I first assigned Dirk’s article “Navigating Genres” to a class I was teaching at another institution called “Writing Across The Disciplines.” The goal of the class was to have students explore and research how writing varies based on the field they are planning on going into, so recognizing each discipline-specific style of writing as a type of “genre,” as Dirk describes them, worked well. But I realized when I started using the model syllabus this semester for my 1121 course at City Tech that there was a lot of overlap between Dirk’s ideas on genre and discourse communities, the main similarity being that we write and communicate differently in different contexts, and through this we can start to conceptualize concepts like audience and purpose. Through this overlap, I can see the benefits of assigning an article like Dirk’s to a composition course, and how it might work to compliment concepts like discourse communities.
As Dirk states in the piece, one of her goals is to take genre “often quite theoretical in the field of rhetoric and composition” and make it “a bit more tangible.” It is this process of simplifying something typically understood as abstract that could benefit students in composition courses. The biggest takeaway for students from Dirk’s ideas on genre might be a “lowering of the stakes” when engaging with the daunting essay writing process. Partnered with raising genre awareness is a heightened awareness of the fact that we are all writing all the time. When one is able to recognize that, the act of writing on demand becomes less intimidating, as one realizes they are going through the writing process in different ways everyday. With this awareness that we are all writing all the time across genres, students can begin to pay attention to how they already “orient” themselves towards the expectations of genres via text messages, tweets and even asking their roommates to do the dishes. Dirk illustrates this (in terms that I think would resonate with students) when she says “Because you know how these genres function as social actions, you can quite accurately predict how they will function rhetorically: Your joke should generate a laugh, your email should elicit a response, and your updated Facebook status should generate comments from your online friends.” The writing process in a composition class, then, is transformed from some “foreign and weird task that your professor just wants you to do” into a different version, or genre, of what you already know how to do on some level. In this way, students can begin to view themselves as active writers, rather than “non-writers required to take a writing class.”
Furthermore, genre awareness lowers the stakes by letting you know that people have done what you are doing before, and therefore you can look to these previous examples as formulas for success. Dirk quotes Amy Devitt saying, “Genres develop because they respond appropriately to situations that writers encounter repeatedly….once we recognize a recurring situation, a situation that we or others have responded to in the past, our response to that situation can be guided by past responses.” When I’ve taught this reading in the past, the metaphor I use to explain this is building a car. Because writing does not produce “material results,” it can sometimes feel as though there are no directions or instruction manuals that you can follow, in the same way as if you were building a vehicle. Raising genre awareness allows students to see that there are sets of directions available to them when it comes to writing. Once the directions existed to build a car, it would be insane to try and start from scratch! Similarly, students can begin to realize that they do not have to enter the writing process blindly, but can rather identify the genre in which their writing and locate successful “directions” left behind by previous writers.
Hi everyone– and welcome to the professional development. To take part in the PD this semester, you will need to attend the bulk of our Wednesday 4-5 pm meetings. If you can’t do that, you can take the PD in a different semester (which is fine!) Let me know if you won’t be able to make this time slot.
If you want to meet with me, please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You will also do a bit of reading, writing and lesson planning for this PD, all of which will take place on this site. To do this, you’ll need to join– so please do so as soon as you can! At the end of the semester, you will submit a series of in-class or homework assignments, or a new unit that fits with the pedagogy you’re learning here. We’ll discuss (and maybe tweak) this more as we go.
We’ll meet again next Wednesday, Feb 24 at 4 pm to go over the 1101 Model Course Syllabus as a whole, and also to talk about engaging ways to use breakout rooms. To prepare, please:
- Join this site!
- Familiarize yourself with the Model Course Hub, and skim through the “1101 Model Course Outline Revised for Spring.” I will attach the outline below.
- Sign up for Perusall.com. To do this, you will go to perusall.com and go to the login page. Once you are signed in to the site (you will need to set up an account,) it will ask you for a course code. The code for this course is: HALL-G6ZRH. We will start to use Perusall next week.
Our tentative schedule for the semester is as follows (note: we will use the same zoom link all semester) :
- Feb 24 ZOOM Overview of 1101, specific discussion of Unit One. Discussion of effective use of breakout rooms
- March 3 will be an asynchronous meeting (continued discussion of genre and research– 1101 model course pedagogy )
- March 10 ZOOM we’ll meet – discussion of Units 2 and 3 1101 curriculum
- March 17 asynch: discussion of final portfolios and readings about research on Perusall.
- March 24 asynchronous. Begin to discuss “Discourse Communities” and 1121 Syllabus.
- April 7 ZOOM Tentatively: discussion of linguistic diversity
- April 14 asynch: mentor texts
- April 21 ZOOM 1121 Unit 2
- April 28 asynch: teaching multimodal writing
- May 5 ZOOM 1121 Unit 3
- May 12 LAST ZOOM
- units or assignments due by May 28
Download (DOCX, 893KB)
Hello Summer/ Fall 2020 PD Participants! And what a year this is!
