My goal for this post is to discuss appropriate ways to address globalization in the writing classroom. On the surface, it may seem like only small pieces of globalization enter our classroom walls–via students from other countries, electronic devices that were outsourced to other countries, and perhaps the occasional student paper on NAFTA or the psychological implications of social media. But if our mission as college writing instructors is to help our students gain the tools they need to actively participate in their future discourse communities, then we need to tackle globalization–right along with technology and media literacy–head on in the classroom. Continue reading social-objective-driven global communication
I turn thirty tomorrow. This past week, the last week of my twenties, I’ve thought a lot about the most important elements of my life: spending time in the mountains, rock climbing and mountain biking with friends, striving for an environmentally-conscious lifestyle, encouraging college freshman to think critically about their choices and their impact, creating lesson plans that help students understand language as an agency for social change and, well, playing with my dog. This list of activities involves a wide range of discourse communities–when I explain social-epistemic rhetoric to my climbing partners, for instance, it sounds a lot different than when I discuss it over spring rolls with my colleagues. But throughout the week, floating from one discourse community to another, I find comfort in the similarities and connections between these communities. The conversations that I have with my climbing partners about environmental issues often share the same content as the conversations I have with my friends, but the genre I choose for the discourse is usually different. With my climbing partners, the genre is usually an informal, but perhaps passionate, discussion-over-beer, and with my students the genre usually takes the shape of an argumentative essay, or perhaps a prospectus and annotated bibliography. Continue reading Social Media Application in the Writing Classroom
In my last post I proposed that we try to step away from the grading (and perceived value) of Standard English in our classrooms. This poses many concerns in the writing classroom, including the question: what on earth do we teach in English writing classes if not Standard English? My proposition is that we teach the inclusion of all voices and backgrounds, as well as a general acceptance and respect for diversity. And if that doesn’t sound academic enough, then how about this: an understanding of genre and discourse communities coupled with critical reading, writing and visual literacy skills.
I have to admit, I’m surprised at myself for proposing the teaching of genre as a solution to oppression and discrimination in the classroom. Continue reading Teaching Genre, Accepting all Voices
Dear Writing Instructors: this post is for anyone who is concerned with including, and engaging, all students in the discourse community of the classroom and the university. In other words, this blog is for anyone who is interested in changing the paradigm in the classroom of “teacher knows all” and “in order to succeed you must assimilate to the standards of higher education and the middle class.” My goal is to explain what discourse communities are, and to explain why I believe teaching this generation of college students that they must become strict, and standardized, in their communication in order to succeed in academia is unethical. Continuing to promote standard English as the “smartest” and “best” language privileges those students who were raised with it at home, and marginalizes those who were raised without it. And if that’s not enough of a reason to try and shift the paradigm of who is considered smart, and who is considered not as smart, in the University then here is another argument: teaching grammar over content stifles students’ creativity. Continue reading Discourse Communities Unite!
Hello! Welcome to my first post! The theme of this blog is social and political ideology in college-level writing and composition classrooms. Over the next few weeks, I hope to address concerns and fears about bringing ideology into writing curriculum and lesson plans. My teaching philosophy is rooted in Critical Pedagogy and social-epistemic rhetoric, and throughout these posts I’d love to hear more about the teaching philosophies you subscribe to, and how the ideas I present either relate (or challenge) your ideas on the subject. In this post, I will be looking closely at identity, particularly the identity of the instructor, in the writing classroom.
I sat down to dinner at Flagstaff’s newest vegetarian restaurant last week with two of my colleagues from Northern Arizona University’s English Department. One of them is a volunteer with NAU’s LBGQTIA Organization, and I intended to interview her about the Organization’s communication. I was particularly interested in learning about the constraints and myths faced by the group while promoting events on campus. During most of the interview the other colleague at the table quietly ate her spring rolls and listened. Nearing the end of dinner, however, she unintentionally changed the topic of the interview to what I now believe is a much more pressing issue: the communication of identity in the classroom.