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Discovering Autoethnography

Hey there and welcome back to another week. Let’s talk about what’s been going on in my side of town lately. I have been thinking of how to make my broad ideas smaller much more personal. This past week I have been researching and learning about autoethnography. Autoethonogpray is a theoretical method that uses both qualitative and cultural analysis to present the experiences of one individual (I will use myself for this case study). In essence, autoethnography is a type of research that puts the self at the center of cultural analysis. This method requires the individual to be descriptive of their past experiences and present a complete truthful narration of self in order to understand the personal background driving the study.

After researching this theoretical method I believe it is the best approach that will make my research thesis compelling while also expressing learner diversity in elementary classes.


How to Do Ethnography Research

Well, of course, there is a youtube tutorial on almost anything out there. So before I engaged in any intellectual research/ reading I first watched a few videos on what is autoethnography. Here is a short and edifying video about the topic.

After some visual learning, I then read about how one would exactly go about doing this type of research. The image below presents a detailed outline of what’s included in each step of autoethnography research. In the background section is where I will discuss my personal experience as a former ESL student and my passion for doing this research. In the next two sections is where I will conduct most of the academic work. This is where I will need to create and to present a comprehensive review of literature that I find most relevant and suitable to study. I do not yet have a list of articles/books (and historical essays) to research but will soon create one. Lastly, the way I plan to gather and analyze data is by conducting interviews and doing observations. I believe these are the best two ways to get adequate personal details necessary for this research. I want to interview a former ESL teacher and also a current ESL student. The reason that I want to include those two case studies is to not only discuss my own experience but to have others that I can reference as well. ( Also, it will help this research thesis to not be all about me). I plan to observe an ESL classroom to experience once again how it feels to be an ESL student.

ESL In The Classroom

I read an article this week about the experience of bilingual writers. In the article THROUGH STUDENTS’ EYES: THE EXPERIENCES OF THREE ESL WRITERS university professor Vivian Zamel conducts a close study that analyzes the personal experience of three ESL student writers. The three students Carlos, Mohammed, and Nham experience a great deal of difficulty as an ESL writer but what they found most rewarding was the supportive and effective instruction of their teachers.

In an interview, Mohammed states that,

The teacher wants to know about the ideas in your mind. She takes ideas serious. This makes me feel good. The teacher wants to talk to you, wants to know what’s on your mind and you feel courage to revise … All these books won’t help, you won’t use your brain. You never develop your ideas.

pg.88

It wasn’t just the students who found writing in an ESL classroom difficult, but so did the teachers. The teachers argued that the instructional models and the expectations we make about our students are whats hindering the creativity and flexibility of ESL writers (Emphasis mine) (The terms language acquisition and writing development are further discussed). As a result, they suggest that ESL students should not be graded on words they do not know rather they should have the freedom to create meaning and ideas that stimulate stories even if they don’t have the exact words for it. By doing this, ESL writers will learn the English language more easily.

This article provided an informative insight into the experience of what it is like to be a foreign writer in the classroom. While the research data was analytic and extensive it presented a selective way of gathering data. In my autoethnography, I want to focus more on the student experience in the classroom as an ESL learner in all subject fields.

Passions- Blog Post 3

Hi, welcome back to another week. It seems like the year is going by so fast, I don’t believe the weekend even happened. Seriously, 2020 please slow down so I can get my thoughts together. Speaking of thoughts, I’ve been thinking about what I am passionate about when it comes to education and my experience as a learner. I figure this will help me narrow down my very broad ideas.

Last week my two proposal options discussed the importance of students getting the most advantageous opportunities in the classroom with reading choices and ESL classes. After thinking about these two previous ideas I am considering dropping the first topic and discuss more ESL.

Ethnography:

I am still interested in researching how ESL classes benefit immigrant students however, this time I plan to move forward with a different approach. In this approach, I plan to use my own learning experience to express learner diversity in elementary classes. I am considering this approach because I believe that it will push me to get out of the traditional way of thinking about thesis topics. An ethnographically based research will help me delve more into my own experiences and discover more of what constructs me as a bilingual learner.

Religion:

Another passion of mine is religion. I consider myself a religious person and I apply most of my morals and beliefs in theories of religion. Considering this passion of mine, I would like to study the impact of religious involvement on academic achievement. More specifically in this study, I plan to study a hypothesis. The hypothesis will prove that students who are religious experience less stress in college compared to non-believers. I believe this is hypothesis research that is not too broad. Although, I am not sure yet how I will prove this, however, I am excited to do the work.

Educating preschoolers with learning disabilities

Lastly, another area that I am passionate about is my career. I currently work in a special needs school with students who have learning disabilities. My typical day at work is different from other preschools. I interact daily with students whose learning styles require speific and strategic methods. I would like to study why their disabilities require individualized learning plans.

