During our first class together, we looked at the iconic essay "Why Johnny Can't Write." Written in 1975, if came at a very particular cultural moment--the article calls it "the political activism of the past decade" by which the author means the civil rights movement. We tend to think of civil rights exclusively through the lens of race and racism--as we should, but we need also to think about it in terms of gender, class, and language, and immigration status.
1970 is an important moment in post-secondary education. The era of "Open Enrollment" began in the wake the Civil Rights movement. It demanded that colleges and universities make a college education available to a wider and wider segment of the population. As a result, the rules that governed how one should talk and write (a middle-class, white "habits" as the writer Asou Inoue calls it in a text we will read this semester), met up against students new to the university that challenged the value and effectiveness of this rules.
We can understand "Why Johnny Can't Write," in 1975, as a backlash to the kinds of pedagogies that were embraced as part of the work to include these students in the benefits of having a college education--which means, as well, that the article was also, at least in part, backlash against those students as well.
Situated this way, the article feels very different. Let us now turn to the "Why blank can't blank" articles you found.
For this post, please identify the following:
BE PREPARED: Once folks have posted and we have spent some time reading each other's posts, I am going to ask you to talk in small groups about what this says to you about literacy instruction today. You'll have some time to talk in small groups and then I will ask you to come back to class and share what you talked about.
5/27/2021 11:17:38 am
The article, “Why Johnny Can’t Write” focuses primarily on the distractions that push students away from the desire of writing. Since the article was written in 1975 the times have changed. If people thought students couldn’t write back then they haven’t seen students writing now, especially after the COVID-19 Pandemic. Students were distracted by then from television where as students are distracted now by smart phones and the pointless videos that people make that draw students in for hours on end. The article, “Why Johnny Can’t Write” says that the focus has changed. Students are no longer putting an emphasis on writing but instead they are putting an emphasis on speaking. The dialect of our current language has changed so much from 1975 to now, even our current slang does not compare to the slang of that year. When searching for an article I wanted to see if there was one that relates to the one that we have currently read. The article I found is called, “Why Kids Can’t Write”. This article was published August 2nd, 2017, 42 years later. The emphasis of this article is that students are not allowed to express themselves. The article, “Why Johnny Can’t Write” describes how students are forced to be creative. The current article emphasizes that students should be taught self-expression at an early age as it will help them write when they are older. Sentence fragmenting and basic grammar rules can always be corrected but if students have not been taught to write creatively at an early age, their writing will not suffice when they take the ACT exam or submit a college resume. The article, “Why Kids Can’t Write” mentions the fact that students are always on writing now, whether it is text messages or using the mobile app, Snapchat. The article states that students can write but they can’t formal write because their teachers have never been taught to formally write. The article calls the attention to massive teacher education, if teachers were more educated in writing they would be able to teach students. Students are taught by their teachers, if the teachers haven’t been taught correctly the problem is never corrected instead it is passed down. Dr. Hochman states that the emphasis needs to be taken off “free-writing” often times teachers think free-writing is a good way for students to express themselves but instead teachers should be prompting their students. If students are only focusing on expressing themselves when they get into the older grades they will not be able to write properly about a text because they never practiced that skill until the exam. The article also goes on to say that before students are taught to write paragraphs they need to be taught to write good sentences. In Kindergarten students are pushed to write paragraphs without good sentences, if the focus was centered around budding good sentences first then students would be able to create great paragraphs. Students should also be taught to transcribe both by hand and on the computer. Now that society is leaning more towards electronics students should also know how to type on a computer since many standardized tests are now on the computer. If students are never taught to transcribe on the computer how will they be able to do it in a timely manner on a standardized timed test. Both articles, “Why Kids Can’t Write” and “Why Johnny Can’t Write” display a great emphasis on practicing the skills. If students don’t practice they will never be able to become great at the skill.
5/27/2021 11:27:35 am
There are a lot of similarities here between the 1975 article and the 2017 article--the role of technology, the role of teachers and badly trained teachers and, if I'm reading right, that there needs to be more of a particular kind of structure to improve student writing.
5/27/2021 11:23:55 am
I have to admit, this is a little bit of ringer because I did my dissertation on reading in the writing classroom so I have, just laying around my house, excerpts of some pretty obscure texts. I'm going to start with a direct quote: “Those of us who have been doomed to read manuscript written in an examination room--whether at a grammar school, a high school, or a college--have found the work of even good scholars disfigured by bad spelling, confusing punctuation, ungrammatical, obscure, ambiguous, or inelegant expressions. Everyone who has had much to do with the graduating classes of our best colleges, has known men who could not write a letter describing their own Commencement without making blunders which would disgrace a boy twelve years old.”
