Remembering How We Learned to Write

I am still thinking about the early ground we have covered in “Writing Theory & Practice” class, since it lays such an important foundation for our continuing discussion throughout the course of our semester together.

The free writing exercises that asked you to “mine your memory” for how you learned to write yielded very revealing responses.  And in many ways, some shared themes emerged.  Many of you remember linking your early experiments in writing to a sense of the emerging self (i.e. tracing the letters of your name, or early diary entries that helped you reflect on aspects of your young life).  The sense of self discovery that is connected with the act of writing definitely came though in your personal accounts. Writing can be a touchstone for knowing oneself a little bit better.  Some of you also described the feeling of being “boxed in” in school, or being forced into mandatory or standardized approaches, and feeling uninspired as a result.  And these moments were also impactful – leading to an understanding that maybe writing wasn’t something for you.  On the other hand, when we thought more deeply about how you REALLY learned to write, stories of “coming into voice” or empowerment pointed to certain transformation. With those stories, identifying as a capable writer often involved the care of a teacher (or parent) that paid closer attention and employed thoughtful strategies. And sometimes the transformation to a more “writerly self” happened due to certain self-driven interest, and particular individual passion.

Our class slides: 

Remembering your resources

I am glad we took a moment to think about the academic resources at your fingertips. The Kean University Learning Commons (better known as the library) is a treasure trove of support – offering daily workshops, special spaces for writing and studying, and of course a knowledgable staff who are there to guide you on your information and learning quests. Please remember to “lean in” and explore the Learning Commons – in person, and online.

Janice Lauer’s Rhetoric & Composition: An overview of the field

I am glad we started our reading series with Janice Lauer’s overview of the field of Writing Studies, so we could apprehend some of the shifts in emphasis and approach over the years.  Here are the notes that reflect some of the main threads of Lauer’s argument. As we proceed with class and consider strategies for “becoming a writer” – we can also consider the moment we find ourselves in now, and what is at stake in theorizing the art and craft of writing.

Rhetoric and writing are at the heart of how the world is shaped, and in many ways these activities are the critical engine that fuels our perceptions of what is possible.  We must grapple with the fact that rhetoric in civic discourse is now, more than ever, an amplified influence due to new technologies for writing.  And so we must take our analysis beyond just individual concerns (skills and voice) and also consider implications in the social context (power and the shaping of ideologies & systems of thought).

A reminder regarding the preparation for your upcoming presentations:

You to-do list:

  • Blog #3 due before 10/2/23- Please blog your reflection on Valerie’s reading selection for us – the Bean & Sommers readings.

**Please note: Next class will include our first “presentation night” with Valerie taking the lead for us. Remember we will meet in our Zoom Room, and I will be sending you an email with our link before 4:30pm on the day of class. )

See you in October!

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