Reading

#AcWriMo Day 1

Following posts in ProfHacker and PhD2Published, I will be participating in Academic Writing Month, or #AcWriMo. Following the prompts from both sources, I’m going to go through the process of deciding what I want to accomplish in this month.

    1. Decide on your goal. The goal, like NaNoWriMo (which I did as an undergrad and failed miserably at), must be ambitious. The goal in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write 50,000 words in a month. This goal is not particularly meaningful for academics–publications matter more than wordcounts. So here is what MUST be done by the end of the month whether I do AcWriMo or not:-A co-authored book chapter (approximately 3000 words)

      -An abstract for an international conference (approximately 500 words)

      -A presentation for a regional conference (approximately 500 words)

      I have preliminary examinations in January, and for the most part I have been taking my time reading while working on a research project, but this is a good motivator to kick it into high gear so I am done writing on time. Therefore, I will be adding to my current projects these goals:

    2. Declare it!
      • One prelim question complete (approximately 12000-15000 words)
      • One book review submitted to a journal (mostly edits and formatting)
      • One scholars fair proposal (approximately 250 words, but I did it last night, but it still counts)
      • Two substantial blog posts (approximately 1400 words)
    3.  

    4. Draft a strategy.While this list does seem a little light on the protein, it’s really all I can manage with the holidays and a regional conference travel scheduled near the end of the month. Managing it, of course, will take some consistency. I have blocked off Fridays for research and writing, as well as a few hours every evening and, of course the weekends. I don’t take that schedule too seriously, and I think that is a problem. But changing that will take some kind of enforcement mechanism. One thing that helped me with my Masters Thesis was blogging about my progress, so I think I will revive that strategy as a way to manage the schedule part. I may adjust the schedule because, looking at it, it makes me a little nauseous. We’ll see how it goes.


      Strategy: Blog every other day on my progress, answering these two questions.
    5.  

      1. What did I accomplish?
      2. What can I do better?

       

    6. Discuss your progress. I’ll be doing this through the blog as a way to keep on track. I’ll also be keeping a running update on Twitter at the #AcWriMo hashtag and the Accountability Spreadsheet
    7.  

    8. Don’t slack off. I know a few of you read my posts, and so I would appreciate it if you could drop me a line if you sense your BS meter going off or if you want to offer some positive encouragement
    9.  

    10. Declare your results. I’ll be posting my accomplishments regularly, but I will do a recap post at the very end of the month as well to review which of my goals I accomplished.

     

    Let’s do this.

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Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies: The Reading Wars as Evidence of Horizontal Knowledge Structure

This post is a consolidated form of the 8-part series I posted from April 16-May 30, 2013 as part of a class seminar on literacy. I have done a rough edit to attempt to make the posts more cohesive; if some issues are unclear, please refer to the original posts. Thanks again to all who commented and encouraged me during this endeavor. A special thanks to Dr. Carol Hopkins, who supported me in this project.

The Reading Wars of the 1990s were documented by the exchanges between Edelsky and McKenna, Robinson, & Miller in Educational Researcher. This theoretical conflict between Whole Language and Traditional Literacy represents what I call a “traditional academic feud.” A traditional academic feud is a social phenomenon in an academic field of study where two or more groups theorize about or describe a single phenomenon in categorically different ways. That a traditional academic feud eventually achieved “war” status is a curious phenomenon–but perhaps no more curious than the fact that academic feuds occur in the first place. In this series, I plan to explain 1) why the academic feud of the Reading Wars occurred, 2) why the feud escalated to a war, and 3) why a similar feud developed recently in the reading comprehension field (this element of the thesis was abandoned due to time/space constraints), and (if I am brave enough) 4) how we might avoid wars and have more productive feuds in Literacy Studies. (more…)

Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 8: Knower Code and Conclusions

Note: This is the eighth and final part of an eight-part series which satisfies a term paper requirement for a class seminar on literacy. Note that all citations in quotations can be found in the bibliographies of the linked items.

In this last post, I will demonstrate how Literacy Studies satisfies the final feature of horizontal knowledge structures–that of having a “knower code.” I will also show how this feature contributed to the Reading Wars. In a revision of my thesis, which originally contained a second analysis of the debate I highlighted in post six, I will conclude by reviewing the main features of horizontal knowledge structures and argue that they are the primary mechanisms that facilitated the Reading Wars. I will then offer suggestions based on this analysis on how we might avoid wars and have more productive feuds in Literacy Studies. For the sake of clarity, I refer to McKenna’s first article as “McKenna et al., 1990a” and their rejoinder “McKenna et al., 1990b.” Citations from quotes in the M-E discourse are not linked. They can be found at McKenna et al., 1990a; Edelsky, and McKenna et al, 1990b.

