Author Archives: Robert Lestón

7th PD Seminar & Homework for 8th PD

  1. Read write-ups about the genre project.
  2. Offer commentary (round robin)
  3. Discussion
  4. Personal Reflection on how to more fully develop the assignment.
  5. Homework:
    • Revise the genre project assignment and write as a new post
    • Add the reflection component to the assignment.
    • Explain which Learning Outcomes the project meets and how.
  6. Please post your reflections about today’s meeting as a reply to this post.

6th PD Seminar Agenda & Homework for 7th Meeting


Thanks everyone for another productive meeting yesterday! I have grown very fond of our group! Please post reflections on yesterday’s meeting in the comments section to this post.

Next Meeting

Please write a new post where you sketch out how you might approach teaching a Rhetorical Genre Analysis unit and the third project, the Genre Project or the Multigenre project. We’ll discuss these when we reconvene. Use the links below for help.


  1. Discuss information sessions / email to part-timers
  2. Montclair State visit May 3 or 6
  3. Textbooks/OER
  4. Potential list of faculty.
  5. What’s on your mind. Round Robin.
  6. Discussion
  7. If we begin with comp 1 as having three major project, the Lit Narrative, the Rhetorical Genre Analysis, and the Genre Project or the multi genre project.

RGA Sample Assignments

  1. Genre and Music
  2. Discipline Specific RGA

Multigenre Project/Genre project Samples

  1. Multigenre Template
  2. Multigenre Research Project overview

Sample Student Products

  1. Prezi RGA

5th PD Seminar, Wardle “Intractable Writing Programs”

Schedule Update

April 3  (5th Meeting)
April 17
May 1
May 8 
Announcements: Please upload your literacy narratives to the google drive link.  This link is hot and working.  If you get an error message, sign into Google with the following info
Reflections from 5th PD Seminar, do so in the post below.
Please post reflections for today in the comments in this post.

Reading for today is Wardle’s “Intractable Writing Program Problems, Kairos, and Writing about Writing: A Profile of the University of Central Florida’s First-Year Composition Program.”

Please print and bring. Question for your consideration. Pick one thing from the reading (I encourage you to review the Appendices as they are super practical), and post a response in the comments about how that one thing is helpful for teaching or for program design.


For Next Time: 

  1. Write reflections on today’s PD seminar in the comments below.
  2. Please write a New Post where you discuss what is going on in your classes, where you are with the curriculum, what you’re noticing from your students, what’s working and what’s not. Use the category Teaching.
  3. Leave comments before the next meeting for each other.

Posts due April 10th, comments on each other’s posts due next meeting April 18th.

Reading for PD Wed., 3/27 3 pm N321, 4th Seminar

Hi folks,
We’ll be reading this piece by Reiff and Bawarashi. Rather than writing individual blog posts as a response, please posts your responses below in the comments section. We’d be interested to hear the connections between the reading and your own teaching this semester.

Our meeting is scheduled in the Dean’s conference room, not in the President’s room. If anything changes I’ll be sure to let you know. See you Wed!

Update of Curriculum

  1. Review revised assignments for 1101 and 1121
    1. 1101
      1. Lit Narrative
      2. Researched Rhetorical Analysis
      3. Genre Project
  1. 1121
    1. Genre and Discourse Community Project
    2. Inquiry Based Argument Project
    3. Repurposed Multi-modal project

Compiling a List of Genres

Hi Folks,

So I’m working on compiling a list of usable, visible, practical genres for our students. I’d appreciate if you’d add any you can think of in the comments.


Spotify “About the Artists
Police Blotter  Brooklyn Daily
Death Announcements
Urban dictionary entries and Sample Sentences
Mug writing
SNL Weekend Update Jokes
Movie/Show synopsis (NYT Watching)
You Write the Cartoon Caption
Questions and Answers to Judge John Hodgson (A Twist on the Advice Column)


New York Times Best of Late Night
New York Times Morning Briefings
Book Back Cover Copy
Time Out New York News
Our Favorite Songs Playlist

Game Guides and Walkthroughs
Band Interviews 


Never Innocent

“This should be apparent that a way of teaching is never innocent. Every pedagogy is imbricated in ideology, in a set of tacit assumptions about what is real, what is good, what is possible, and how power ought to be distributed.”

This is the underlying premise not only for Berlin’s article but for his entire obra. Becoming conscious of the fact that whatever we do is linked to the social construction and distribution of power and disempowerment is the essential lesson, for me, from Berlin. When we talk of transfer, half the battle is becoming conscious of our and our students intentionality. Like transfer, Berlin’s key message of becoming conscious of the ideological imbrication of our pedagogies is also half the battle.

If we teach a course with a sense of managerial consciousness where students are being trained to become good servants of corporations so they can increase profit for the companies, move up the corporate latter, and ensure their own financial survival, that’s fine. I get that. Students have to get jobs. But I believe that we have a charge as instructors to attend to civic responsibility, and so if we are teaching students how to survive in a corporate environment without teaching them the role that corporations have in the imbalance of power and the exploitation of people, then we are not attending to the civic component. Whatever we teach carries an ideological implication with it. That should be basic, but it’s not always.

Fortunately, for our little group, we collectively seem to already understand that, but that may not be true for a lot of people who are teaching composition. This essay was published 31 years ago, and I think that as a group we have likely internalized much of what goes on here. Compositionists don’t have these discussions anymore (thank goodness, actually), but these types of cognitive mappings were being written when there was fierce competition for the professionalization of composition. It all started with Richard Fulkerson’s “The Four Philosophies of Composition.” It’s good that the field has moved past it, but there’s some historical relevance that’s good to be aware of. Unless you want to take a semiotic critical- pedagogy approach to composition, something that a  lot of people have done, Berlin may be  best read as a glance into the history of the professional formation of composition studies and less as a practical approach.

I would say that I find his description on 489 of subject formation is a pretty good precusor to what we understand today as intersectionality.








Last, I did want to mention one delightful reference Berlin made when he referenced William Lutz and “English Composition as a Happening.” I couldn’t say what Geoff Sirc, who championed Lutz, might say about our own curriculum development revolving around transfer, but if you  get a chance and if you are of the artsy incilination, check out Sirc’s book as well as his other pieces. Sirc’s book has been made downloadable, so that’s a nice development of events.