posted: 11.24.14 by Susan Naomi Bernstein
Guest blogger Abby Nance has an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University and is an instructor at Gardner-Webb University. This is her seventh year teaching in the first year writing program. Her research explores the relationship between trauma and writing in the college classroom.
Last year at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, I spoke about the role of trauma in the writing lives of first-year college students. Whenever I talk about trauma, toxic stress, or mental health with other writing instructors, I feel deeply aware of my own students and the stories of abuse, neglect, violence, and anxiety that they hint at or explore outright in their own writing. If statistics can provide a baseline or a map, then many of our students are entering our classrooms with histories of trauma. [read more]
posted: 11.20.14 by Andrea Lunsford
For thirty-plus years now, Lisa Ede and I (and others) have been resisting the notion that writing is a solo activity, rather insisting that writing is essentially collaborative, even when a writer is sitting alone staring at a screen or paper. Opposition to this notion was fierce, and nowhere more so than in the humanities where the image of the solitary writer struggling to create something new under the sun was held sacrosanct. Collaboration was suspect, sure to be “watered down” or “not real writing.” [read more]
posted: 11.19.14 by Barclay Barrios
Nick Marino, our gest blogger for this week, is a first year student in the MA program at Florida Atlantic University, specializing in 20th century British Literature. He lives with his cat in South Florida, a place he finds oddly inspiring.
I’m with Nick on this meditation about the use of personal technology in the classroom, even through Richard Restak’s “Attention Deficit: The Brain Syndrome of Our Era” argues rather persuasively that multitasking is a myth. In the classes I teach, I encourage “responsible” use of technology like smart phones: pull it out to bring up a reading, research the author on the internet, check your calendar, or even log in to Blackboard. Need to answer that text or call? No problem. Discretely step outside. I’m always a bit amazed that students find even this rather liberal policy challenging, texting in class anyway. Maybe Nick’s thoughts can offer me some new directions.
What do you think? [read more]
posted: 11.18.14 by Traci Gardner
I have been working to make the assignments in my technical writing class tie more closely to tasks students will do in the field. Their range of experiences complicates my goal however. Some have extensive experience, having worked in summer jobs and internships, while others know only their field from the classroom.
Two of the assignments I added this summer have seemed successful regardless of the experience students have. The professional biography assignment and the classification and analysis project allowed them to talk about their field and their experiences in positive ways, but had room for them to research aspects they were unsure of. I wanted to rethink the assignments I was using for definition, description, and instructions to work in the same way. [read more]
posted: 11.17.14 by Andrea Lunsford
Guest blogger Jeanne Law Bohannon is an Assistant Professor in the Digital Writing and Media Arts (DWMA) Department at Southern Polytechnic State University. She believes in creating democratic learning spaces, where students become accountable for their own growth though authentic engagement in class communities. Her research interests include evaluating digital literacies, critical pedagogies, and New Media theory; performing feminist rhetorical recoveries; and growing student scholars. Reach Jeanne at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many of my students are gamers. They define themselves by the characters they embody in RPGs (role-playing games), by the interactions between characters who are also their peers, and by their own “mad” gaming skills. Accordingly, the amount of time they spend in digital gaming spaces outdistances the time they spend studying. Students often hyper-identify with these digital spaces, so I asked myself if I was missing an opportunity to reach out to them in their e-world and use their embodied identities as rhetorical learning tools in the p-world (physical world). In an effort to meet students where they reside, I developed a multimodal assignment that asks them to choose, play, and analyze their favorite game; record themselves doing so; upload their videos to YouTube; and present their findings to their course mates. [read more]
posted: 11.17.14 by Elizabeth Losh and Jonathan Alexander
Many campuses now have general education requirements that require students to take courses that incorporate sensitivity training designed to reduce incidents of racism or sexism on campus. The problem with these courses is that they may often be too short in duration, too large in enrollment, or too superficial in content to effect real behavioral change, particularly among students imbued with false confidence that they live in a postracial society in which Obama is president, they don’t know any racists, and they can adopt completely color-blind attitudes. [read more]
posted: 11.16.14 by Jack Solomon
My topic this time should be a familiar one to anyone involved in composition instruction: this is the concept of “transfer,” the notion that students should take what they have learned in their composition classes about writing and make full use of it in their subsequent university career, and beyond. Applicable, of course, to all learning in a formal educational setting, transfer is (or at least ought to be) a fundamental concern, and goal, of all educators. [read more]
posted: 11.13.14 by Andrea Lunsford
Some 18 months ago, I spent three weeks lecturing in Beijing. I didn’t want to lecture, but they—quietly and patiently and persistently—insisted. So I delivered ten lectures on rhetoric and writing, most of them to the faculty. But on one occasion, my hosts took me to the large undergraduate campus, and I had a chance to speak to students—an intimidatingly large group that day. I talked about the history of rhetoric as an art of action, and about the power of language in our lives. I knew only a few words of Mandarin, and so I was careful to speak slowly and enunciate my English words as carefully as I could, and I was grateful to the students for listening and for responding, delighted when question after question came my way. After the lecture, I reflected on the fact that while those in the audience were primarily male, the majority of the questions came from young women, a number of whom stayed after the lecture to talk. Indeed, I began to notice some of these young women in the lectures I was giving to faculty, which meant that they had taken a very long bus ride from their campus to attend. So I began looking out for them and eventually met with three who came most often. [read more]
posted: 11.12.14 by Barclay Barrios
This week’s guest blogger has chosen to remain anonymous, for reasons that I think this post makes clear. I’ll admit that it has prompted me to reflect on my own published digital presence. But, more pressingly, it makes me wonder about asking students to blog or write for public audiences. Could there be issues we have not yet addressed in such a practice?
I made two honest attempts at this blog post. But each time I wrote, I found that what I had written could potentially compromise my role as an instructor. What do I mean by that? I mean that in the future, when students Google me, this blog post will probably pop up, and when they read what I have written they will think differently about me. So what’s the harm in that? Well, for one thing, by then I will probably have changed my ideas about what I have written. And for another, whatever information I post online can be tied back to me for a very, very long time. [read more]