Plagiarism and college culture

Blog for Eng 114. Spring 2010

Monday, March 1, 2010

Blog Response to "Inventing the University"

Years of schooling has taught me that good writing didn't have grammatical or sentence structure errors and although a paper might not have any such errors it wasn't always the "best" essay, but it was a "good enough to get a decent grade" essay. "Good enough" as in basic, this is what I learned, I answered the darn prompt, didn't explore or express any new ideas..."Good Enough."

In "Inventing the University," Bartholomae redefined what it really means to be a basic writer. According to him, grammatical errors, syntactical errors, and not having the proper/appropriate academic "voice" are just some of the things that make a basic writer. In comparison a good writer is able to speak in a variety of voices depending on the given topic and audience.

I'm sure most people have heard that you learn from your mistakes, in my case...I'm learning from other's mistakes. Throughout his article Bartholomae used different examples of student writing to make his point. When the "Clay Model" and "White Shoes model" were compared I learned that while an error free essay is important, addressing your audience correctly and atleast attempting to speak the language of the academic community is better than staying safe within your comfort zone.

It's amusing that at the end of his article he encouraged students to take the risk and write sentences that we "might not so easily control." When it comes to getting the grade...some of the people I've talked to about essays(even myself at times) would rather stay comfortable than branch out. The same goes for spanish class...I can recall my friend saying, "why write hella hard sentences that you don't know the words to and can't put together?"


Anyhow, some of my teachers before have taught me that using "I" in an essay isn't so great. Bartholomae acknowledged the weak form of "I" as the narrator telling a story and that "I" can be used if done properly. A good example he gave was the "Composing Songs" paper. In that paper the writer established her authority by "placing herself both within and against a discourse, or within and against competing discourses, and working self consciously to claim an interpretive project" of her own.

I realized that another example of this is Gladwell's article "Something Borrowed," in which he challenged(elaborated/gave conclusion to) his first reaction to Lavery's plagiarism. He recognized other cases of plagiarism and general notions on it then challenged and learned from the things he mentioned. His voice/person was ever present in his article without having to use I....I...I...

Bartholomae placed so much importance on "audience awareness" that I just now noticed that some of the "tips" he gave are all about tailoring "a writer's ideas or his motives....to the needs and expectations of his audience."

Some of these so called tips are:
Consistency: This was a problem in the "Clay Model" which he called breaking the spell of fiction when the writer suddenly addressed his reader differently(talking down to the reader).

Building Bridges: connect/relate personal viewpoint and reader's viewpoint

and use "common points of departure" before introducing new/controversial ideas

1 Comments:

Blogger Cynthia G. said...

Interesting on how error free essays don't make an essay.. I always thought otherwise

March 1, 2010 at 8:12 AM  

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