To my #WritingTheory students,
This has been a rough couple of days. I woke up yesterday morning and tweeted:
Slept 2 hrs. My 1st act of love & creative imagination 2day: starting my kids day off w/courage, honesty & belief in goodness. Deep breath.
— Mia Zamora (@MiaZamoraPhD) November 9, 2016
The same sentiment that I uphold for my parenting efforts holds true for my efforts as an educator. As writers, educators, educators-in-training, …as co-learners, I pause to connect with you in our weekly blog fashion, but this time it can’t be just business as usual. I think we can recognize that there is so much work to be done as we face the dawning of a changed world, a new political era. I am hatching plans and keeping the faith in our common love for learning. As we move forward, I have decided to devote my Digital Media & Learning blog to my perspectives as an educator (in the midst of the immanent Trump presidency) as we all finish up this tumultous year of 2016. I will certainly share/tweet my writing from that locale with all of you. But I wanted to address you all here on our public class website as well, so that you all know that I am thinking of you and so many others. I am determined to keep our writing community a thriving place of intellectual exchange as we continue to imagine better futures.
Thank you to Sara for our last class, and for designing a thorough and thoughtful discussion of “Teaching Writing in the Multilingual World” by Paul Kei Matsuda and “Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts“ by Will Richardson. These two timely readings effectively highlight the ways in which writing has evolved in the 21st century. Both technology and globalism play a major role in the way we think about (and teach others) how to write. What does it mean to write in a networked world, and in what ways do/should those new affordances transform our writing pedagogy? Sara was able to enhance the nature of our discussion by incorporating a digital tool (nearpod.com) into her presentation. By prompting us with reflective questions to contribute to her live slide show, we were able to see the results of our collective responses in visualized and survey style form. This helped us catch a snapshot of our concerns/perspectives on key issues regarding technology in the classroom. It was certainly an effective way to highlight our collaborative thinking about the use of technology – and served as a useful example of when tech is at its best.
What kinds of cultural understanding should be required of writing teachers in the 21st century? In an ELL context, are writing studies first and foremost about language acquisition? Or is there a more nuanced understanding of what writing can (and should) mean to multi-lingual writers? A lack of linguistic knowledge is indeed an alienating experience. What remains is a feeling of pervasive discomfort (as we discussed by sharing our personal experiences with the struggle of language acquisition as learners). I am glad we started our discussion with the psychic truth of ELL experience firmly established. For any academic consideration of these issues (through theory) should always be rooted in a compassionate understanding of that inherent struggle. As Sara pointed out, the issue of multiple literacies plays an important part in starting to address these questions of writing pedagogy. As we have read in Matsuda’s article, Writing Centers, tutors, first year Comp programs often create learning environments where the ELL student is an afterthought. There is little preparation and even less effective policy that truly supports this vast population of learners. This truth despite the dramatic diversity of our local context. Our NJ could very well be more multilingual that the UN (or at least on par). And still, we have little in place to support this multi-linguistic reality in our shared learning contexts.
What is up for next week?
Hailey will lead us through the two next readings: “Bi, Butch, and Bar Dyke: Pedagogical Performances of Class, Gender, and Sexuality“ by Michelle Gibson, Matha Marinara, and Deborah Meem; & “Looking Back as We Look Forward: Historicizing Writing Assessment” by Kathleen Yancey. Please read these text and blog your reflection on them for next week’s class.
In addition, your first draft of your “Why I Write” contribution to the final collaborative project is due next class period. You should have a draft copy ready for some forthcoming peer review work. In the second half of class next week we will co-design a peer review protocol together, and get started with that work.
Looking forward to seeing you next week. Keep the faith in the significance of the work we do together.