Ethnography Analysis Essay
Chandler Gilbert Community College
Professor G. Fields
This essay is about how writing is applied in the classroom of my choice. Also I have explained the classroom culture and teacher values. In the end of this essay there will be a couple pictures of the classroom, also a few interviews from the professor and the students. There will also be a cited page for the quotes throughout the essay. This essay was my observation of the classroom culture and teacher values and the different types of writing in the class. I will discuss the different rhetorics used and and how we use the ones noted.
“The climate is negative, as is the case on most Monday mornings, it is the culture that dictates how members of the group are supposed to feel.(p.58)” As Steve Gruenert (2008) says in his article School Culture, They are Not the Same Things. When looking into what we see in a classroom, many people may just think its a room where we learn. Nothing more, nothing less. If you ask people what they think about writing in the classroom, most people will say, taking notes, doing assignments, or taking test. If we take the time to really look into what “classroom writing” really is we will see that there is more than we think. In this Ethnographic Analysis Essay, I will pick apart the classroom and writing within it. I will explain the teacher values, culture of the room and the different types of writing styles that we use in this class. Many people will confuse the classroom culture with classroom climate. Even though the climate is a direct link to the culture, they are two different things. We can say that our values can also set the culture of the classroom, but it is not just the students who has the values in the class. The instructor is who sets the values and culture in the class. At the end of this analysis, there will be a better understanding by the types of rhetoric writing being done, the culture and values within the class and how they affect the people in the class.
To first start on writing in this class, we have to start from the first source of writing, the syllabus. Drew Appleby(1994) says in his article How to Improve your Teaching with the Course Syllabus, “The very process of writing a well-constructed syllabus forces you to crystallize, articulate, organize, and communicate your thoughts about a course.” This is a big help keeping students on track. The professor hands our syllabus to give us an overview of how the class will be structured. The syllabus it starts off with the name of the course, followed by the professors info. Then it talks about required class material. The syllabus also has scores, rules and regulations, and information about help from the school. In the back there is the assignments and due dates. In this class, there are no handouts. The rhetoric she uses is the media (projector) to teach the class with power points she has constructed. The professor has recommended we use note cards to do our speeches. As Jeremy Porter (2013) says in his article, “Rhetorical devices-index cards for speech writers, “ All the great speakers have understood rhetoric and used it to convince, persuade, and lead.” The speakers all used index cards for their speeches just a way to stay on track. Not necessarily to read directly from. They may have used their cards to put just the important things on it. We also use poster boards to display our ideas in a short version. The students may use quotes and words on this poster to express and show what we are talking about. This is also audience engaging. When you take the time to create a good poster board, it can be very eye catching. The writing you put on the poster board has to also be thought of when you think “who is my audience.” There is also powerpoint you may use to display your public speaking project. In this class we may not use it, but because it is so early, the professor has not given out all the stipulations of all the assignments. Most times the essays that we write do not have to be in a format or correct grammar. It is because the class is about speaking. I believe once you learn how to properly write, your essays, even though it’s not necessary, still have proper grammar and structure. Even though this is a public Speaking class, there is still a great amount of writing in this calls. This is just some of the things that include writing in the class.
When thinking about the success of the students in the class, the pressure lies with the teacher. An article written by Paul Kuehn(2017), Responsibility of a Teacher: Developing Moral values of Students, “A Chinese teacher in Taiwan once remarked to me that there are no bad students only bad teachers” I believe this statement is about 90% true. My professor is called Cynthia Sadberry. She is my Communication 225 professor which is Public Speaking. She sets the culture of the class and shares and teaches her values that she believes in as a teacher. The desk in the class are set up in groups. Some are groups of four’s and somes are groups of sixes. I think this allows you to get to know some of the people in the class. If we sat in a desk looking forward, there is a possibility that students may not speak to each other. She often have us stand and do breathing and stretching exercises to help us to relax. This also makes us laugh and talk to each other because we feel silly. She has very strong values when it comes to teaching her class. Professor Saberry states, “Class is practice and what you practice, you will be able to use when working with people.” The rhetoric she uses to set the culture in the class is Stance. This is the main reason she does everything in the class. Her purpose is to help us be better speech writers. She also shares a lot of herself. She likes to joke and I believe this is one of her values. Making the classroom an enjoyable place. As an article by the U.S. Department of State Teachers corner : making learning fun, “When teachers use activities that make learning engaging and fun, students are more willing to participate and take risk.” I think this exercise, even though it looks silly, it makes us relax in front of each other. It teaches how to calm yourself when getting in front of a crowd. When it comes to the writing she assigns in the class, it’s not very much. We may write our essay that goes with the speech we are delivering. The speeches are not graded for punctuation, grammar, or structure. It’s mostly to get our ideas on paper and teach us how to be speech writers. She also recommend that we use note cards when doing our speeches. She values this because it gives a better appearance in front of an audience and it makes it look like your speech isn’t just being read off a piece of paper. Professor Sadberry rhetorical stance is what makes Paul statement true. She is a great professor and because of her love for the profession and her students will give each person a chance at being successful in future.
