In honor of Tim Clydesdale’s visit to campus today, I encourage you to read his 2009 article “Wake Up and Smell the New Epistemology.” To students’ skeptical question of “So What?” he advises to respond by modeling our own intellectual journeys and respecting students’ own path of discovery.
“We need to teach as if our students were colleagues from another department. That means determining what our colleagues may already know, building from that shared knowledge, adapting pre-existing analytic skills, then connecting those fledgling skills and knowledge to a deeper understanding of the discipline we love. In other words, we need to approach our classrooms as public intellectuals eager to share our insights graciously with a wide audience of fellow citizens.”
Janine Utell reminds us that “deep listening is critical thinking. Being conscious of listening, processing, and synthesizing what others are saying gives you a chance to reflect, make connections, retain information, and refine judgments.” Read more in her recent Chronicle article “Slowing Down: 6 Strategies for Deep Listening.”
Are you taking students to a first academic conference? Check out this Presentation Guide assembled for an upcoming conference in peer tutoring that gives the nuts and bolts of what to expect at a first conference presentation.
Thanks to Hannah Schell for sharing this article on “The Secret of Good Humanities Teaching.” Focusing on the value of rereading, it suggests that (from a former student’s point of view) his best professors “took texts that seemed complicated, made them look simple, and then made them complex again.”
Ben Yagoda offers advice on omitting the “superfluous, marginal, repetitive, tangential, and/or boring” from your writing, with inspiration from Strunk & White and John McPhee, in his article “In Search of Needless Words.”
In a recent paper on first-year reading and writing instruction, Meghan A. Sweeney and Maureen McBride use Mariolina Salvatori’s difficulty paper (similar to Peter Elbow’s text wrestling) to understand the disconnections students experience between writing instruction and assigned readings. “By learning to identify, explore, and resolve their difficulties,” they write, “Salvatori and Donahue propose that students are able to move into a more critical engagement with the texts and develop their understanding of reading and the content at the same time, or what many would refer to as metacognitive reading awareness” (592-93).
But, by reading texts rhetorically and critically, students also notice a disjunct between the “rules” they are held to as writers and the texts they engage–a “mismatch between the expectations of reader and writer” (595). For instance, students may be frustrated by readings that lack an easily identifiable thesis statement, topic sentences, transitions, chronological organization, clarity of language, and a works cited page.
To address this mismatch, the authors suggest that students “need to be told when the reading is not meant to act the same as their own writing and instead is designed to extend their critical or rhetorical reading practices” (608), whether it would be a model of a genre, a logical fallacy, a strategy to establish ethos, etc. In short, if an assigned reading doesn’t match what you want students to do as writers, explain why you want them to read it, and how they should engage it as both readers and writers.
Sweeney, Meghan A. and Maureen McBride. “Difficulty Paper (Dis)connections: Understanding the Threads Students Weave between Their Reading and Writing.” CCC 66:4 (June 2015).
Looking for some first-week-of-classes inspiration about teaching and learning? Check out My Teaching Notebook, a series of videos by Anthropologist Michael Wesch.
Are you assigning a group paper this semester? If so, check out this Short Guide to Collaborative Writing.
For further reading, you might also check out the University of Connecticut’s Collaborative Writing Resources Page, Kathleen M. Hunzer’s edited collection Collaborative Learning and Writing, or Texas A&M’s resources on Collaborative Writing, Group Roles, and Designing Collaborative Writing/Speaking Assignments.
How can you achieve those summer writing goals? Check out this advice from Joli Jensen.