“Do things despite what you learned in school.”
Well in school I learned to write with proper grammar and diction and all that jazz but I am going to take Seth Godin’s advice pretty literally and go against all that. This blog is a way for me to express my thoughts without any limitations and I will not be shy about anything.
Over the weekend I came across a podcast-interview with THE Seth Godin. When I was first listening to it I wasn’t sure if I could really relate to what he was saying. He was talking about everyone being an artist and then some business and marketing stuff. But despite not being able to relate in the beginning I wrote down key words/ phrases that stuck out to me.
After reviewing my notes I realized that my AP English class is so relevant to most of his ideas; going against what I previously learned, collaboration, the use of technology, and not afraid of failing.
I realize that I no longer write with structure. I just let my mind flow as I have been doing with my zero drafts in class (just taking pen to paper and writing what ever comes to mind). NO STRUCTURE= THE EXACT OPPOSITE ENGLISH TEACHERS NORMALLY TEACH. Well, of course there’s at least some structure but its no longer the five paragraph essay with an introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion. I now write with freedom which did not take much practice or time to get used to because it really is every student’s dream to have that must freedom.
Not many classes allow time for collaboration. Subjects like math and biology are so focused on note-taking that there is rarely any time for conversation. So skills that are actually useful in the real world are being developed in my junior english class every morning! As a mentioned in a previous blogpost, my classmates and I are creating a book and I must say that I am very proud at how successful my friends and I are at communicating with each other. Facebook is an essential in my groups communication. I am proud to say that I remind my group to post on the blog and of other important things. Their grade is my grade so it is extremely important to keep everyone on task. However I do have some trouble with communicating to the outside world. I am not a very techy person and so social media such as twitter is really not my forté. However “moments of struggle and adversity contributes to the success.” And with time I will become better at turning my work OUT to the world rather than keeping it to myself. But if you don’t mind me saying… I have developed some pretty rad photoshop skills. I will post a link to the group blog and if you take a look at any of the group pictures or our logo you will see that I dedicated quite some time into those fine works of art.
http://treehousethoughts.wordpress.com/ (Check out some of the blogposts on that blog! I write under the name QUEENMITCH!)
Godin mentioned in the podcast that he is never ashamed to talk about his failures (all 900 rejections) and that tends to be problem. After going through this education system that praises excellent work, I want all of my essays and drafts to be perfect. I don’t want other people to see imperfect work, afraid of criticism and I hesitate to post my work online or on social media.
But that does NOT mean that I am not proud of my work. I am not a strong writer. I repeat. I do not have a talent for writing, I do not use big fancy words and I did not enjoy writing because of it. But that last part was in the past tense. I do enjoy writing now. Recently I have become so enthusiastic about writing! As the rounds of peer revisions have sped up, I focus more time on making better drafts each time. My group is so nice and give many compliments that make me feel like a good writer. Katrya compliments me on my style while Linh and Kelton laugh and applaud me for certain statements. They also give good advice that makes me want to become a stronger writer. They give suggestions such as which paragraph should go where and additional ways to improve my overall essay. I was that kid that did not like criticism but now I voluntarily show my work to my peers and teacher and I ask for advice. I don’t think I have ever been that active about my learning. I try to just enhance what I already wrote with revisions here and there but I’m not afraid to have to start from scratch which I ended up doing with several of my essays. With the past few essays I avidly sought out my english teacher for help when I am stuck with my writing. It was difficult trying to incorporate all of his suggestions since there were so many but I edited away to the best of my abilities. And I can say that it definitely paid off in the following peer revisions. Even though it technically is the same essay, my group says its SO much better than the previous.
I shouldn’t be given instructions to become successful, I should pave my own path and pursue my own education. That’s a statement that I’ve been constantly told this year and ESPECIALLY in Mr.Ziebarth’s class and I really have to start taking initiative. Thats really somewhere I could improve on. If teachers changed up their lesson plans and had the class be student-led, then I think the students could really benefit from it. It would be a more hand-on learning experience that directly affects them. I especially like to be engaged while learning and so if a class was more interactive and directed towards independent work then I believe it would be great training for more independent thinking. Which is much needed especially since students are brainwashed to think a certain type of way.
What really caught my attention in the podcast was the collaboration segment. If you get a chance to listen to the podcast you might have similar sentiments but if you don’t then I will briefly discuss what Godin says. Basically kids get marked down for “collaborating” in other words cheating, but when they go out into the world if they can’t collaborate they are in deep trouble. So what is the education system trying to say? Don’t collaborate? I agree 100%. I guess the appropriate word isn’t cheating because collaborating is for the benefit for all the parties involved. Sharing ideas and discussing difficult concepts is all collaborating but sometimes it can all be labeled as cheating which only harms students.
“This social tendency drives the engine of collaborative learning. “The goal of collaboration in schools is to engage students in their learning, to help them learn from each other, and to encourage them to develop a set of ethics and personal responsibility to uphold their part of the team project,” McNutt says. She adds that, using effective design, teachers can implement the collaborative method, and minimize the likelihood of cheating.”- Houston Family Magazine
“We are all called to be artists.” When I heard this in the podcast, my thoughts paused for a moment. I wouldn’t call myself an artist so I have to disagree to some extent. I think that we are all called to create something, to write, to doodle, etc… But doodling and writing down a list of groceries isn’t art. Because I can’t quite accept the fact that everyone is “creative” especially since I don’t think I am, I don’t think I would ever be able to agree with Godin on that.
Link to Seth Godin’s Blog