Writing is a way of knowing writing and identity

Writing is a way of knowing writing and identity

Writingis a way of knowing: writing and identity

Thereexist so many definitions of writing. One main description depictswriting as a means of communicating with one another representinglanguage as well as emotion through symbols. It mainly involvesaddressing oneself through symbols and signs and can be seen as atype of technology. In some aspects, writing is deemed as a mechanismof enquiring that assists adults who are English learners to attaintheir goals. Though writing is deemed as means of expressing one’sthoughts on paper, it is not the case in some aspects. For instance,writing everything I have in my brain is quite hard, more often thannot something holds back and prevents complete expression on paper.The brain contains so much that cannot be easily put on paper.Therefore, as much as writing expresses what one has in mind, it doesnot represent the entire thoughts.

Thepaper of choice is the 2013 article “Writing is a way of Knowingwriting and identity”, by Gloria Park. The article tries toillustrate the vitality of writing in creating an identity. Thepublication also elaborates the writer identity conception thatincludes discoursal self, autobiographical self as well as self asan author. In the article, the author deems writing as a technique ofenquiry that benefits adults who are learners of the Englishlanguage, to finish their Cultural and Linguistic Autobiography (CLA)tasks, which is a component of the ESL program. In accordance to theauthor’s perspective, each of the words we write characterizes ourencounter, struggles or past experience. Additionally, writing cannotbe described as a neutral activity learnt like any other physicalactivity, but represents the entire being of the author [ CITATION Glo13 l 1033 ].

Thispaper will look to establish the truth in the sentiments made withinPark’s article. As already described above, the paper gives a cleardefinition of the word write and what it represents. Writing has beendescribed as a skill that cannot be physically gained but canrepresent an author’s past experience. Though this is quite true,according to me it does not necessarily have to embody an author’spast experience. Whatever is contained in the brain cannot beentirely exhausted. As a matter of fact, whatever we write onlysymbolizes a small percentage of what we think or have experienced.By utilizing Park’s article, I will provide a logical argumentindicating the degree by which the sentiments are acceptable. Othernotions that can be drawn from the theory will also be elaboratedwithin this paper. An in-depth analysis of my views pertaininglanguage acquisition as well as the concepts of learning will be amajor undertaking within this paper. I am certainly convinced that myindividuality is majorly constructed or rather reshaped by theacademic deeds I engage in rather socio-cultural perspectives. All inall, I consider it vital to have deeper knowledge of a writer’sself-representation in academic perspectives.

Mainpoints drawn from Park’s article

Theauthor drew two lessons when building the autobiographical self.First of all, English learning is more than just mastering thelinguistic rules. It generally entails understanding English and allits surroundings. Additionally, to be deemed eloquent in English, onehas to understand everything around him/her through the languageitself. Her second lesson circled on how identities such as gender,class and race interrelated with language. As the author realized,this identities were majorly swayed by the socio-political andsocio-cultural backgrounds which she lived [ CITATION Glo13 l 1033 ].

Inaccordance to the first lesson, I find it quite true i.e. for one tobe considered sufficiently knowledgeable in a certain language, it isvital to know all about the language. One has to know the origin,subsequent changes among other developments related to the languageitself. I also concur with the authors’ view that one has to beaware of everything around him/her through the language itself to beconsidered knowledgeable in the same [ CITATION Glo13 l 1033 ].

Onthe second lesson, the author tries to relate gender, race and classto language. Research shows that relation between gender and languageis an elusive phenomenon. There exist no exact relation betweengender and language. As a matter of fact, different scholars havevarying notions of the same. In my own assumption, gender cannot playa role in learning a language. Whether female or male, acquiring alanguage ought to be the same under the same conditions [ CITATION Bon09 l 1033 ].

Classis another factor considered by the author. Though not entirelyproven, class plays a substantial role in learning a language. Forinstance, it is easier for high classed people to acquire Englishknowledge than low classed citizens. It is also the same forimmigrants and adult learners of the English language. I see asubstantial correlation between language acquisition and class. Thesame can said about race, which I deem quite impactful in languageacquisition. And as the author generally states, these identityfactors i.e. race, class and gender are affected by thesocio-political and socio-cultural backgrounds in which one lives on.I find it quite true to state that learning a language can be relatedto the socio political and cultural backgrounds in which one israised in. The effect can vary across the learners depending on howone absorbs the socio cultural and political effects [ CITATION Nor00 l 1033 ].