Being in the classroom for an hour can sometimes be difficult if the culture in the classroom is not one that is well maintained. It is essentially up to the professor to create and maintain the type of culture they value in their room. You may not realize it, but the culture in the room can be beneficial or damaging to the way we learn. Tiffany Youtchoko (2016) the writer of the article, 7 Powerful Tips for Creating a Culture of Learning in the Classroom, states that “every student deserves the chance to be in a positive learning environment.” In this article, Tiffany also gives many different examples of how one can create a positive culture in the classroom. I believe that my professor has created a very positive culture for this room. Because it is public speaking, we have to get up and speak in front of each other. The rhetoric we use in this situation is Genre. Our first assignment was writing about ourselves. We had to write an essay using one sentence or 6 words that describe ourselves. After we all got to know each other, the culture of the classroom changed for all of us. We now feel more comfortable with each other and not afraid to share our writing and speeches. Professor Sadberry also has us do relaxing exercises that we feel makes us look silly so we can all laugh and feel comfortable. She makes a lot of jokes and knows how to laugh at the simple things to calm us down. The culture is very relaxing and free flowing. Where we are not afraid to make mistakes or be silly. The room is not overly decorated and there is an overhead projector that she use sometimes. In this culture we actually don’t do much classroom writing, because it is public speaking, but we are required to write essays. In this we think about our Genre to decide on the speech we will be writing. The students in the room do not feel pressured or nervous about the writing assignments, just the speech part. But still feel the culture is relaxing. This is a great example of how a classroom should be because you are more likely to want to learn and push yourself when the classroom is positive. The students are happy and so is the teacher and that makes for a happy classroom culture.
In conclusion, my observation of this classroom is that the professor really values the culture that the students are going to be learning in. She also values the students, and how she teaches her class. The classroom culture is one of the best I have experienced because of the professor and the way she makes the students feel while they are in the class. Even though this class does not do much writing, Professor Sadberry values the writing in the class and feel that it is still very important to public speaking. I feel that her techniques will essentially make for a excellent learning environment and successful students.
Appleby, D. (1994). How to Improve Your Teaching with Course Syllubus,
Gruenert, S. (2008). School Culture, They are Not the Same Things, Page 58.
Kuehn Richard, P. (2017) Responsiblity of a Teacher: Developing Moral Values of Students
Porter, J. (2013). Rhetorical Devices: Index cards for Speech Writers http://www.jrmyprtr.com/rhetorical-devices-index-cards-speechwriters/
Youtchoko, T (2016) 7 Powerful Tips for Creating a Culture of Learning in the Classroom
Q1. What is your major?
A. Communications 225
Q2. What kind of values do you feel you implement on the class?
A. writing in this class is practical and you will be able to use it working with people and through people to get the job done.
Q3.How do you feel about writing?
A. Something creative that she does always have writing because its hand and hand with speaking skills
Q4. How would you compare your writing to an English class?
A. Not as much emphasis on punctuation, college level writing and not big on grammar.
Q5. Have you written any books?
A. A master thesis, was a ghost writer for 4 different doctors for books they wrote. Was director of Public relations and editor of Arizona Society of CPA (Certified public account)
Q1. What is your major?
Q2.How do you feel about writing in this class?
A. I like writing in general. I use it to write stories all the time.
Q3. What do you feel about the culture in the class?
A. Loves the energy of the class
Q4. What do you think of the teacher values?
A. I like them because she values people as individuals, not just as classroom people.
A. Writing helps you prepare for speech. Its necessary
A. Not great, Has gotten better as the semester has gone on.
A. She is a genius.
A. Writing in this class is almost nonexistent. But when it is I enjoy it
A. I like the culture. We have very interesting people in the class.
A. She is the best teacher I have had. I just left highschool and I was concerned my teacher would be overly serious.
A. Health (fitness instructor)
A. I hate writing but in this class its not bad because we are only writing for speeches.
A. I dont know what culture means. I guess its ok
A. I really enjoy her laugh. I look forward to her class