This week, we kick off our series of individual thesis-in-progress presentations. Nives will inaugurate this semester’s series with her courageous and inspiring memoir. I am looking forward to our remaining tour of talent for the next several weeks, and the collaborative spirit that will arise from the peer support and feedback that is a part of this tradition.

Here are the slides from last week, and I am glad we had the chance to pursue a collaborative lit review, and consider the common ties in your projects.

I am sharing here a short video to inspire you as you keep going with your writing. Each of you has your own goals. Stick with it, and don’t lose sight. Try to write at least a little bit most days per week, and embrace the research component of your process when you need to switch from the creative/generative mode and fuel and re-energize some of your curiosity. Remember, this is the time when you should be putting in the time, and building significant momentum:

Headaches and Educational Inequities

I have been experiencing more headaches in the past couple of days and couldn’t discern the reason for these headaches. It wasn’t my time of the month nor was I dehydrated. I was popping two Extra Strength Tylenols every six hours, then I became worried that I was taking too many painkillers. What was causing these headaches? I thought with dread, brain tumor? I needed to nap. After my nap, I was stressed that I did not complete grading my students’ quizzes nor did I work on my research proposal nor did I wash a load clothes. I just slept, and afterwards, I still had my headache. I groggily got up of bed, stumbling to the bathroom.

Today I had an especially good day, a headache-free day. I completed a lot of items on my To-Do List and did not have to take any medication. I went outside to shovel the slushy snow provided with me with much-needed fresh air. After some manual labor, I felt energized, ready to check off more items on my laundry list.

When I am overwhelmed, I get stressed and when I get stressed, I get anxiety, which triggers headaches; and I have been experiencing anxiety since March 2021. However, the headaches are now less frequent since my family have all been vaccinated and have adjusted to pandemic life. We will continue wearing masks and social distancing. So, life continues; so, the research proposal continues.

I revisited my Central Inquiry and revised my slideshow for my upcoming March 9 presentation. I wanted to recenter myself so I do not lose some sight of my purpose and felt that I was going down this proverbial research rabbit hole.

Central Inquiry: Critics argue that students mechanically accept suggestions from online grammar checkers without understanding the grammatical underpinnings. Although some students may mindlessly accept editing suggestions, online grammar checkers, similar to calculators, are actually tools of empowerment that help provide equity in the classroom and support learners who lack cultural and linguistic capital.  (Working Thesis)

In terms of research, I checked to see if there was any no research published on online grammar checkers. No, there was not. Then I wanted research to help me answer, Why should we care about educational equity? Enters Paul Gorski who reminds me that “We have the power, and of course, the responsibility to ensure we do not reproduce inequitable conditions in our own classrooms and in our schools.” I am going to continue reading Gorski’s book Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity and working on my autoethnographic short story.

Literature Review (

Writing Pedagogy and Writing Theory

Bardine, Bryan A., et al. “Beyond the Red Pen: Clarifying Our Role in the Response Process.”   

     The English Journal, vol. 90, no. 1, 2000, pp. 94–101. JSTOR,

     Accessed 19 Dec. 2020.

– Bardine and Deegan argue that students feel powerless in the writing classroom, which

   supports my claim that writing instruction can be oppressive. They argue that teachers

   need to go beyond grading papers. Teachers need to see themselves as responders to 

   essays, focusing on the students’ ideas and not on the goal of grading a paper and

   moving on to the next paper. The instructor’s comments have a lasting impact, 

   either positive or negative, on the learner. 

David Foster Wallace – Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars Over Usage | Genius. Accessed 19 Dec. 2020.

-Wallace examines the power dynamics in American usage. He argues that the elite, the

              SNOOTS (or grammar snobs), are the authority in terms of usage. They determine right

    and wrong in American usage, which is problematic in writing studies since the writing 

  authorities are generally white and male. In the writing classroom, the authority is white 

 and female.

Semke, Harriet D. “Effects of the Red Pen.” Foreign Language Annals, vol. 17, no. 3, 1984, pp. 195–202, doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.1984.tb01727.x.

– Semke shows that students’ writing skills improve with a combination of positive

  comments corrections on their papers. 

Delpit, Lisa D. The Silenced Dialogue: Power and Pedagogy in Educating Other People’s Children. 1988, doi:10.17763/haer.58.3.c43481778r528qw4.