Writinglife history is seen as a good method of scrutinizing experiences ofteachers and learners across the world. When a student engages inlife history writing, he/she is able to know more about themselves.It is a suitable method for one to analyze them. According to theauthor’s sentiments, students can use this technique of writingabout them to know what they have experienced in life, and planwhatever is ahead accordingly. Self study is a common issueespecially on identity. Though identity has variousconceptualizations, it is mostly given an individualistic approach. Itend to agree with the fact that, self study which entails writing onyour own history tends to give one a sense of past experience. Thoughnot all the past experiences can be captured in writing, it covers asubstantial margin for one study on self [ CITATION Pam13 l 1033 ].

Waysof viewing identity

Identitycan be described as an individual’s expression and conception ofhis/her own. Identity as elaborated in this paper is expressed inthree ways i.e. disccoursal self, self as an author andautobiographical self. Autobiographical self outlines one’s senseof behavior as well as background. Discoursal on the other handentails, various impressions outlined by the writers especially onperspectives of power relations, beliefs or values on the socialcontext. Self as an author is relative and often entail the writers’voice in matters of opinions, beliefs as well as position. Theconstruction of these identities has raised the awareness level ofhow English and the culture entailed has become an important aspectin both professional and academic development of language users aswell as learners. In using this structural approach, it is clear thatknowledge of English and its culture is a vital block for writersboth in professional and academic context. In their pursuit ofacademic identity, writers ought to understand the academic writingskills as well as literacy skills delineated by the institutionrelated to the particular kind they write in [ CITATION Hee11 l 1033 ].

Accordingto some scholars, internet literacy can be used to explore theliteracy levels as well as elaborate the textual identities. Forinstance, by considering non-native English speakers, Lam (2000)makes assumptions regarding identity. In accordance to her notion,identity is a socially generated construction of self within thesocial media. She further affirms that writers create their ownidentities within the media. The scholar describes identity in thesocial context. In her case study, she asserts that writers can usethe social media to create their own identity. Additionally, howliterate one is in matters of utilizing the internet defines theextent to which he/she is knowledgeable in the particular language.Looking at this perspective, I take the current approach to literacy.The current mode in the society likens literacy to certain languageto use of the internet especially social media. By constantlyutilizing the social media, one can be able to create an identity andfeel knowledgeable in the particular language. As a matter of fact,the more you use a particular language in the social media the moreyou become acclimatized to that particular language and its culturesin this case English [ CITATION Pam13 l 1033 ].

Identityis a key factor in the social aspects. Some scholars suggest that itentails three moments i.e. social, individual and individual-social.But as entailed in Ivanic (2012), currently more attention is givento the social aspect. In describing self-representation, anindividual has to consider what he/she brings to herself and whatculture offers. By weighing the two, one makes a distinctive choice.The unique choice brings about the individuality aspect whereas thesocial aspects shape the decisions being made. Identity is thereforeshaped according to the two aspects since in some way bothinterrelate [ CITATION Pam13 l 1033 ].

Constructingan identity is a rather hectic task due to the broad factors thataffect the same. It can however be layered down to social impactssuch as beliefs, values, power relations and dispositions. In Park’sstudy, new residents of the United States are accorded a platform toshare on their life experiences in writing. The practice is meant tolet the newcomers express themselves, outlining their early schoolinglives as well family, initial United States experience, Englishacquisition experience and the epilogue. The four themes describedgive a clear outline that somehow builds an identity of the writer. What she is trying to achieve is quite viable in constructing awriter’s identity only that not all will fulfill the same. Forinstance, some immigrants tend to hold back when it comes to mattersfamily depending on their past. A particular student may be having atroublesome past that he/she feels cannot be shared. In the sameperspective, an immigrant may hold back the truth on the UnitedStates experience. In accordance to the four themes described byPark, I find it hard for most of the students to give accurateinformation about their past and present experiences in all aspects.It therefore cannot be used to fully define the identity of animmigrant writer. In most cases, successful writers tend to sharetheir past experience to elaborate how far they have come in pursuitof success[ CITATION Ing10 l 1033 ].

ForAddison, one of Park’s learner’s, she embraces writing as aportion of understanding herself internally. She deems it as a typeof therapy that makes her see the inner self. By writing she feelscomfortable expressing her past and it gives her motivation to doeven more. This is the case with several learners. I concur with themin the aspect of feeling relieved when writing about oneself. Writingabout oneself can be deemed as a form of therapy since one is able torelieve whatever he/she has in mind on paper. There is nothing assatisfying as relieving what is in the mind on paper. The sentimentsare echoed by Ava, a Vietnamese learner who states how writing hasenabled her to reflect on herself and see her personal growth. Shetakes time to reflect how the autobiography will be beneficial to herand the family [ CITATION Glo13 l 1033 ].

