Revolution Lullabye

May 25, 2011

Mathison, Making Rhetoric Explicit

Mathison, Maureen “Making rhetoric explicit: Demystifying disciplinary discourse for transfer students .” In Galin, Jeffrey R.; Carol Peterson Johnson; J. Paul Haviland (Eds.), Teaching/writing in the late age of print; Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press, 2003. 53-62.

Transfer students often have a difficult time negotiating both the writing expectations at four-year schools and the different disciplinary and institutional discourses they confront at their new university. Mathison describes a course , “Ways of Knowing in a University Setting,” which was designed to help students explicitly learn about the reading and writing expectations they would encounter in their courses. The course used texts from rhetoric and composition that researched how students write in various disciplinary communities and rhetorical conventions.  The course assignments asked the students to reflect on their own practices as writers and how they understand the thinking, reading, writing, and researching in their other courses.

Notes and Quotes

It is important to let students know that the academic realm is not separate from our personal and private lives: “I had reminded students that all academic contributions are personal – they come from our questions, our knowledge, our creativity, and our labor.” (59) this is not to say that students don’t need to be taught to present their claims rhetorically – not all personal opinions.

February 8, 2009

Julier, Community Service Pedagogy

Julier, Laura. “Community Service Pedagogy.” 132-148.

Community service pedagogy (or service learning) became a cross-disciplinary higher education reform movement in the 1980s and was embraced by some compositionists because it answered many of the needs instructors found in their first-year composition classrooms: it gave students a real audience to write for; it increased students’ motivation; it allowed students to work with a variety of discourses, genres, and rhetorics; it encouraged context-driven writing; it had close connections with critical pedagogy and cultural studies; and it brought writing back to its civil, public rhetorical roots. Service learning in composition can take several forms: writing about the community, writing for the community, and writing with the community. Writing courses that incorporate service learning should have students think, discuss, and write critically about the power dynamics inherent in service projects.

Quotable Quotes

A problem with service learning: “The rhetoric of sending stduents ‘out’ into ‘the’ community may, in some settings and course designs, confirm for students an insider-outsider understanding of academic purposes, and replicate condescending models of charity and missionary work that do more to undermine than to advance the goals of multicultural education and social transformation” (142).

Notable Notes

service learning is not located in any one discipline; it is seen as a reform movement in higher ed that seeks to transform the cultures and mission of higher education.

service learning in composition has just recently been more theorized; much of the earlier scholarship told narratives of other peoples’ success stories with it.

service learning has a legitimacy problem. Scholars who devote time to service projects sometimes get docked on tenure and promotion; often it is not seen as an area of research because it is so multidisciplinary and cross-cultural in its appraoach.

Zlotkowski; Adler-Kassner; Crooks; Watters; Stotsky, Connecting Civic Education and Language Education; Jacoby et al; Waterman; de Acosta; Greco; Anson; Cooper; Rosemary Area; Linda Flower (Carnegie Mellon)

negotiate the educational project of service learning with the needs and wishes of the community organization.

importance of having students reflect on their service experience.

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