– Delpit examines the culture of power in the classroom and in writing pedagogy. She 

   argues for a student-centered classroom and writing as a process. She presents a

   divergent perspective of white writing teachers teaching other people’s children and

  how faculty of color are often marginalized in their professions, which is quite

 problematic since divergent points of view are dismissed, rejected, and suppressed.

Ferenz, Orna. “EFL Writers’ Social Networks: Impact on Advanced Academic Literacy Development.” Journal of English for Academic Purposes, vol. 4, no. 4, Oct. 2005, pp. 339–51, doi:10.1016/j.jeap.2005.07.002.

-Using human ecology theory, Fernez examines how ESL students’ social

 environment (a network of friends, classmates, and co-workers) impact the students’

 acquisition of advanced literacy skills. However, if marginalized students lack the

linguistic capital at home and do not have access to writing tools at school, then they

are to hone their advanced literacy skills.

Pitard, Jayne. “Using Vignettes Within Autoethnography to Explore Layers of Cross-Cultural Awareness as a Teacher.” Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, vol. 17, no. 1, Nov. 2015, doi:10.17169/fqs-17.1.2393.

– Pitard uses vignettes (or anecdotes) to serve as a “window” into a different culture. She distinguishes autoethnographies from short stories by connecting the self to the larger cultural text, and the self to the larger social context. Since I am interested in the larger context of writing pedagogy, I am planning to write an autoethnographic short story.  

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 50th Anniversary Edition. Bloomsbury Publishing

USA, 2018.

-Freire Argues for liberation of the oppressed by breaking the chains of a

conventional education that focuses on memorization. Instead, education should focus

on problem-solving and critical thinking skills. He encourages dialogue between 

the teacher and the student.

The Problem of Othering: Towards Inclusiveness and Belonging. (2017, June 29). Othering and 


– Powell and Menendian posit that the problem of the 20th century is

“othering, ” which is a type of prejudice where one group perceives another group as

 being different from them, thus marginalizing them. Othering occurs because of the 

 desire for power and unconscious bias.

Online Grammar Checkers

Best Grammar Checker Tools: These 6 Will Make Your Writing Super Clean. (2020, January 

20). The Write Life.

– Provides recommendations of online grammar checkers such as ProWritingAid

AutoCrit, and Grammarly. 

– Provides an example of an autoethnography of an English teacher who was able to gain

   credibility as an English teacher in Sri Lanka. By using an authentic voice, this 

   Autoethnography is a strong example of this research method. 

Cavaleri, M. R., & Dianati, S. (2016). You want me to check your grammar again? The 

usefulness of an online grammar checker as perceived by students. Journal of Academic 

Language and Learning, 10(1), A223–A236.

– Dianati presents research on the positive impact of online grammar checkers on students 

   in Australia. Based on their study, online grammar checkers promote self-efficacy 

   and independence.

Figueredo, L., & Varnhagen, C. K. (2006). Spelling and grammar checkers: Are they intrusive? 

British Journal of Educational Technology, 37(5), 721–732.

– Varnhagen concludes that online grammar checkers do not negatively impact a writer’s

   revision process. More experienced writers, such as graduate students, use online

   grammar checkers to check for surface revisions.

Jayavalan, K., & Razali, A. B. (2018). Effectiveness of Online Grammar Checker to Improve 

Secondary Students’ English Narrative Essay Writing. International Research Journal of

Education and Sciences (IRJES), 2(1).

-Jayavalan and Razali show how Maylasian students who used Grammarly scored higher in the narrative writing tasks by using Grammarly.


GRAMMAR INSTRUCTION WITH WRITING. Journal of Basic Writing, 19(2), 

124–140. JSTOR.

-McAlexander describes online grammar checkers as “pattern detectors” that can detect

  formulaic patterns of errors but not error relating to content and meaning such as comma

  rules, dangling and misplaced modifiers, and pronoun agreement errors.

McCracken, H., & McCracken, H. (2019, April 1). On its 10th anniversary, Grammarly looks 

way beyond grammar. Fast Company.

  • McCracken provides background on the founders of Grammarly, Max Lytvyn and Alex Shevchenko, who want people to write well. The writer Harry McKraken who writes for a living uses Grammarly to help him find errors. 

Moré, J. (2006). A grammar checker based on web searching. Digithum, 8, 1–5.

Naber, D. (2003). A rule-based style and grammar checker. Citeseer.

On Students’ Rights to Their Own Texts: A Model of Teacher Response on JSTOR. (n.d.). 

