Reflections on 1121 (thus far)


One place that I feel I have to begin is how much this class thus far is in fact forcing me to think about my own identity as a writer and reader. I am struck firstly by how so many of us (the us here including teacher and student, those of us who have long seen ourselves as writers and perhaps those of us who are just beginning to identify as such) struggle with the same obstacles, face the same questions, constraints, and frustrations, regardless of our “proficiency”. Discussing what students found challenging about writing early on this semester reminded me of the universal experiences that we are uncovering here at the same time that we will be tracing and exploring individual or specific experiences of or with writing. I am even reminded of readings I enjoyed about “experiencing language”. Many won’t “like” the source perhaps—it is Heidegger—but I do see a link here—I feel as though there is something taking place akin to “experiencing writing” that I would like to consider more closely going forward.

Without necessarily planning to (somewhat yes), both of my sections have ended up spending a lot of time thinking about the way that literacy can lead to empowerment or even freedom. This came in part from our reading of the Malcolm X text excerpt; I felt it important to watch some clips of his speeches to accompany the text. We have had some fascinating discussions about whether in our 21st Century, highly technological society, we are encouraged to see the way that literacy can indeed lead to empowerment, equality, and change. So, essentially, we seem to be exploring what we feel is or even is not at stake in reading and writing for so many of us. I am noticing that once we start talking about literacy and our experiences of literacy, we already might be talking about society, power, etc., we already are engaging with issues outside of ourselves that are global or even universal. The technological has come up inevitably (links to Aaron’s ideas maybe here) and I think that this can lead us to many places that will be useful to consider throughout the semester. We recently discussed both the pros and cons of technology’s impact or influence on literacy and I think that we are already becoming more and more aware of writing and reading in our everyday lives. My challenge is to be sure to not spend too much time with one of these many interesting questions that arise from each of these units—I can see how one unit alone could, in theory, take us through the entire semester….

2 thoughts on “Reflections on 1121 (thus far)

  1. Aaron Barlow

    Yeah, I am also finding that we are moving too fast. I could spend the entire semester on the literacy narrative. On the other hand, I bow to the logic of moving through them apace, especially given our limited time.
    Like you, I always try to mirror my own writing for my students, showing them I participate in the same tasks and trials they do–that all writers do. This semester, I am using the OpenLab blog for each class to post my own versions of the assignments i am asking them to complete. I don’t yet know if that is helping, but I think the first one has allowed me to explain the literacy narrative more fully.

    1. SSchmerler

      Inspired by some of what you wrote and our talk at the last meeting, I’m gonna use the Malcolm X excerpt as the centerpiece of my next assignment. It struck me that I have been talking about “constraints” for a long while now; here is Malcolm X, under the greatest of constraints! Tell you more soon.
      Thank you for writing this,

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