Stuck On Planning Phase

So, I know I said before I would finally start some writing for my thesis. Unfortunately, I still haven’t been able to. Instead, it seems I spend more time stuck in the planning phase. And perhaps, I shouldn’t rush myself moving on, since I am still putting this big puzzle together. This being the case, I have been reading a lot of the material I’ve collected so far, not only with the purpose of trying to make more sense out of it, and figure out how I will be using each piece of material, but also to further inform myself more on my topic and project. While reading some of the material and going over what I have so far, I noticed something that might affect my project in the future: the quality of sources I have collected so far. Some of these are from site that are somewhat credible and trusted, but other are from just sources I’ve never even heard of before. The good thing about this is that I know such sources are still pulling information from other engines and more reliable sources, but I am still afraid of using them as primary sources for information because of this. This is something I will need to figure out how before I become more involved in this project.

Another thing I’ve been working on lately is developing a timeline of events in relation to my topic. I feel this will be very useful, since I am collecting a lot of data each month on my topic. And being that the thesis project will go on for a year, I will most likely keep collecting even more info than I can handle. I imagine myself in a few months from now to be overwhelmed with data. So, developing this timeline of events will be very helpful. The good thing is that I am planning on only using data which I find relevant for the formation and completion of this project. Obviously, everything will have to fall into place, according to my project-plan. For now, I am working on these and a few other things too. But I am also hoping that I don’t get stuck and can’t move on forward to the other stages of development that are to follow.

The Ship Is About To Set Sail!

Since our last class I’ve been further working on the idea that I recently came up with for my project. Anyway, since then, I’ve started collecting a lot of sources, mainly a lot of news and articles on news channels and websites. Because the amount of news constantly coming out on my topic (the coronavirus) are so many, I am carefully selecting articles and information that I find relevant. And so, I have divided them into a few categories: start of the virus, the spreading around the world, the increase number of cases per month, and any possible cure or vaccines in development. So far, I have a lot of information to go through. I think this will be good for the development of my project because I will have a lot to use at my disposal.

Because I am also creating an anthology of fiction in regards to the virus, and still tell a story with different event moving forward towards an end, I will need to keep in mind the time and dates for the events. This way, I can tell a whole story of this virus in a chronological order, despite being composed of a selection of events. This is because the main star won’t be the random characters in each scenes, but rather the virus itself. At this point, since I already have some materials and a project plan, I think I will start on planning how to start the actual project. I don’t expect much for my first try, but I hope to polish the work little by little, until everything feels like its falling in place.

Brewing Ideas

After the last class, it seems as if everyone has got the ball rolling already! That’s great, this is what senior work is all about! As for me, I am excited to meet again later today to discuss some of the ideas that I have been thinking about in the past week. There are certain ideas I have about how a proper research thesis should be completed. I have a traditional belief that a thesis work should be pages of research and study, however hearing the ideas and learning about different styles of work I now realize that I need to broaden my approach to this project. I am interested to see how I can be more creative in this approach.. 

My main idea is to study teaching approaches in school. Specifically cannons of literature. This is something I am interested in because throughout my life there have been many books that I was interested in reading and learning about, however, I had to do most of this (fun reading) outside of the classroom curriculum. Inside the classroom teachers are teaching the same repetitive books that are thought over and over again to different generations of students. Teachers teach common authors like Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, and other old century poets. In today’s day and time school administrators and curriculum boards should move more towards pleasing students in the classroom as far as reading choices instead of always expecting the common books and authors. Reading options should become more diverse and effective relating more to life in the 20th century.

Although my debate to change the choices in the reading curriculum is insightful I suppose this is a difficult topic to discuss, primarily for the counter debates that teachers will also present.

For example: 

  • Some teachers will argue that canonical authors are essential for reading and writing skills. 
  • Students should learn how to reach different styles of text 
  • The canonical authors present the best forms of writing 
  • British literature is the foundation for the English language
  • & other possible debates

While these arguments are valid and understandable they can always be debated and this is what I plan to do in my research thesis. I intend to present the lack of reading choices in the school curriculum and offer diverse and more fun reading options.

Option 2

Another idea that I would like to delve more into is the idea that ESL classes are an advantage for foreign/ immigrant students. I am sure other teachers and scholars have also agreed with that idea. ESL classes are essential for school districts especially in communities with a large immigrant population. As an immigrant student myself, I found that ESL classes played a major role in my success in grade school and further academic studies. My ESL classes were the transition point connecting me from my native language Haitian-Creole to English. Luckily my school district offered ESL classes at every grade level. If this type of class was not offered I would have a more difficult time transitioning to both the American lifestyle and learning. This is the idea I have now. I will think more on this during the week. See you all soon : )

Welcome Back!

