholes’s The Transition to College Reading . Just like Carllio Robert Scholes believes that the best solution to this problem is that we change the way we are teaching. He states, “ We must make some changes in what we teach and how we teach it”. Scholes is telling teachers and professors that not only do we need to change the material but also the delivery of the material to the students. He is challenging the teachers of today to changes the standards to think outside of the box.. He also states his opinion on how reading and writing work together. Scholes writes, “ The natural reciprocal of writing which of course, is reading had somehow apparently subsume under the topic of literature”. Scholes is telling readers that he feels that when speaking of literature reading is now inclusive to the topic. In his first sentence of his conclusion he states, “ We need in short to , connect the development of reading and writing…”. Just as the other authors Scholes feel that the better idea or way to fixing the problem in the development of these skills is to connect them and teach them together.Writing setup (analog and digital)


     In conclusion , any student  try to write an essay on a book,article,or any passage. The student  will see it is impossible even if the student skims over the reading .That student  had to do some form of reading to be able to know what they are writing about. As a student think of how your grade reflected when you read and comprehend the passage and that was wrote about . Then compare that grade to a time when the passage wasn’t fully read or comprehended but still wrote about.   IEllen C . Carillo’s better idea for teachers and students is teaching reading and writing together. As a college student throughout the studet’s career in school their previous teachers have always taught them the saying” A great reader is A great writer”. Letting the student know early on how the two play a major role in the mastering of both skills. Such as a shove is to a hand in the task of digging a hole, you will need both to complete and master the task.





Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Heidi Estrem. “Reading Practices in the Writing Classroom.” WPA: Writing Program Administration – Journal of the Council of Writing Program Administrators, vol. 31, no. 1/2, Fall/Winter2007 2007, pp. 35–47. EBSCOhost,,shib&db=eue&AN=31131518&site=eds-live&scope=site

Carillo, Ellen C.  “ Reading And Writing Are Not Connected ,” Bad Ideas About Writing. Cheryl E. Ball. Digital Publishing Institute .WVU Libraries . Morgantown, WV 26506


Scholes, Robert.    The Transition to College Reading. no. 2, 2002, p. 165. EBSCOhost,


Encourage More One on One Meetings with Student


Has it ever been a time you were excited about a paper that you had to turn in and anxiously waited for your grades back from your professor. Then, weeks later you get your grades and feedback just to be disappointed to see your teacher didn’t like your paper as much as you did. It’s not a good feeling. Professors and teachers don’t think about the damage their feedback actually does to the student. Instead of professors trying to give paragraph long responses to student’s writing doing one on one conferences with their students  to converse about their paper could be a better idea. It gives students a better outlook and understanding on the things they should work on in their writing.

Bryon Wiegand, Associate Professor of Meat Science. Photo by Kyle Spradley | © 2014 – Curators of the University of Missouri

As students, we care the more we see our professor care. Professors might not be aware, but we pay close attention to the certain things our professors do and don’t do. To us, students, the over-grading of our papers is you, the professor, jotting down a bunch of negative things trying to tell us all of the things we’ve done wrong. In the article Bad Ideas About Writing, Muriel Harris, points out “some students react negatively because they are convinced that a lot of comments equals a lot of criticism” (Harris, 268). He’s trying to bring out that students won’t even actually read what the professor has written and automatically assume that the professor is picking at their paper. That is why written feedback can be risky. In the beginning of that specific page Harris begins to explains what teachers expect the students to get out of the written feedback. Then, towards the end of the page he gets into how students view the written feedback. Chris Anson, in his book Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research, confirms that intense grading can lead students feeling like the teacher serves as just the hostile reader making writing seem less of a pursuit of meaning (Anson,78). If a student constantly feels like their writing is being judged they’ll become discouraged and stray away from the main purpose of writing. That is why even during the conference meetings the professor should focus only on the few major concerns to not overwhelm the student.

In addition, according to recent SAT scores critical reading scores dropped to its lowest since the SAT test was overhauled in 2006 (Harris,270). This shows that there can be students that struggle with understanding and comprehending certain things they read. If a student is confused on something a teacher has written in the feedback it is useless and they can not learn from it. By meeting with a student face to face you both can be able to ask as many question as you would like so there won’t be any misunderstandings.

