Writer, Textile Artist, Plantswoman

Year: 2015

Sometimes Doonesbury gets eerily close to my life…

Screen Shot 2015-11-22 at 10.41.07 AMNo one turns the table quite as astutely! How does he do it?

This is the part of the semester where the rubber really meets the road. This past week, I reminded students that we only had three weeks left to the semester and many of them were running out of time to get things they’ve been putting off done.

Some might think lowering expectations is in order — on my part. But I’m firmly of the opinion that if even one student is able to keep up the pace and do well without a significant diminishment in their overall quality of life, the rest had the same opportunity.

We all make decisions along the way that gets us to where we are now. Lowering the bar at this juncture only reinforces the notion that “If I procrastinate long enough, those that expect something of me will lower their expectations and I won’t have to do the work.” And what message does this send to those that applied themselves all along?

The question I set myself is this: “What would it be like to spend the next five (or ten) years working with one of these students, side by side, on my team?”

What kind of workmate do I want? What kind of workmate do YOU want? That’s the kind of student you want to be.

Synchronicity

This week in my Visual Rhetoric, Visual Culture class, students have been exploring parody, pastiche and remake. Then, on my family Facebook newsfeed, my niece Róisín posts this:

What’s “good” writing?

I’m putting this here for the benefit of ALL my students, not just those who will have to write one or more papers in my classes. Instead, I will put a link to this post on all my course companion websites in the syllabi.

From:
Walvoord, B. E.  (2014). Assessing and Improving Student Writing in College: A Guide for Institutions, General Education, Departments, and Classrooms. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

The expert writer:

    • Focuses the writing appropriately for the demands of the assignment, situation, and audience, whether that means constructing an argument, recommending solutions to a problem, or reporting scientific research. Uses the modes of reasoning and inquiry, as well as the conventions of correctness that are considered appropriate to the discipline, but also understands the rhetorical situatedness of those modes and their intellectual, political, and social consequences.
    • Organizes the writing in an effective way for its audiences and purposes. 
    • Locates, evaluates, integrates, and cites information from various sources. 
    • Follows ethical principles for research and writing, including collaboration with peers, use of sources (avoiding plagiarism), and ethics of the disciplines such as protecting privacy, presenting accurate data, and respecting alternative viewpoints.
    • Integrates quantitative material, charts and graphs, images, and other multimedia material as appropriate; understands, critically evaluates, and appropriately employs new technologies and new digital and multimedia forms. 
    • Produces clear, coherent sentences and paragraphs shaped for their audiences and purposes. 
    • Uses the grammar and punctuation of Edited Standard Written English (ESWE) in appropriate circumstances, such as formal academic, business, civic, and professional writing.
    • Follows productive writing processes. 
    • Collaborates effectively with others to both give and receive feedback on a writer’s emerging work. (my emphasis).

But before you can do that, you have to internalize the following:

  • See that writing is important and necessary 
  • Experience a safe, supportive, yet rigorous environment with instructors who believe in students’ ability to improve as writers
  • Read, read, read, and, more broadly, work within an interactive, language-rich environment
  • Write frequently in genres that require higher-order thinking
  • Learn to work in multimedia forms and use developing technologies
  • Get helpful guidance, feedback, and chances to revise
  • Learn mindfulness about their own writing (metacognition) and principles they can apply across contexts (again, my emphasis)

Taken from Tomorrow’s Professor eNewsletter #1387, February 16, 2015.

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