Driving back to campus feels like coming back to unfamiliar familiar territory. Even though the parking lot looks the same, the builds are still there where they have been and everyone is swiftly walking about campus as if they are wire to speed walk everywhere. So it is the same for me. Class is starting soon and as I park my car, walk to the CAS building take the elevator upstairs and open my classroom door, it’s all coming back to me now, THIS IS COLLEGE! Welcome to the spring semester of 2020! 

Internally, I am filled with excitement! After this short break, I am ready to work on something else, something fresh, something new. This time it’s the start of my thesis project! Oh boy, so it has come to this! I knew I would get here eventually because this is the fire that I must jump over to officially become a graduate of the master’s program. So I walked in class with my laptop and planner ready to talk about the spring semester. 

As excited as Jim from The OFFICE

I don’t know if my colleagues are as excited as me but it sure seems like it! The class is small which is perfect because that way we can focus on helping each other. It was insightful to hear about Christina’s project and the work that she has been doing. It sounds like she has done a great amount of careful work especially with the personal interviews which significantly stood out to me. I am excited to see the completion of her project. As for me, I am excited to begin my project. Now I am not yet sure what exactly my senior thesis will represent, however, there are certain topics that I want to discuss in the academic field. I’m hoping to get more in depth with this idea moving forward.

just a big ol’ sigh

So I said I’d finish the last of the transcriptions, right? Pretty confident about that last week? Long story short I still have about 1.75 interviews to go aka 3 hours left to do.

Maaaaaaaaaaan. Really thought I’d get em done, so I’m not thrilled with myself at the moment bUT Y’KNOW? CAN’T THINK LIKE THAT. Just gotta keep on truckin’. Life happens.

And it really did happen, to be heckin’ honest, my friends. Started two (2) jobs, one if which I have an hour til I start this morning.

But anyway. No progress on the self-docs aside from “damn, I’m not getting to them this week, huh.” As for that bulleted list–

Flashforward and hour or two and I’m At Work. Feels Too Adulty. I’m Wearing Heels. Why Am I Wearing Heels.

Anyway, I sneakily worked on the bulleted list don’ttellmyboss.

  • Separation of content and community
  • Fandom communities as support systems
  • Fiction v. IRL fandoms
  • External stigma
  • Internal stigma – i.e., gatekeeping, toxicity
  • Creative influence
  • The Bullseye model one of my interviewees made up regarding levels of fan membership
  • Fandom as a culture (internal ethics/criticisms)
  • Content curation

Not much has changed, but there are 2 new ones shoved at the bottom that will probably lead to a reshuffle of ideas once I gET ALL THESE TRANSCRIPTIONS DONE. Sigh. Luckily I don’t have work tomorrow so I can devote my time wholeheartedly to Finishing them.

Sigh.

Just lots of sighs rollin’ around.

Looking forward to meeting later. Pls pray i survive this work day and all the others to come.

-CM

BLOG #2 – NARROWING IT DOWN

Since our last class and discussion on the next steps to take for the starting-development (for some of us) of our Master’s thesis, each and one of us received an appropriate advice from Dr. Zamora. In my case, I’ve been trying to generate more ideas for the type of story I would like, and I’ve generated a few good ideas I feel would be good. From these ideas, I’m down to 3 that I will most likely consider. This is, of course, all keeping in mind my primary intent for my thesis project:

the ideas that I have for my project are all based around [1] the writing of a creative fictional work and crafting of a book, which will be representative of my interest for creative writing as part of my Master’s program.  Alongside this book, I am thinking of having [2] an academic and literary research piece, which will probably talk about not only why this type of writing is important to me (as a practice), but also touch on the functionality of the methodology used within it. I guess, as of now, the purpose of my project is to show and somewhat prove the important of such type of writing in the literary world and how the techniques involved and used in it are not only useful for most areas in our lives (work, personal daily tasks, ect…), but also essential to our way of learning.

One of my first ideas was for my thesis to be:

[1] THE TRACKING OF THE CORONAVIRUS, FROM START TO END (of at least until the end of my thesis):

I plan to track the virus and turn a few (selected and most important) news and turn them into events that all come together as part of a story (the story of the virus).

In a sense, it will be a collection of updated (month after month) news and findings (articles, research, ect…) TURNED into an anthology of fictional short stories (published book), and BACKED UP by research and all the sources collected for research.

[2] CREATIVE WRITING AS A MEMOIR.

The next possible plan is the writing of a memoir. Although it will be based on a personal event or experience, I still hope to keep my primary intent.

[3] ANTHOLOGY OF CREATIVE WRITING

A collection of various types of creative writing (mainly related to memoir, short stories, nonfiction).