Thesentiments from the two learners above are quite true to some aspect.Personal reflection is a vital way of monitoring your own progress orgrowth. It is a means of developing an identity since one is able tosee how far he/she has progressed. Progress encourages one to achieveeven more. And as Ava reckons, sharing the past autobiography withher daughter may help her in many aspects. In writing the real her,she realizes how changed she is. Self actualization is used by manywriters to identify them and even realize abilities that wereunknown. Indeed self reflection is a huge aspect utilized by manypeople and can only be impactful if whatever is put on paper is thereal [ CITATION Glo11 l 1033 ].

Anotherimportant fact to note from writing, one is able to inspire anotherperson either directly or indirectly. An individual is able to sharethe past challenges and how they were conquered in writing.Therefore, as much as writing helps one find his/her own identity, itmay also be impactful to another person who reads the same. Thelearners can play a role in educating other people. However, writingdoes not have to necessarily entail past struggles only, it may alsocontain success and how they were achieved. In that respect, writingin a narrative structure allows one to choose on what to include andwhat not to. I deem this type quite limiting, since a writer may optto include only nice experiences. It may not give the entire identityof the person. It is also subject to change, whereby the writer mayedit what he or she feels is not shareable. The sentiments entailedin writing may not be entirely accurate as well [ CITATION Nie10 l 1033 ].

Writingis also used by some learners to retrace their routes. This is anoble way of identifying past goals and whether they are achievable.In case an individual forgets the goals set, writing can be utilizedto bring back the same. For instance, Jasmine a Korean learnerundertaking the CLA is able to retrace her aims. She discovers thatmost of her goals are achievable only that she did not adapt to thenew Country. By writing down, she is able to elaborate her goals andsee how achievable they are. Most of the learners also felt they hadreclaimed their identity especially as professional and academicwriters [ CITATION Ric00 l 1033 ].

Throughthe CLA project, many students are able to master the linguistic codein a different linguistic and culture area. They are able to attainsufficient skills in writing coherent and cohesive paragraphs. Assome of them denote, they are able to construct complex articles fromthe techniques they learn from the project. Writing encompassesroughly five traits that are quite vital i.e. clarity, accessibility,conciseness, audience recognition and accuracy. All these traits areimproved with continuous practice. The CLA project provides thelearners with a baseline with which they could improve on. Byactively involving themselves in writing, their technical ability canbe improved tremendously [ CITATION DrS12 l 1033 ].


Writinghas no distinctive definition but can be generally considered asexpressing whatever is in the mind on paper. It can be used invariety of facets to express oneself. In that respect, writing isutilized in many places to describe identity. The description ofidentity is stated as the art of expressing oneself. The featuresaffecting identity as determined by a number of scholars includesocial and individual choices. The social aspects include cultureamong others whereas individuality entails personal choices. Aselaborated above, identity can be expressed in three ways i.e.disccoursal self, self as an author and autobiographical self.

Descriptionof a person’s identity is better achieved in writing. It is inwriting where a person can ascertain the past experience, futuregoals and the progress made. Though current ways deem use of internetas a means of knowing your identity, it provides just a portion ofit. It is true to state that activeness in social sites utilizingsame language can be used to determine a person’s identity.However, the notion is still open for debate since it does justifyenough knowledge in the language. As determined by many scholars,eloquence in a particular entails knowing the language itself and itsculture. Many projects have been necessitated to improve on writing.One of them is the CLA writing.

Asportrayed by Park’s the CLA writing project is an importantcontributor to improvement of writing skills. As first elaborated,writing is more than just putting words on paper. The technicalitiesinvolved are quite broad. Unlike any other subjects that can begained physically, it encompasses the entire being of the writer.Through the CLA project, most of the English Language Learners couldbuild communities to chronicle a vital portion of their lifehistories. I therefore echo the articles sentiments suggesting thatEnglish Language Learners (ELLs) comprehend themselves much betterthrough writing.

Throughthe CLA project, many English Language Learners were able to improvetheir English skills. They also figured out there past experience andgoals and whether they were in line to achieve the same. Aftercompletion of the project, some deemed it as a shareable experiencethat could be passed down to their young ones. By elaborating theirstruggles in writing, readers of the same could be inspired. Thoughthere are question marks whether everything shared in writing isaccurate, the practice is quite helpful in gaining enough knowledgeand skills of the English language. With active writing, the EnglishLanguage Learners can improve and be proficient in the same.


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