Retrieved May 11, 2020, from 

-Moré claims that teachers should treat students’ writing with respect. The teacher should

 return control of writing to the students by adopting the mindset of helping the student

 improve as a writing and not comparing the students’ writing to an Ideal text.

Potter, R., & Fuller, D. (2008). My New Teaching Partner? Using the Grammar Checker in 

Writing Instruction. The English Journal, 98(1), 36–41. JSTOR.

-A seventh-grade teacher, Reva Potter, describes her positive experience of teaching 

online grammar checker. She concludes by saying that she can teach technology 

and writing simultaneously. 


A Phenomenological Research Design Illustrated-Thomas Groenewald, 2004. (n.d.). Retrieved 

May 10, 2020, from

-Groenewald provides a step-by-step guide in conducting a phenomenological research

 Design. Autoethnography is a form of phenomenology but without the bracketing.

Canagarajah, A. S. (2012). Teacher Development in a Global Profession: An Autoethnography. 

TESOL Quarterly, 46(2), 258–279.

Educational Equity

White Teachers / Diverse Classrooms, edited by Julie Landsman, and Chance W. Lewis, 

Stylus Publishing, LLC, 2011. ProQuest Ebook Central,

I was introduced to Paul Gorski’s “Becoming Joe,” which was a poetic loom at the process of assimilation of Jose. As I read the poem, I am reminded of my name and how strangers struggle with my name Tunhi, which prompted me to informally change it to “Linda.”

hooks, bell. Teaching To Transgress. United States, Taylor & Francis, 2014.

Noddings, Nel. Happiness and Education. Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Gorski, Paul C.. Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. United States, Teachers College Press, 2017.

“Class Inequities Beyond School Walls and Why They Matter at School”

Still Going…

Following along with Dr. Zamora’s message from the week, I find myself still going and still maintaining my momentum. This week came with more writing! While I have not finished the chapter I am currently working on, I am comfortable and pleased with the amount of writing I was able to get done.

My goal is to finish this current chapter by the end of the next week which will bring me to the first week of March. If I meet this goal and my goal of completing a chapter a week, by the end of March I will be done with my remaining chapters. This timeline would permit me to have the whole month of April to add in my research and to do any necessary revisions and edits. Even if I find myself off by a week or two, there should still be more than enough time for me to comfortably (not under any immense pressure) to add in my research and revisions. I want to avoid the last minute work under pressure, crunch time as best as I can. So I will continue to pace myself and just keep going!

Thesis Update 2/23

I have to be honest, this week could have been more productive for me. I just hit a wall of some sort, and the words did not come out as easily as I would have hoped them too. It is not the end of the world, but I am my harshest critic and feel like I lost some valuable time to work on this piece. I will get into specifics of my progress in class tomorrow, as there is not a whole lot to report. All is not lost, however, I definitely feel confident enough that I will be able to right this ship sooner rather than later, but an overall underwhelming week in terms of progress.

On a personal note, I am happy to share that I have been informed of my acceptance into Oklahoma State University’s PhD program in English, so that is something that can hopefully give me a much needed boost for this process.

A Small Break

Well, it is official. This past week was spent doing as little as possible. There is no need to beat around the bush. The break on Thursday was much needed. The only advancement on my thesis work for the week was the brief revision of my writing prompts that is being sent out tomorrow.

I had a lot of genuine concerns about what may come out of the responses I receive from my volunteers. It was really weighing heavy on my mind, so I needed some time of clarity. My main concern is that I may have someone participating and their responses could be a red flag, or a cry for help. I’m still concerned, so I did a little research so that I can be better prepared for this ‘worse case scenario’.

While I want my volunteers to know that they have my word on maintaining anonymity and confidentiality, I also want to be able to guide them to additional resources and support if I see that they are an immediate threat to themselves or someone else.

In other news, I broke my stubbornness and admitted to myself that I could not shovel the snow this past Thursday. I did a little research and found a local company that did the shoveling for me. The cost was more than I really wanted to spend, but the cost of saving my back from that pain was priceless.

Thesis Time: Slow & Steady Wins the Race!