Putting in that one on one time with students as a professor can be one of the most helpful things to both the student and the professor. It can help clear up a lot of miscommunication that goes on between the student and faculty relationship. Many students,especially freshmen, tend to fear their professor or see them as the bad guy which is not useful at all. Meeting one on one,creating that bond can build the confidence of the student to begin communicating with not just that particular professor, but others as well. For the professor, one on one can better you as a teacher too. By meeting with different students it gives you a chance to observe what common problems are popping up as a whole; helping you know what to spend more time and go over on in class. Also student-professor conferences takes up less time than those paragraph long responses. As Muriel Harris notes, “extensive written response is not productive for instructors because it is highly labor intensive in the time that it takes instructors to read and write a response for each paper, much less those for a whole class or multiple classes” (Harris,269). In other words, those written responses take extremely too much time with little to no value. When you can have those conferences, set amount of time your going to meet with each student, and get exactly what you want out of it—your student learning and progressing. Harris talks about this near the beginning of the text. In this section of his essay his purpose is to raise awareness to over grading and it’s disadvantages.

To conclude, I’d like for professors to think about the important points I’ve brought out.Those are only a few. To get deeper into the methods you can try during those student-teacher conferences go to your local library and check out Chris Anson’s Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research. It has many useful tools as a professor that can help you understand yourself as a teacher and your students more.


Work Cited

Harris, Muriel, and Drew M Loewe. “When Responding to Student Writing, More Is Better.Bad Ideas About Writing , edited by Cheryl E Ball, WVU Libraries, 2017, pp. 268–272.

Anson, Chris M. Writing and Response: Theory, Practice, and Research. National Council of Teachers of English, 1989.

“Plagiarism Deserves to be Punished.”

In the world of academia, cheating is known as “Plagiarism.” Plagiarism is seen as an immoral act. It is defined as stealing someone’s idea or work and using it as one’s own; paraphrasing without citation or failure to follow citation rules is also plagiarism. To survive in the college bubble, most of the students fear this word.  These students might not know the in-depth concept of plagiarism, but they know for sure about its negative consequences towards their career. Jennifer A. Mott-Smith in the essay “Plagiarism deserves to be punished” in the book, Bad Ideas about Writing, talks about different methods that plagiarism should be taught and not punished. She leaves her audience with a better concept of plagiarism. Many times, student writers unknowingly make mistakes which leads to charges of plagiarism. Instead of punishing plagiarism, professors should teach students the ways to avoid it. They should explain the importance of academic honesty. There is a difference between direct copying and failure to follow some convention rules.

To begin with, there are a few primary reasons that result in academic dishonesty. In the book, My word! Plagiarism and college culture, Susan Blum talks about these reasons, such as students’ inability to cope up the pressure of their fast going lives, fierce competition, the pressure to get good grades and better jobs, lack of personal integrity also results in academic dishonesty. Students explain unknowing plagiarism as accidentally forgetting to put quotation marks around used quote (Blum 175). These factors result in varied forms of plagiarism.

There are different types of plagiarism. Professional plagiarism includes double publication or unauthorized republication; while student plagiarism includes buying or importing paper, patchwriting or imperfection in citing sources.  Each type of plagiarism deserves different punishments. Blum explained, “Penalties for each type of would vary along a continuum from the kind of plagiarism that is clearly fraudulent, and deserving of severe penalties, to the kind of plagiarism that is uninformed, and deserving of education.” (Blum 27). If the mistakes made are not similar, then it should be punished differently. Failure in following the citation rules should not be punished, instead, rules should be taught to be followed. Students should be explained the importance of citation, such as quoting in writing is essential because it separates the author’s voice from the sources or references used. It expands the interaction of another source author, and researchers follow the citation list to track down the sources used.

