Week 4: Pitch it to me!
Week 3: Reading vs. Listening
The opinion piece I selected is taken from the New York Times opinion section and is called, “Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It?” (Willingham, 2018). The author, Daniel T. Willingham, is a professor of psychology at the University of Virginia (“| Department of Psychology,” n.d.). He claims that reading and listening both have their places and are equally effective—unless the material is difficult, in which case reading is better. I noticed while reading that that in at least eight different places, the author refers to studies and experiments that appear to prove his point, yet does not cite any of the researchers or the location and scope of the studies.
Though it is an opinion piece—which we know because the author zeroes in on the question of reading vs. writing and presents his take on the matter—that doesn’t exclude him from backing his view with cited factual research. Willingham states that reading and listening yield similar results unless the topic is difficult. According to EdSurge, “until about 2000, [Willingham’s] research focused solely on the brain basis of learning and memory” (“Daniel T. Willingham - Writers,” n.d.). It also states that he wrote the books, “Raising Kids Who Read” and “The Reading Mind.” This tells me that that the author may be biased towards reading as a better method, leading him to imply that listening is not an adequate learning tool when tackling difficult subjects.
Books are normally associated with reading, but the introduction of audiobooks, text-to-speech and other means of getting words off a page and into living sound is just a part of our progression towards a more audiovisual society. This includes accepting that multiple learning styles and methods do exist.
In my podcast episode, I plan to find the studies mentioned in the article and explore the claims presented by the author while discussing my own opinion that reading and listening are never the same in any circumstance and work differently for different people. I believe that the author fails to properly explore counterclaims, such as that auditory learners may actually learn better by listening, even with difficult topics. I’d like to explore the different sides to this issue and come to a more definitive conclusion on the whole debate.
Willingham, D. T. (2018, December 14). Opinion | Is Listening to a Book the Same Thing as Reading It? The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/08/opinion/sunday/audiobooks-reading-cheating-listening.html
Daniel T. Willingham - Writers. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2019, from https://www.edsurge.com/writers/daniel-t-willingham
Department of Psychology. (n.d.). Retrieved January 25, 2019, from http://psychology.as.virginia.edu/people/profile/dbw8m
Week 2: Flames of Opinion
Opinions are a part of life for everyone. Answers to questions like, “How did you like our service?” “Do you find that attractive?” lead to discussions about how we feel about these and other things throughout the day. We give opinions on everything from how good something tastes to how effective the leadership of our country is, but much what we say could be classified as blowing hot air because it isn’t based on facts, but rather our own feelings and personal biases.
Merriam-Webster (2019) defines opinion as “a belief stronger than impression and less strong than positive knowledge.”
I find this definition interesting because it provides a little more insight than, perhaps, other definitions do into what an opinion really is. I imagine impressions as tiny sparks that grow into flames of opinion. Most of our opinions are usually unfounded, but with research and analysis we might be able to prove or disprove their validity. Fanning or dousing the flames, if you will.
When I meet someone new, I get an impression about them right away, but I’d need a bit more time and experience with that person to form an opinion. Until people tell me facts about themselves, that opinion is up for debate. The knowledge I gain about them will either validate my opinion, or make it moot. Without the facts, my opinion would just be a belief I cling to without real proof that it is right.
Opinions aren’t usually founded on anything concrete or substantial. We go out into the world, see people, places and situations, and then we decide how we feel about all these things without doing much speculation about facts. It could be argued that all the facts we recognized today are truly matters of opinion and we just haven’t realized it yet. All the bit of knowledge that seem indisputable now could be disproven in the future by anyone with enough time and resources to discover a counterargument for each one. There was a time when it was believed as fact that the world was flat. We’ve since learned that it is round.
Or is it?
Opinion. (2019). In Merriam-Webster. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opinion
Week One: Hiya!
Hey everyone, my name is Kim-Lee and I’m 24. I took Accounting in college, then took a break from school to get work experience and explore various fields. Now, I’m in my 1st year of English and Professional Writing and I want to go into public relations and editorial work. I wrote my first short story when I was 10, published a novel when I was 17 and have been freelancing as an editor since 2011. When I’m not writing, I spend a good chunk of my time watching cringe-worthy YouTube videos and looking at Instagram tutorials. I asked a friend to describe me in a word once and she said, “wanderlust.” She wasn’t wrong—I tend to float between places, people, perspectives, and so on, but the one thread that holds all my feelings and faces together is writing.
So, having a podcast project definitely took me by surprise, but in a good way. I’ve dabbled with the idea of doing a podcast before, but usually wandered off and found something else to do (listening to your own voice is mortifying) so I’m totally up for the challenge of not hiding behind words anymore and bringing my voice into things. One tip I love to share with other students is this: if you’re feeling stuck and don’t have a clue what to put down, just free write. Grab a blank sheet of paper and write any old thing. Doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you are writing. Do that for 5-10 minutes and then take a break and go through all your recommended reading and other sources for your topic material. Come back to your random free write and pick something sensible out of the mess that you can use to start your actual assignment. I know it sounds weird as heck, but it works. Mix random creativity with organized research. The goal is to get out of the rut and get your brain juices flowing!