I had an awesome birthday weekend despite the crazy, snowy weather! I mean it is February after all, the coldest month of the year! #PiscesSeason. My weekend was filled with lots of LOVE from all the important people in my life! I was truly humbled and feel so very blessed to have celebrated another year of life. It’s been a rough year for all of us, some more than others. This harsh reality wasn’t far from my mind as I celebrated my birthday. I just continue to pray and send out good vibes into the universe that all this chaos will end, sometime in the near future. If we never get back to normal, I hope at least, we can get back to a new normal, that makes us all feel whole again. ❤

So you might be wondering what my above Bitmoji means. Why do I need a hug? Well, first off, I mean who doesn’t love a good hug? I do! I feel like as we get older, we get way less hugs then we used to. So I always embrace a good ole hug! It really helps to feed the soul and slow down any anxious adrenaline pulsating throughout the body. So why do I need a hug? Well, I’m starting to feel the crunch of these final two months of thesis. It’s finally hitting me as I try to complete my chapters, and revise as needed. I’m currently trying to piece my chapters together into a cohesive order that works for the overall telling of my story. Ugh! No easy feat, but I’m trying my best! Below I will share my Table of Contents and briefly describe what each chapter will contain. Again, this is a work in progress, nothing is set in stone and I’m looking forward to all of your feedback! Thanks guys, can’t wait to see you all in class and hear all about your progress! Xo.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Riptide (reoccurring dreams, first memory of my OCD, start of therapy).

Chapter 2: In Waves (reoccurring dream, my younger years and bouts with anxiety/OCD).

Chapter 3: Quicksand (the highs and lows of mental illness).

Chapter 4: Tangled Roots (my family tree and long history of mental illness).

Chapter 5: Brotherly Love (my fractured relationship with my brother).

Chapter 6: Degenerate (explicit chapter about self loathing and pain due to my illness).

Chapter 7: Oh Heavenly Father (a look back at my Catholic upbringing and education).

Chapter 8: Echoes (a deep, detailed dive into the complexities of my rituals and obsession’s).

Chapter: 9 Permanent Glitch (learning to live each day with OCD. embracing the permanency).

Chapter 10: The Phoenix (my rebirth, and redemption).

See the source image

You know what to do….

The message of the week: Keep going!

Hopefully our TRIZ protocol last week drew to the surface the ways in which we sometimes get stuck. It is always good to face obstacles head on, and the TRIZ “liberating structure” is designed to do just that, and help you co-formulate strategies to overcome pitfalls along the way.

You should be building on some momentum now. Lean into this, and let the words and work flow. This is the time to be writing without constraint…generating significant content for the overall project.

At this stage, it makes sense to revisit to your Lit Review as it stands, and identify any important gaps…be prepared to address any gaps you think you might have in your Lit Review as you continue on. You will all gear up for your class presentations which will start soon and loom on the horizon.

As always, blog about your progress, and what you are learning.  

See you on Tuesday!

Thesis Project 2021-02-16 20:04:46

This last week being off on Friday and Monday allowed me to dedicate more time to my thesis project. Unlike last week (where I had to constantly return to my project multiple times and work in short bursts) I was able to sit and work for a longer period(s) of times on my project. I was able to finish the chapter I started last week, which means I’ve been able to get through 2 chapters in 2 weeks! I am incredibly excited and proud of the progress I am steadily making. At this rate I can get a lot of creative writing done with enough time to spend adding in the research and reviewing/editing my work. This is crunch time! February is ending next weekend and time is flying! So hopefully I can keep this momentum going. Whether I have to come back to my project 7+ times in one day, or working in one sitting for a long period of time, I just want to keep the progress flowing.

It also felt great to share some of my work with some of my peers last week, and the feedback was great, so thank you to Dylan and Linda. I’m going to add a link to the full chapter below for anyone who would like to take a look!

In the small groups last week we discussed how for my project (and others as well) that revisiting some of our past memories can be disturbing. For certain aspects of my project this has definitely been something I’ve had to deal with in. In a sense I find it somewhat therapeutic and, as challenging as this could be, I see it as another opportunity to re-work through many things I’ve previously dealt with. We also discussed how brave it seems for me to be putting so much of this information out for people to read. I never looked it as being brave (I do appreciate this label though) but I did go back and forth with myself on the level of honesty and vulnerability I’m sharing in this project. For that reason, I’ve been considering if this project were to be publicly published, doing so under a pseudonym. If I were to do this, is this something I should explain up front to my readers? My whole goal is to be as authentic and transparent with them so that they can trust me and therefore trust my project, will remaining anonymous strip away any of this transparency and trust? These are just some questions I’m considering as I finish working through my project.