take 20

Today I took a break from reading my students’ job search memos and good news letters to finally watch Take 20, which I thought was a great film. One of the questions they asked the composition scholars in the film was, “What do you wish you had been taught in grad school (but weren’t)?” And I wish I had seen this in graduate school.

I don’t really have anything profound to say after watching this, but I think I’ll quickly note a few things that really caught my eye/ear as I watched/listened.

1. Jacqueline Jones Royster’s reply to “What are the aims of your writing courses?” She explains that her writing courses focuses on humanenes rather than just humanity; writing is about peace, justice, and ethics.

2. Andrea Lunsford’s answer to the same question: that her courses focus on performance because writing and teaching are both really performance.

3. Howard Tinberg’s answer to the question “What do you wish you had ben taught in gradu school (but weren’t)?”: How we read was never made an explicit part of instruction. That rang especially true, and I’m finding it was (and still is) true of the writing classes I teach.

4. Cheryl Ball’s response to “How has technology (re)shaped your teaching?” She discussed changing the word “writing” to “composition,” but that students are still learning rhetorical literacies and critical literacies across a whole range of texts and modes.

5. Andrea Lunsford’s answer to that same question: that as a field we are struggling with finding a balance between traditional writing and new literacies, and that students are unhappy when they don’t get a chance to do both traditional writing and new literacies in the classroom. Also, the importance of articulating an answer to this problem to the larger public.

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