If you haven’t already, please accept my invitation to join this site. You’ll need to do that in order to post here.
And keep an eye on the site. After our “template site” goes live (that is, the course we’ll be teaching next semester,) I will post a link to it here, along with some info about our first writing task for August.
If you’re teaching in a Learning Community (I am!) don’t worry, it won’t be hard to make this curriculum work with your course. You and I can chat about that.
My email is email@example.com, if you should have any questions. And I look forward to seeing you soon!
Hey everyone– remember to sign up for this site– invites forthcoming. You’ll all need to do this so you can post here, which we’ll need to do going forward. What follows is a list of dates for most of the rest of the semester. This isn’t detailed, just designed to give you some ideas of what’s to come and when things will be due.
Thursday, March 26, a Zoom meeting with Thursday Group. 3 pm. Details to follow.
After this point, we will all be one group. For right now, I was thinking all Zoom meetings would be about 45 minutes, at 3 pm (Mondays and Thursdays, come to whichever works for you) — they’re drop-in meetings, and optional, so you don’t have to stay the whole time or even come at all. Let me know if 3 pm isn’t a good time for you anymore. Also I’ll be holding these meetings even when we don’t have PD just if you need extra support.
Monday, March 30: Optional Zoom meeting. Everybody welcome.
By Thursday, April 2, EVERYONE post drafts of Lit narrative assignments. I will be posting assignments and more examples ASAP but I have to get to work and get on that computer first). Optional Zoom meeting.
Mon Monday April 20:
- Make sure you have sent your colleagues feedback on their lit narrative assignment on the OL website. (This will complete what would’ve been meeting 5) by April 20
- will post the info describing 1101 units 2 and 3. I will post homework, which will be a short reading, and reflection. Please note: your drafts of units 2 and 3 will be due Monday May 5
By Thurs April 23:
- Optional Zoom meeting
- Short Reading and reflection due by April 23 on OpenLab.
- For next time, comment on two of your peers’ reflections.
Mon April 27:
- Optional Zoom meeting
- By this date, make sure you have commented on two of your peers’ reflections. (This will complete meeting 6)
- I will post the activities for the week– something to watch and listen to.
- Drafts of Units 2 and 3 will be April 4 (the following week)
Thurs April 30: Optional Zoom meeting.
By Monday May 4:
- Optional Zoom meeting
- Make sure you’ve posted your comments on your peers’ lit narratives on the OpenLab (This will complete meeting 7)
More details to follow about our last meeting, but likely something will be “deliverable” by May 18.
Hi everyone, and welcome to the Winter Institute! We’re really excited to meet you and get started on Monday!
A few updates:
- We’ll be meeting in A106 (that’s the new building) at 10 am. Be sure to be on time, as we have a lot to cover.
- The “Winter Seminar Guide” has been posted (under Winter Institute tab) Please skim it if you can.
- Please review my previous email to look over the reading and writing we’d like you to do in preparation for this seminar.
- Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions!
FYI– We meet in Namm 618 at 4 pm. Also, our upcoming dates are:
Make sure you’re a member of the PD site.
- Make sure you’re Registered with Open Lab.
- Find the PD site.
- Click on Join! (just below the avatar).
- Click on Visit Project Site on the right hand side.
- You’re in!
NOW to create a post.
- Find the little circle with the plus sign in it on the top of the site.
- Click on it. You will open the Post Dashboard by default.
- Give it a title.
- Type your message.
- To attach a document, click on Add Media.
- The Media Library page will open.
- Click on Upload Files.
- Go find and choose your file.Click on Insert into Post.
- You’ll be taken back to the Post Dashboard
- When you finish your post, pick a Category from the Category menu on the right side. If you forget, you’ll get a prompt to pick a Category.
- Then hit Publish.
UPDATE: We’re slowly adding some theoretical texts to the website that may be more accessible to students, but I also wanted to draw your attention to the free ebook BAD IDEAS ABOUT WRITING which has a number of short readings about misconceptions about writing that you may find useful to use in your 1101 course. I’ve pointed out a few that I find pretty helpful for talking about genre and discourse in the readings section of our blog. There are also a few that I think will be very helpful for discussing research, once we get there. I do intend to add a section to the website for readings on research.
Hey everyone! I just wanted to say hi and update the site for the semester. You’ll notice that it’s no longer called “Summer Institute,” but instead “2019 Professional Development” as, sadly, it’s no longer summer.
To recap: we will be meeting on Sept 11 (location TBD) from 4-5:15. In preparation for this meeting, please just write up briefly a low stakes (either in-class or homework) assignment) that has worked well for you this semester, especially if you feel it increased student engagement. Please post this on “low stakes assignments” on this site. We’ll spend most of this session just checking in with you about how the semester is going thus far, what you are struggling with and how you’re feeling about your units, both current and forthcoming.
Also, if you haven’t done so yet, please post your units and syllabi on the site. If you’re struggling, please email or come see me. Also, I’m adding some more short, accessible theoretical readings to the site.
Hope you’re doing well, and please feel free to stop by!
(my students made that.)