NOTHING FANCY THIS WEEK.
Use this space to post this week's reading response. No worries if you arrive to class and haven't posted. I didn't make this space available until today.
Interestingly, many of us wrote about the ways the idea of audience is a pretty false one in the writing classroom. That's perhaps the most benign way we can describe it. Villanueva and others suggest that the imagined audience, in the hands of writers uninitiated in the dominant dialect, can be oppressive.
But presenting to a real audience has powerful effects on students. Research in undergraduate research as a high-impact practice (a HIP), indicates that presenting to an audience other than your teacher can have some of the most powerfully positive learning outcomes for students--and can impact their lives beyond the classroom.
So for today's in-class writing, sketch out a possible writing experience for the classroom with a real not imagined audience. Let's do this in the magical world of having no principal or parent or school board to report to. Sure there are assignments where you write a local school official or a letter to an editor, but we all know who you are really writing to--your teacher. So let's pull out all the stops. Let's consider the night's reading about audience perils and imagine something that challenges the downside to audience. No rules and no wrong answers. Just good clean fun.
Once you've posted, take some time to read what your classmates had to say and then we can talk about it as a group.
This week, the readings are split between how writing creates audiences and writers and how writers and audiences create writing. Complicated as that idea is to begin with, the act of imagining audiences and ourselves as writer is. complicated by the myriad forces that influence those acts of creation.
As you post your reading response this week, react to and critique the idea of "audience" and the role it plays in the creation of text, and, to think of it another way, the creation of writers (or at least the writer's sense of who they are as they are writing--their identity). The different scholars this week, (Ede & Lunsford, Moffatt, Elbow, the various scholars in Threshold Concepts , and Villanueva) give us plenty to think about, ideas that expand, complicate, muddle, and develop the roles of readers and writers in relationship to text production.
We've spent most of the semester so far talking about what I identify as the single most defining aspect of pedagogy in a writing classroom: how we assess a student's writing, how we talk to them about that assessment, and what it means in terms of how a class is structured.
And I do believe that once you've worked through how you will assess students things like invention and revision--how you do them, why you do them, when you do them, how you count activities related to them--fall into place. But that also doesn't mean that there is only one way to do them.
For this in-class writing, talk about either a revision strategy or an invention strategy that you've used, thought about using, or experienced as a student that you felt was really useful. If you can, connect it to some of what you thought/wrote about for this week's readings on revision and invention.
Once you've posted your ideas, take some time to read the ideas of others. Be ready to have a conversation about the role of revision and invention play in composition.
OVERVIEW: Part of what Writing Studies Pedagogy is always interested in, regardless of what angle they come at it from, is helping students to develop strong habits as writers. This is very difficult. The classroom discourages authentic engagement in this work. The job of the classroom is to prepare students to be able to write without a teacher forcing them to do it (Peter Elbow wrote a whole book called, in fact Writing Without Teachers) in a space where they are forced to write by teachers.
Thus, invention and revision, two parts of the writing process that should be self-directed, are frequently only ever teacher-focused and teacher-driven. But, the idea is, if we as teachers of writing craft invention and revision in ways that students see as valuable, they will, with some effort and a lot of time-on-task, transfer these skills to other classes, other occasions for writing beyond the classroom. This is the idea behind threshold concepts. I think that, certainly, we can all recall the moment when we realized that, like it or not, good writing happens in revision in particular.
WHAT TO POST: The readings this week consider the history and practice of both invention and revision in Composition Pedagogy. In your reading response, you may elect to focus on one or the other or both. Consider how one or both of these skills are taught such that students of writing actually move past that threshold and adopt skills that make them stronger writers--you are welcome to talk about the possibilities and impossibilities that are suggested by the readings.
Thinking ahead to your ethnography/case study
Hello to you All--
I've gotten a few nervous texts about what to post for this week, so I'm addressing that here. This week, I've included in the reading for the week selections from Battacharya's guide to conducting qualitative research. As I said in class, I'm not asking you to read this with the care that you might read other material for our class. I've included this reading so that folks have something to support their work on the upcoming ethnography/case study assignment. I don't know how familiar you all are with this kind of research, and Battacharya offers a good overview and both practical and theoretical guidance.
WHAT TO POST: This is not a super formal post. I'm asking you to think and write about what you might do for the ethnography/case study assignment. As you write about, you can include what you feel like you are learning about how to do this work from the reading. You can also ask me questions. I can collect those questions and answer them in class when we meet on the 15th (provided you post with enough time before class for me to do that).
Your post doesn't need to be long and shouldn't be more than 300 words max. You don't have to know for sure what you are going to do. You can have a few ideas. When useful, I can give some feedback to you in this space and in class to help you to do your best work.
YOU AREN'T REQUIRED TO RESPOND TO YOUR CLASSMATES: But if you have a suggestion that might help a classmate, why not respond?
Hope this helps you to focus your response in productive ways.
We just can't get away from Comp/Rhet history. This week we read about Basic Writing, an overview and a critically important introduction from the remarkable Mina Shaughnessy from her text Errors & Expectations.
BASIC WRITING & MINA SHAUGHNESSY
Shaughnessy was a part of the movement at City University of New York that, in the years following open admissions, when new kinds of students (newly immigrated, working class and working poor, women, people of. color, adult learners, multilingual readers and writers) flooded the US college and university landscape.
While Shaughnessy has been critiqued, sometimes unfairly, for her focus on error, her humanity and humane approach that welcomed students into the classroom and made the effort to invite them into the wider literate world is never in question.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY "DEFICIT THINKING"
One of our earliest conversations in our class was about the ways we talk about writing and writers is bound by deficit thinking--in other words, the persistent belief, that has existed for seemingly ever in the US education landscape as traced by "why Johnny Can't" articles and the articles it spawned and continues to spawn, that students are bad writers rather than embracing the idea that writing is simply hard, takes time, requires reasons to do it, that "good writing" is, in many ways, a highly subjective idea.
And, of course, if we think about "bad student writers" it precipitates a whole bunch of assumptions: the student isn't very smart; they aren't trying; they don't pay attention; they don't care, etc.
WHAT TO POST: For this post, as the syllabus said I would ask: How do the theories, practices, ideologies that inform Basic Writing speak to the idea of deficit thinking about student writers. In what ways does Basic Writing champion student writers? In what ways does it potentially diminish their learning experience?
Post your response to this question. Take time to read the posts of your colleagues. Be prepared to discuss what you notice in our class discussion when we talk as a full class.