9. “Choices between competing claims to insight are based more on a ‘knower code’, that is to say, on who is making knowledge claims rather than on what is being claimed and how.”

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Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 7: Empiricism

Note: This is the seventh and part of a multi-part series which (eventually) will become a term paper for a class seminar on literacy. Note that all citations in quotations can be found in the bibliographies of the linked items.

Previously on My Neverending Blog…

In my last post, I suggested that Whole Language and Skills-Based Literacy–the two opposing viewpoints in the Reading Wars–were languages constructed with weak conceptual grammar, where the fundamental phenomenon–that is, reading–was defined differently by each language. Whole Language, represented by Edelsky (1990) , defined reading as a “sociopsycholinguistic process” (p. 8), whereas Skills-Based Literacy, represented by McKenna et al., 1990a and McKenna et al, 1990b , defined it as constellation of skills working in concert (p. 3). These differing definitions, symptomatic of weak grammar, and the feuding relationship between the theories, also a feature of weak grammar, account for the next two features of horizontal knowledge structures, which deal with empirical research within disciplines.

Aside: In retrospect, I should have collapsed these features into a single feature, making the final total of horizontal knowledge features eight. Maton & Muller (2007) seem to suggest two main features for knowledge structures: grammaticality and verticality. It may be that the features I have abstracted here are corollaries of these two larger features, which are represented as features six and five respectively in my list.
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Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 6: Power and Weak Grammar

Note: This is the sixth part of a multi-part series which (eventually) will become a term paper for a class seminar on literacy.

After my last post, I started discussing the issue of Integration with some colleagues in linguistics via Twitter (in case you haven’t heard, we’re trying to start #lingchat). There are three Tweets I would like to respond to because they raise problems and objections to my analysis that are productive. Thankfully, Purdue’s OWL has already provided a resource on how to cite Tweets. Unfortunately, they’ve only done it for MLA, so I’m extrapolating an APA citation below.

Aside: I want to personally thank my Twitter colleagues @grvsmth, @NemaVeze, and @wgi_pr31ea for raising questions on this matter. Our discussions have been both productive and instructive for me. And while I argue against some of their claims here, I have great respect for their views and scholarship.

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Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 5: Integration and Proliferation

Note: This is the fifth part of a multi-part series which (eventually) will become a term paper for a class seminar on literacy.

Introduction
In my last four posts, I discussed the classification of Literacy Studies as a horizontal knowledge structure (proposed by Bernstein) and provided evidence of the same with samples from the McKenna et al. and Edelsky discourse during the Reading Wars. I argue that the Reading Wars are a traditional academic feud in a horizontal knowledge structure, and an analysis of the Reading Wars from a Bernsteinian perspective can reveal how and why the feud occurred. In this post, I will analyze Feature 5 that I outlined in my first post.

In the table in my second post, I provided representative examples from the M-E discourse that illustrate the features of a horizontal knowledge structure. I have numbered each feature for ease of explanation. For the sake of clarity, I refer to McKenna’s first article as “McKenna et al., 1990a” and their rejoinder “McKenna et al., 1990b.” Citations from quotes in the M-E discourse are not linked. They can be found at McKenna et al., 1990a; Edelsky, and McKenna et al, 1990b.

5. “Integration and subsumption of past ideas [occurs] within each language. However, the capacity for such development across languages is limited.”

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Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 4: The Reading Wars Cont.

Note: This is the fourth part of a multi-part series which (eventually) will become a term paper for a class seminar on literacy.

In my last three posts, I discussed the classification of Literacy Studies as a horizontal knowledge structure (proposed by Bernstein) and provided evidence of the same with samples from the McKenna et al. and Edelsky discourse during the Reading Wars. I argue that the Reading Wars are a traditional academic feud in a horizontal knowledge structure, and an analysis of the Reading Wars from a Bernsteinian perspective can reveal how and why the feud occurred. In this post, I will analyze Features 2-3 that I outlined in my first post.

In the table in my second post, I provided representative examples from the M-E discourse that illustrate the features of a horizontal knowledge structure. I have numbered each feature for ease of explanation. For the sake of clarity, I refer to McKenna’s first article as “McKenna et al., 1990a” and their rejoinder “McKenna et al., 1990b.” Citations from quotes in the M-E discourse are not linked. They can be found at McKenna et al., 1990a; Edelsky, and McKenna et al, 1990b.

4. “‘Each language [has] its own criteria for legitimate texts, what counts as evidence and what counts as legitimate questions or a legitimate problematic'” (Bernstein 1999, p. 163) (more…)