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Reading for Saturation

When we teach college writing, we’re generally asking students to write in genres that they may have never read. Why, then, do we expect them to be able to write these successfully? Genres are, as I have often observed, slippery things and can’t really be completely understood through explicit instruction. Sure, scholars can and oftenContinue reading “Reading for Saturation”

Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired

It’s a bit of a cliche right now, due to the pandemic, that we have to “relearn” how to do things that were normal. But it’s also, like many cliches, not wrong. And as teachers struggle to find a mode of instruction that meets ever-changing guidelines and protects themselves and their students but still preservesContinue reading “Genre, Learning, and Why Your Students Are So Tired”

Whom Do You Write For?

One of the hardest questions that authors get asked perhaps too seldom is “Who are you writing for?” It’s also, perhaps, the most important. More important even than “Why are you writing?” or “What are you writing?” Writing without an audience just doesn’t work. The audience completes the text, you see. Sure, the author mayContinue reading “Whom Do You Write For?”

The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity

Last week, I introduced my students to the genre of the literature review. This is, for most first year composition students, an entirely alien genre, since it’s largely the province of academic work. However, the course I’m teaching requires, as part of its description, that my students produce an annotated bibliography of 15-20 sources andContinue reading “The Embodied Literature Review: A Classroom Activity”

What Is Genre Chauvinism?

I’m sure there’s a better term for this, and I really ought to know it given my dissertation work, but lately in my head the term that’s been sticking for the way that certain genres (which, not coincidentally, are often those associated with youth or women) are unfairly considered unimportant or even toxic is genreContinue reading “What Is Genre Chauvinism?”

More About Plagiarism

Last week, I wrote about how the metaphors and imagery we use to impress the eeeeevils of plagiarism on our students results in scared, confused students. But that’s not the end of the story. Maybe our focus on plagiarism is the root problem because of its attendant focus on originality. What I mean is thatContinue reading “More About Plagiarism”

Writing Rules and Genre

This semester I’m having my students write in a number of genres. That’s not a bad thing (actual results may vary…). But, as happens every semester, we’re struggling. We’re struggling because my class isn’t my students’ first exposure to writing (my students are adults–they’ve actually been writing for a LONG time, whether they realize itContinue reading “Writing Rules and Genre”