UNIT ONE: The assignment should help students describe their own reading processes and writing processes, and the relationship between the two. Instructors may take a slightly different tack and make this more of an education narrative, but one way or another, students should examine their experiences with language, whether in formal or informal situations.
Some important points: 1) The assignment should help students gain a greater sense of their own past literacy experiences and how those experiences have shaped how they envision themselves as writers in the current moment. 2) The assignment should have students reflect on their own schooling and/or educational influences and examine the social and technological issues involved in accessing language fluency. 4) The assignment should have students explore their understandings of the ethnic and cultural diversity of written English as well as the influence of other registers, dialects, and languages.
UNIT TWO asks students to engage with research as a process of inquiry, with a specific focus on genre awareness. That is, students should emerge from this unit either examining one topic from a multi-genre perspective, or one genre from a multi-topic perspective. The five paragraph theme can be discussed in order to disrupt it, but there’s no reason to teach students how to do one. In fact, teaching students how to compose in a particular genre of any kind will not prove very helpful. Rather, students need to be able to investigate a genre on their own. Rather than teaching students to write in a genre (an op ed, a music review, a manifesto, etc.), it is more helpful for students to analyze op eds, music reviews, and manifestos in order to understand how they work and then to write an analysis that explains their operations. As opposed to a traditional “research paper,” this assignment focuses on the process of research itself, asking students to look at sources and examine, not only the content of these sources, but also the rhetorical context of those sources (audience, occasion, exigency and so forth.)
In this unit, students should: 1) learn research skills that they will be able to transfer to other learning situations 2) learn to evaluate sources both in their content and context, and 3) begin to put sources from multiple perspectives in conversation with each other, and in conversation with the student’s own perspective.
UNIT THREE asks students to compose in a genre or genres previously unfamiliar to them (most likely genres introduced in Unit 2.) To do this, they must learn to recognize, identify and label the generic conventions they notice and then begin to use those conventions. The main purpose of this assignment is transfer. That is, once students are able to identify and use generic conventions on their own, they will be able to compose in almost any genre.