Student writers are required to back up their voice with the help of reliable sources for any writing class. They face many complexities while using sources. Mott-Smith said, “taking ideas and using them in your own writing is a sophisticated skill that requires a good deal of practice to master.” (Smith 248). Implementing and analyzing different sources is a skill which freshers develop in their first few years of college which most likely result in patchwriting. Patchwriting is the way of writing a summary for the fresher students who are just learning to paraphrase. Rebecca Moore Howard in A Plagiarism Pentimento  states, “it is the outsider’s membership application, a way of acquiring the language of the target community.” (Howard 240). Students write a summary to understand the information they are learning for the first time. This process helps them put the learned material in their own words. Many first-year college students struggle to analyze source information whether that is quoting, explicating, paraphrasing or engaging in discussion

Moreover, citation rules are summarized as “give credit.”  Professors who teach basic college-level English are the unappreciated heroes for teaching rules. They try to educate the students about the basic citation rules rather than the faculty or administrators who make some guidelines for plagiarism and expect students to follow them throughout all college classes. College students struggle with the different expectations from their teachers in different classes. Citation rules vary from one field to another; these different expectations are hard to meet for student writers. Blum addresses this confusion with the example, “in engineering, for instance, the quotation is not considered desirable, while in the humanities it is expected.” (Blum 165). It even differs from source types like using magazine, online database or referring from movies or shows. English teachers cannot teach all these variations in expectations, within the class of a few weeks.

However, student writers face more negative outcomes compared to professional writers if caught plagiarizing. Susan Blum said, “At the most of colleges and universities, students are threatened with expulsion.” (Blum 20) Plagiarism severely impacts student’s grades; it follows the student throughout the academic career. It is “academic death penalty” Blum quotes Rebecca Moore Howard. (Blum 20). The students tag themselves as a cheater for further years of their life.

Plagiarism policies should be evaluated.  Faculties should be explicit about what needs to be taught and what needs to be punished. The correct definition for plagiarism should be direct cheating such as knowingly and willingly buying a midterm paper, falsifying bibliography or copying and pasting someone’s ideas. Every student does not lack academic integrity, so they should not be punished for their unmindful mistakes. Learning citation rules and implementing them in different classes takes times. Students should be taught how to cite and paraphrase, so they can use sources or references without the fear of being plagiarized. Campuses should develop honor codes and create an academically honest atmosphere, which can help students learn without thought of cheating.

Works Cited

Blum, Susan Debra. My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture. Cornell University Press, 2009.

Howard, Rebecca Moore. “a Plagiarism Pentimento.” a Plagiarism Pentimento – the Citation Machine, www.citationproject.nets/2018/03/Howard-Plagiarism-Pentimento.pdf.

 Mott-Smith, Jennifer a. “Plagiarism Should Be Punished.” Bad Ideas about Writing.


Grading Has Always Made Writing Better.

The tradition of grading student writing started in the late 19th century. As the number of students started enrolling in schools and colleges increased, the grading system eventually moved to percentages. Mitchell James in the essay, “Grading has made writing better” in the book Bad Ideas About Writing talks about how grading has impacted student writing. A letter grade does not tell students how they can improve. Students are often unmotivated when they get low grades and end up thinking themselves as bad writers. The better idea is that instead of grading student writing, teachers should start giving individual feedback or hold conferences, so students can work on their mistakes and become better writers.

There is a difference between grading and assessment. Grading is just one-sided evaluation done by professors, whereas, there are two different kinds of assessment. First is Summative evaluation, in which students just get a letter grade. Another is a Formative evaluation, in which students and teachers often have one-on-one conference. As James talks about different evaluations, he says, “formative evaluation creates safe spaces for student learning because students are not focused on trying to avoid failure but, instead, are searching for insight and growth.” (James 257). In a graded atmosphere, students just do the work because they don’t want to fail. Whereas, in a non-graded atmosphere, students don’t worry about grade and professor’s expectation. They tend to be more creative and independent because their work is not going to be judged (graded).

In the chapter, “Its Broken-Fix itin the book, Alternatives to Grading Student Writing, Liesel Hagan talks about Professor Presley who always said to his students that, “his class was just one composition class and that the students would continue to become better writers with every paper they wrote.” (Hagan 8) Professor Presley observed that when students receive letter grades they would see the grade and put the paper aside. So, he decided to not grade student writing and held conferences instead. If college at least eliminates grading from English classes, then students will be a lot more comfortable in writing and sharing their ideas. It will be easier for professors, instead of pointing out students mistakes they can explain students how to do it in the correct way and help them to be better writers. In the article, from the book, Schools without Failure, William Glasser says, “Grades have become almost more important than education itself.” (Glasser 10) Most of the time when a professor gives an assignment, the repeated question they hear from students is whether they need to turn this in for a grade. If something is for a grade, students are more likely to stick to the rubric. Students only do the assignment according to the requirements of the assignment sheet and don’t think outside the box. After the end of the semester, the letter would be just a left off number without any value of knowledge or understanding.