5/27/2021 11:28:12 am
“Why cats can’t be vegetarian” by Karen Shaw Becker, DVM December 27, 2017
5/27/2021 11:28:35 am
My article is "Forgetting How to Read" by Doug Lemov. It was published relatively recently in February 2019. The article mainly discusses why children are reading less and less. Children see far more distractions than they have ever had to deal with before. With new media taking over their lives reading becomes less and less appealing. The article talks about how we are rewiring ourselves when are writing. We we read we are now in a constant state of partial attention. There are some definite parallels to the "Why Johnny Can't Write" article. There will always be a new media that takes attention away from the other. The article goes into depth and says that our reading and writing skills will continue to degrade. We are losing a collective patience from all these new media and it is no longer just television. I believe that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Schools can offer a safe and isolated environment for children to grow and love reading and writing. They just have to offer a place where reading is encouraged and away from these media.
Gabriel El Khoury
5/27/2021 11:28:42 am
The title of Dana Goldstein's "Why Kids Can't Write" (2017) published in the New York Times says it all: Goldstein claims that children are barely able to write. Not unlike "Why Johnny Can't Write," Goldstein's article places blames the usual culprits: technology, the disconnect between children and their thoughts, a lack of grammar study. Dr. Hochman supposedly offers "a radically different approach" to teaching children how to write: a return to the basics of sentence-level construction. This entails having to fill in worksheets, grammar worksheets which help students with the fundamentals of writing coherent sentences. Ms. Wanzer also encourages students "to freewrite," allowing them "to write anything they want" in response to an agreed upon prompt. Like "Why Johnny Can't Write," there is plenty of blame to go around, and Goldstein's article is yet another example of this tradition of "Why fill-in-the blank Can't fill-in-the blank." To Goldstein's credit, she admits that "Poor writing is nothing new, nor is concern about it."
5/27/2021 11:29:13 am
Why these friendly robots can’t be good friends to our kids appeared in the Washington Post on December 7, 2017 by Sherry Turtle.
5/27/2021 11:31:14 am
The title of the article is, "Why Millions of Kids Can't Read and What Better Teaching Can Do About It" from npr.org. The focus of the article is that children struggle to read because there is such a misconception that reading is "natural." Just like writing, reading takes practice and years of decoding skills. The article studies how children read and why certain students struggle more than others, specifically those in lower income areas. A lot of the blame is put on educators for students unable to read at a proficient level. In this article, the Bethlehem school district spent $3 million on teacher training on how students should be taught how to read from professionals. Teachers were blamed that they didn't know proper reading sounds and how to integrate texts into the classroom that children want to read. By teachers in this school district taking courses to improve their students reading performances, there was a huge spike in reading scores from the beginning to end of the school year. To improve students' reading abilities, it relates back to how the teacher is teaching literacy components and getting the proper training necessary so the students don't suffer.
5/27/2021 11:32:21 am
“Why Kids Can’t Write” was written By Dana Goldstein on August second, 2017 (It was difficult to find an article that had a sufficient amount of information to write about in 2018-2019). This article appeared in The New York Times. Goldstein discusses why kids cannot write with correct syntax. More specifically, teachers have observed children not using correct grammar in sentences such as having pronoun disagreements. Goldstein blamed social media, teachers and teaching pedagogy. She states that kids can write extensively on social media but when it comes to actual “mechanics” and writing structure in academics, kids struggle. Similarly to the article about Johnny, teachers are blamed for having limited training and experience with improving their own writing and therefore, are not providing students with the most effective practice to become better writers. Both articles discuss the concern that if teachers do not catch these improper sentences at an early age, students will continue using unacceptable language in high school, on standardized tests such as ACT and SAT and in college. Goldstein declares that a love of writing needs to be developed before specific grammar lessons. She also believes that exposure to proficient, formal writing is huge to promote inspiration and ideas of writing first, then the syntax. If teachers focus more on developing an interest through activities such as free writing, then students will be not only more engaged but also a stronger learner.
5/27/2021 11:32:30 am
Article Title: Why Kids Can't Write
5/27/2021 11:43:21 am
The article “Why Johnny Can’t Write where the author was focuses on the distractions and it’s can push the students away from not writing desire. Why Johnny Can’t Write was published in 1975 where things and times changed. People thinks that students can’t write because they isn’t educated or smart enough to come up with a words. Yea television can be distracted to student like smartphones and even some pointless video (like funny videos, , TikTok, etc) . The article want to teach us how we need changed and how students isn’t putting enough emphasis. The students are forced to be creative in their writing. They trying to explain how student need to be taught self -expression at a very early age how it’s would help them how to write . Fragmenting and basic grammar rules can help with the corrected if student didn’t take any creative. When applying for college their writing won’t impact them. According to the article “Why Kids can’t write “ they said that student are always writing even on social media, text messages.
Leave a Reply.
We will use this space for both asynchronous and synchronous classes.