Hello Folks, on the syllabus, I am asking you to post a short reflection--not your usual length, maybe just 100-200 words--about one of the articles you are reading for the reverse annotated bibliography project.
If I could make a suggestion, if you post a sample annotation, I can go in and give you feedback on how successful it is. That's not a requirement. It's an offer of feedback now. The point of this second post this week is to nudge you towards getting the work done at a reasonable pace rather than having to do everything all at once.
The reflection that I'm asking you to write should help you to write your final reflective piece tied to the annotations. But writing the annotations, a skill and art in and of itself, takes some doing to. So if you want and have the time, you are welcome to use this space to practice and get feedback, but, again, you don't have to.
OVERVIEW: I don't know a single person in a classroom--student or teacher--who doesn't feel that it all comes down to the assessment. For most students, that's a negative, but, as Inoue argues, it most certainly doesn't have to be that way. And, in his plea in Chapter Five to commit to antiracist writing assessment, he tells us exactly what is at stake.
And so here we are, talking about writing assessment again this week. Clark's chapter, pretty clear cut, she says and does talk about assessment and trends in the field. What Adler-Kassner & Wardle do is a little different. We haven't really talked that much about their project--these threshold concepts--but it's a pretty cool idea that, if we really allow it to inform our practice, in a way that syncs with Inoue, we really have to start to think about what we are really asking our students--or any writer at any stage of proficiency--to learn when we are helping them to become better writers.
DETAILS: I'm asking something a little different this week. I would like for you to take an experience--either as a writer, a student, or a teacher--and deconstruct it in light of what you are reading. I've talked extensively about how Inoue changed how I was teaching. It's not that I wasn't doing a lot of the same things that I do now, but I was not telling students how I was doing it and that led to mystery and confusion. I was not being explicit about how I was valuing their labor so they didn't know that this is what I most wanted them to commit to any project. It's not that this is foolproof, but it's made a difference in student commitment to the work and engagement in the class.
As you write, of course, speak directly to what the reading this week helps you to understand about your practice of assessment that you are talking about here--either as someone doing the assessing or someone being assessed.
RESPOND TO A CLASSMATE: Select one (or more if so moved) of your classmates to respond to. What is your take on their assessment story? Would you suggest a different way of looking at it from how they are looking at it? I know you all well enough to know that I don't need to say the "oh, yeah, I totally agree," sentence is not as useful as it might seem. But, see what I did there? I said it anyway.
OVERVIEW: For our asynchronous meeting, I asked all of you to read the introduction to Asao Inoue's ground-breaking book Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future.
There are any number of words in the the title alone worth discussing because they are words that come up in wide-ranging discussions, both public and scholarly, that are intensely relevant to the world we live in. Assessment is a topic that we all, as teachers, know--and sometimes dread--though the depth and breadth of how we understand it can be limited and limiting. Social Justice is a phrase too casually thrown around these days without much interrogation of what social justice looks like in the constituent community affecting it and affected by it (BSU is certainly guilty of this). And, finally, antiracist is a term coming into vogue at this particular cultural and historical moment: to be antiracist implies not just not being racist, but being actively engaged in fighting the effects of systemic racism and white privilege.
Inoue brings these ideas all together, forces working in a classroom--thus, his term, ecologies.
POST: We started the semester exploring early contexts for the field of Writing Studies--where and how it started in the US university. This week we are jumping to now, to see where the field has ended up. There are many ways to do that, but I chose Inoue because a) his profound effect on my own teaching and thinking about assessment, and b) because I think he speaks to the best the field can contribute to the wider world. To do this work, I would like us to dissect this important piece of award-winning scholarship from the field as a class. For this week's post, please do the following in your Reading Response:
1. Include the briefest of summaries of the introduction to Antiracist. This is the text we all read, so don't feel like you need to explain the chapter so much as indicate what you, as a reader, writer, student, teacher, understand Inoue's argument to be here.
2. Using the list included in this week's update, provide a bit more complete summary of the chapter you were assigned to read for this week.
3. Try to identify what parts of the introduction your chapter makes feel more complete and realized, more understood.
See the Monday Update for what chapter you need to read. You'll be reading in small groups of 2 or 3 so you don't need to feel like if you get it wrong you'll be ruining Christmas or anything.
IN-CLASS on Wednesday: I will ask you to connect what you read about in your chapter to at least one other person in our class who read a DIFFERENT chapter. I tell you this here just to prepare you for that work.
For our first asynchronous post, consider our reading for this week on the foundations of first year writing. As you might be able to tell, these first few weeks of class have been about historicizing the single class, first year writing, that embodies what the field of Writing and Writing Studies--Composition & Rhetoric--values, both in terms of scholarship and theory as well as teaching and practice.
WHAT TO POST ABOUT
Thinking about this week's reading in relationship to what we read/talked about last week in terms of process writing and the sea-change that open admissions meant for what a college student looked like in the university, as well as your own experience as either a K-12 teacher or K-12 student, consider these three things:
1) In what ways is a first year writing class/experience in a university a "good?" An asset, a value? In what ways is a first year writing experience problematic?
2) What is the connection/disconnection between what happens in first year writing and ELA curriculum at the K-12 level? What is to be done about it?
3) What does learning about the history and practice of first year writing say to you right at this moment about what Rhetoric and Composition cares about as a field?
WHAT TO RESPOND TO IN YOUR CLASSMATE'S POST
You can focus on one of these points in your initial post. HOWEVER, respond to a classmate posting about one of the above three questions that you DIDN'T post about originally--or didn't post about originally in depth.
Reader Responses should run 300 words for your original post; your response to your colleagues should be no more than that as well, and probably run somewhere around 150-200 words.
HOW TO POST
This week, we are reading about one of the most significant theories in Composition--significant in the sense that process pedagogy marked a sea-change in how writing should be taught and what the goal of why we teach writing and the kinds of writing we teach. You may read this material and think that this is how it always was; however, as we will discuss in class, what will become clear, is that this is hardly the case.
As you post your 300 word Reading Response for this week, react to and summarize the reading for the week. As you do so, consider how the discussion/reading from last week "Why Johnny Can't Write" connects to/argues against what Process pedagogy argues. Include that thinking in your 300 words.
For our first class, I've asked you to read this 1975 article from Newsweek, "Why Johnny Can't Write." If that title seems familiar to you, it is because, since that appearance, the trope of "why Johnny can't" (or Jane or American Students, etc) do whatever (read, write, code, do algebra, etc) has persisted in education.
I would like to use this article to frame our discussions this semester. For that to happen, I think it's important to consider what the article is actually saying:
torda & the 513s
Post to this space no later than 15 minutes before class when we meet synchronously; post by midnight on the day of class when we meet asynchronously (that includes both your post and your response to your colleagues).