In one of the surveys conducted by Hagan, a college student wrote: “I feel I’m an average writer. I base this on grades I’ve received in English throughout the years.” (Hagan 10) Grades have a negative impact on student writing. A student starts questioning their writing skills. Some students start to hate writing and throughout their life thinks themselves as a bad writer. The author talks about the research which has shown that “in a nongraded atmosphere, students are motivated without grades, and at the same time, their self-esteem is preserved.” (Hagan 6) For some students, their grades are their pride. If they get low grades, they compare themselves with others; thinking they are not smart enough.  If the grading system is eliminated, students will stop comparing and competing and start acquiring knowledge from it. 

Hagan and other authors conducted a study about what students think about the grades they receive. One student said, “I don’t even understand what the grade means on my paper. The top says something like a B and then all the comments say positive things and then there are all these errors marked.” (Hagan 7) Professors work hard in evaluating the paper and give a letter grade. But if the student themselves don’t understand what they did wrong then what’s the point of giving them letter grades, give them some good feedback which can make a difference in their writing. If a mistake is learned through praise(comments) instead of punishment(grades), a student is more likely to not do it again.

In English, a student’s intelligence should not be measured by grades, instead, it should be measured by how they improved during the semester. It’s hard to eliminate grading from the whole education system at once. Professors, faculties, and administrators all together should take the first step towards eliminating grading system. As Hagan talks about Professor Presley in her book, if some professors, especially in English classes stop giving letter grades to student paper and start giving feedback; then eventually other professors and schools will start following this practice. It’s not only the professor’s duty to comment on student papers, but even students should also start seeing their professors and ask for feedback and help. The only way to stop grading system is to take an initiative.


Works Cited

Glasser, William. Schools without Failure. New York: Harper, 1968

Hagan, Liesel. “It’s Broken-Fix It!” Alternatives to Grading Student Writing, by Stephen Ed. Tchudi, National Council of Teachers of English, 1997, pp. 20–30.

James, Mitchell. “Grading Has Always Made Writing Better.” Bad Ideas About Writing, pp. 255–258.

The Fake Stone Wall

Writer’s block is just a self-imposed limitation. It’s not even real. Some people don’t know how easy it is to maneuver around a specific problem that probably already has over a thousand solutions. When talking about a certain topic for example basketball, there is almost an inexhaustible amount of information that can be discussed if you expand your horizons. Writer’s block happens when your perceptions are too narrow, but your options will open up once your mind does. As Edmund Bergler said, there is a lot of different types of ‘writer’s block’. You have the “No Talent Theory of Writer’s Block”, the “The Publisher’s Block”, also the “Plain-Laziness”, etc. Writer’s block does not really exist. It’s just a term used when people believe that they wrote everything possible to write about a topic. When that’s actually false. It is very rare when someone has spoken or written about a topic to the point where there absolutely nothing left to talk about.

Edmund Bergler is an American Psychoanalyst born in Ukraine. He has written a lot of articles and books that garnered a considerable reputation. He was known for his theories in homosexuality back in the 1950s. The books he wrote varied from Mid-Life Crisis to Loveless marriages to his book about if writer’s block even exists. When talking about writer’s block, Edmund mentioned how many different types of writer’s block there is. As said in the previous paragraph, Bergler spoke about different types of writer’s block. Not only does he believe that writer’s block is not just a rare thing, but he also believes that it is a neurotic disease. “Naive contemporaries, however, have been violently denying the very existence of “such a thing. There are, in general, ten fallacious arguments which are brought forward, either singly or in combination, by the negators of ‘writer’s block.’” (Bergler 1). In Edmund’s article, he described the ten fallacious arguments proving as to why and how writer’s block is not necessarily a real problem it is more a trick of the writer’s mentality.

