Pick one of the following prompts and write a paragraph response to it (here, on the blog, under this post).
1. In “The Discovery of What it Means to be an American,” James Baldwin mentions the “hidden laws” that govern all communities. It occurs to me that our class at City Tech constitutes a unique community with its own laws—hidden and not. It’s still the beginning of the semester and we are in the process of figuring out what these “laws” are—and, more broadly, what the “community” of our class should be like in order to maximize learning.
Respond below with a description or a list containing descriptions of what you want the “learning community” of our class to be like. You can (but don’t have to) respond to any of these questions: What will help you learn in this class? What might prevent you from learning? What are the “hidden laws” of City Tech? Are there any “laws” or rules that you think we should uphold in our in-class community? Be honest!
2. Baldwin’s essay “The Discover of What it Means to be an American” leads us into an “educational experience” he has after he moves to Europe. This experience leads him to a more complicated understanding of what the word “American” means (and doesn’t mean). Write about Baldwin’s new understanding of what it means to be an American—and, perhaps more specifically—how living in Europe alters his sense of race and class. You might also write about an educational experience you had while traveling to (or living in) a different place: how did this experience change your perception of the two places—the one you began in and the one you traveled to?
Read James Baldwin, “The Discovery of What it Means to Be an American” (pp. 7-10 in Language packet). Come in prepared to discuss your thoughts on the form/style/craft of one sentence as well as 5 helpful vocabulary words.
Write a response to the below prompt (on your personal history of your relation to language):
Etel Adnan, “To Write in a Foreign Language”
Re-read excerpts: p. 1—”I was born in Beirut…”—through p. 3—”…French as a commercial language
–What “educational experiences’ do we notice?
–How is the influence of colonization on language registered in this essay?
–To what extent and in what ways might we think of English a “colonial” language?
–What do we make of Adnan’s interest in “copying” the language of other Arabic writers? Is “copying” a viable way to learn? Why/not? In what ways?
Writing Prompt / Freewrite
Begin making an outline (a list) of a 5-10-step history of your own relation to language(s). Make a list of the experiences whereby your relationship to language—English and/or others—has evolved in some way.
1. Find another sentence you love (or hate)—in Naylor’s text, Adnan’s text, or elsewhere (anywhere: TV script, rap lyrics, etc.)—and come in with it written down and ready to talk about why you love (or hate) it as well as how it works (or fails) as a grammatical sentence.
2. Bring in five written down definitions of new words you like or were not familiar with in Naylor’s or Adnan’s text. Also write a sentence for each word that shows its meaning.
3. Finish Reading Etel Adnan’s “To Write in a Foreign Language” in the Language packet, especially pages 2, 5-6.
1. Find a sentence you love (or hate)—in Naylor’s text or elsewhere (anywhere: TV script, rap lyrics, etc.)—and come in with it written down and ready to talk about why you love (or hate) it as well as how it works (or fails) as a grammatical sentence.
2. Bring in five written down definitions of words you like it or were not familiar with in Naylor’s text. Also write a sentence for each word that shows its meaning.
3. Read Etel Adnan’s Oh “To Write in a Foreign Language” in the Language packet, especially pages 2, 5-6.
4. Finish reading the syllabus and come in with any questions you have about it.