For example, a research paper about basketball could focus on a number of points. You have the who’s greatest of all time debate, or the how to become a better basketball player ted talk, or you could also have the who’s the greatest player by the position of all time conversation. There is really an exceptional amount of information that can be spoken on, on the topic of basketball and its sub-categories. Bergler brings up the point that writer’s block can often be confused for just plain-laziness. It is not that the information is not there but the fact that the author is just too lazy to put the necessary effort in when it comes to doing his/her work. “What he attempted to do, in effect, was to “supplement” my account of the unconscious reasons for “writer’s block” with the theory that a writer who doesn’t write is just “plain lazy.”” (Bergler, 46). When I was younger, I would keep making excuses when it came to writing papers. I would say that I’m trying to come up with an idea or I would think the paper would be easy and end up doing it last minute. When in reality I would just be plain lazy as Bergler said because I didn’t have the motivation to actually get up and get the necessary work done.

Geoffrey V. Carter, the author of Writer’s Block Just Happens To People believes that writer’s block is a common issue that people struggle with, including the greatest writers that have ever lived. “Whenever someone trying to write says that they are suffering from writer’s block, the first word that comes to my mind could be misunderstood as uncharitable: slacker.” (Carter, 99). Carter believes that while everyone sufferer’s writer’s block, he believes that if a writer is struggling they would be considered as a slacker or just plain lazy. Writer’s can be considered slackers because they don’t have the strength to hunker down and do the work. They can just sit there and pass time giving other things priority over their responsibilities. Lots of students are guilty of this. I used to be one of those students, trying to push my responsibilities on either somebody else or to the point where I barely have enough time to do it on my own. Lots of students do this and in the end, they use “writer’s block” as an excuse for not having anything on their paper.

Dennis Upper, the author of The Unsuccessful Self-Treatment of “Writer’s Block” makes a compelling case that writers can either be a real thing or just plain laziness because other writers can and have made their cases on it. He even plays devil’s advocate when he was showing what happens when you let it go untreated. While it is a satirical take on the problem, it also lends itself to the students who submit blank work. Recently, writing a paper for my amazing professor, I had “writer’s block” when in reality I just wanted to go play basketball some with friends thinking the assignment was going to write itself.

To sum up, writer’s block is not necessarily a real thing. It is just a self-imposed limitation. Geoffrey V. Carter believes that writer’s block is a common issue that people struggle with every day when writing something. Edmund Bergler believes that writer’s block is actually a neurotic disease but there are compelling cases that writer’s block is not real and people just get lazy because it is technically impossible for somebody to writer everything possible about a certain topic. When writing about basketball, there is an utmost amount of information on that topic. I believe that writer’s block is not a real thing and I approve this message.

Work Cited
Carter V.Geoffrey, WRITER’S BLOCK JUST HAPPENS TO PEOPLE, (2017),Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Bergler Edmund, The Writer, and Psychoanalysis, (1950),New York: Doubleday & Co

Bergler Edmund, DOES “WRITER’S BLOCK” EXIST?, (1950), American Imago, Vol. 7, The Johns Hopkins University Press


“Writer’s Block Just Happens To People” Geoffrey V. Carter

Alicia Tookes
Professor Weaver
ENGL 1101
April 29th, 2019
Bad Ideas About Writing: Writer’s Block Just Happens to People (Geoffrey V. Carter)

The Bad Ideas About Writing essay chosen was “Writer’s Block Just Happens to People” by Geoffrey V. Carter. Writer’s block is not coming up with any ideas while writing a paper, therefore being stuck and blocked. The bad idea presented here is that people often look at writer’s block as a gateway to procrastination or not being creative enough. The author at the beginning of the essay also reveals that he thinks of writer’s block by the term “slacker.” “Whenever someone trying to write says that they are suffering from writer’s block, the first word that comes to my mind could be misunderstood as uncharitable: slacker.” (Carter, 105). A better idea he introduces is to write as much as you can and play around with words. “It all comes down to this: When faced with the process of creating something, rather than just giving up, writing about anything that comes to mind—even if it is just fooling around with words— can sometimes motivate real work.” (Carter, 109). Even if it seems silly, he argues that it will inspire a person to write about being silly. Preparing messy drafts is a better idea because the more effort put into practicing writing, the better the paper will come out. Writing whatever comes to mind and revising over and over will help give a sense of what to do next.

Credit: Spongebob Squarepants

For the “Further Reading” section, the author used this source “Writer’s Block: The Cognitive Dimension” by Mike Rose to write this essay. “For further reading on the history of writer’s block and how writing teachers have contended with this idea, see Mike Rose’s When a Writer Can’t Write (The Guilford Press), which offers a series of essays on overcoming writer’s block.” (Carter, 110).

What Rose said about writer’s block was similar to what Carter said, but with involving more science and psychology into it. “The few absolute rules low-blockers did possess were admirably functional-e.g., “When stuck, write!” As for plans, low-blockers seemed to compose with fluid, flexible strategies.” (Rose, 16). He defines a “low-blocker” as someone with low-level degrees of writer’s block. Another term he uses, “high-blockers,” is the opposite of a low-blocker. “High-blockers, on the other hand, simply did not express or imply many rules that embodied the above contextual flexibility.” (Rose, 71). He explains that when people tend to have a lack of strategy through their writing, it can create better and easier alternatives towards that writing. This idea may sound confusing at first, as a person may ask themselves, “If I am stuck, how could I write?”, But it worked when Rose conducted a study on a group of students who would call themselves high- or low- blockers. The low-blocker students tended to have the “I just want to get the words out” (Rose, 72) mindset, while the high-blocker students tended to focus on perfecting their papers, worrying how their papers should look, following grammar rules, and even reject pre-writing because “it ran counter to the honesty of immediate expression.” (Rose, 72).

Throughout his work, Rose references Edmund Bergler’s “Does Writer’s Block Even Exist?”. “But the most prolific of psycho-analytic theorists on writer’s block is Edmund Bergler. Bergler analyzed blocking in highly psychosexual terms, defining creative writing as an expression of unconscious defenses against oral-masochistic conflicts, and writer’s block as the result of the breakdown of those defenses.” (Rose, 13). Psychosexual is defined as one of Sigmund Freud’s development stages dealing with the unconscious sexual impulses. An example he gave with psychosexual drives involves a writer writing about a boy who experiences love at first sight at a party.


During this scene, the writer has to describe how beautiful the girl, what color is her hair, and how the apartment looks to give the readers a sense of the description. However, when the writer asks himself, “How will this story end?”, The writer begins to become stumped. He then goes into a writing frenzy, introducing a new character: the girl’s grandmother and wondering how she could come into the story and for what purpose. No one knows or understands what’s going on in the writer’s mind, and he even gets into a conflict with his ego. “Under the weight of the poaches, the ego makes a counter-attack: “If it is possible to fall in love in a few seconds, why is it not possible to concoct a plot in the same short space of time?” (Bergler, 48).

Without the author analyzing his thought process, the story wouldn’t make any sense. As Bergler argues, “In any case, with the appearance of the inner defense, conscience seems to be checkmated. But it is only biding its time; the ego is allowed only a temporary triumph.” (Bergler, 48). This quote proves how the ego and the unconscious could appear in everyday lives and how they help give a sense of understanding of how a person thinks of something.

So in conclusion, all three authors mentioned here pretty much used the same argument and added their ways to explain a better idea. In general, a better idea to overcome writer’s block that the three authors would agree with the most is to look deeply into the mind, find some words, and experiment with them as best as possible to at least come up with some idea for the written assignment. No one’s mind is genuinely blank; there is at least something to keep the motivation moving. All that needs to be done is to notice that something, get a grip on it, and start preparing as many messy drafts and revisions as needed.

Credit: Grant Snider

Works Cited

Carter, Geoffrey V. “Writer’s Block Just Happens To People.” Bad Ideas About Writing. West Virginia University, 2017.

Rose, Mike. Writer’s Block : The Cognitive Dimension. Southern Illinois University Press, 2009. EBSCOhost,

Bergler, Edmund. “Does ‘Writer’s Block’ Exist?” American Imago, vol. 7, no. 1, 1950, pp. 43–54. JSTOR,