Just as sources serve different purposes in an academic essay providing a theory, an example, a counterpoint, etc , readings serve different purposes in our classrooms … though students may not grasp this unless we invite them into the pedagogical conversation. Sometimes, slow thinking with complex texts is just what the occasion requires. Sometimes less is more. But sometimes, as Dolly Parton has said, more really is more. Photo Credit: April Lidinsky.
How to ease into (and even enjoy) your dissertation writing
His speech rang the chimes of ethos, logos, and pathos, and charmed the teachers in the crowd by inviting Mrs. Chismar — his high school Economics teacher — into the lineup of introductory voices. Pete Buttigieg has been questioned by the press for benefiting from both male privilege and white privilege, ethos-boosters that he has been — to my ears — fairly reflective about, as in this conversation with Trevor Noah. He has also resisted and complicated standard narratives of coming out as a gay person, as in this discussion with Rachel Maddow.
Rather than arguing for common ground, Watson argues for pluralism. She concludes,. The abortion debate often seems to boil down to a debate about vulnerability: Who or what is more in need of protection, fetuses or women? For me, the vulnerable thing in need of protection is pluralism —the idea that Americans who vigorously disagree about gender, family, sex, religion, and endless other topics can all flourish in the same country.
In From Inquiry to Academic Writing , my co-author, Stuart Greene, and I offer student writers skills for compassionate engagement with different perspectives through a Rogerian approach to argument, founded by psychotherapist Carl Rogers. We offer four steps toward Rogerian argumentation for academic writers:. Holding these steps in mind as we engage others in the next few months will not only be good for our classrooms, but — Buttigieg and Watson would argue — it will be an investment in our democracy.
Our task as instructors, as learners, and as citizens is surely to practice care-taking in these inhospitable times. Senioritis blooms along with the forsythia, magnolias, and flip-flops, and is hardly restricted to seniors. We think of it as an idea-engagement event, in which every student has to participate in some way. They might read aloud a short, provocative passage of their writing, share some resources on a course theme, offer civic action tools related to the course, or even provide a playlist of songs related to the course theme. This teaches students to engage with multiple ways of learning designed to explain their key insights to a fresh audience, and to offer specific action steps in response.
I often provide a bit of food and a bigger space for the final day, to make it feel like a celebration. Students can name the event, advertise on social media and with flyers, and in general turn the last class day — so often a let-down or a hurried final presentation day — into a celebration of intellect and engagement that they can look forward to and own.
In From Inquiry to Academic Writing , my co-author, Stuart Greene, and I offer specific guidelines for writers and readers of early, later, and final drafts. As students approach the final draft of an essay, I often require them to set the agenda for the peer-group discussions, so they can take ownership of what writers need in the final stage of the revision process.
If your students need a bit of prompting, here are some guides for student peer-group discussions of later drafts:. Ultimately, students will remember their ownership of ideas and their confidence in transferring ideas from your course into other classes and beyond. How do you do this in your own courses? What do you hear back from your students about the skills they leave with, and use? And she made space, expectantly, for the conversation. I took mental notes. Significantly, those less-confident students might be disproportionately first-generation or marginalized.
Certainly, I keep these real classroom dynamics in mind as I craft open-ended and wide-ranging questions about readings in the prompts for students and instructors in From Inquiry to Academic Writing. My co-author, Stuart Greene, and I offer many ways for students to practice the question-asking habit of mind that is foundational to scholarly discovery — both aloud and in writing — inviting connections within texts, between texts, and between texts and experience.
This reflection tool, designed by my colleague Ken Smith, helps over-talkers, under-talkers, and occasional talkers name the different purposes of their interactions, and helps them connect oral and written academic conversation. This checklist brings class participation into focus, and is quick to administer at the end of a class. Adapt as you like, and let me know how it works for you:. Thank you for your thoughtful evaluation of the work today.
I hope you will. Keep me. How many times did you contribute to the large group discussion today:.
In discussion today, did you do any of these valuable things:. If we had small group work today, were you:. Other suggestions? Thank you. Any of the strategies in this post can help you foster richer classroom discussions that will help students practice the habits of mind of academic writers. Of course, this can only happen in an atmosphere in which student responses — and questions and ideas — are truly valued. That part is up to you. Image: Ferris Bueller "Anyone? I have a tender spot for students who struggle to find their tone as they enter an academic conversation.
But I remember well the late-night struggle to enter a serious conversation about literature. But who can blame students for assuming an "argument" must be built on forceful disagreement?https://waluvasivido.cf
Read Online From Inquiry to Academic Writing with MLA Update P…
Most of what we hear in the public sphere are gut-level judgments rather than reasoned analysis. Students can be forgiven for mistaking agreement with weakness, or believing that generous and empathetic readers simply are not tough enough to take a stand. Our task, as writing instructors, is to model the tone of academic conversations, and to make the syntax of engagement transparent, so students can practice it.
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Steps to Writing Yourself into an Academic Conversation:. Providing students the opportunity to name and practice these moves helps them see that syntax itself can guide their tone, helps them generate ideas, and provides structures for nuanced analysis. This is the scene outside my campus office right now.
No matter the weather on your campus, it can be tough to summon the mojo for new classes in the middle of the teaching year.
Instead, it may mean doing the things we do best, but with more intention. Unsurprisingly, these intentions feel good and help me do good beyond the classroom, too. Snowflakes may be flying, but these practices remind me that teaching well can feel like bursting into bloom. So, I want to celebrate how many of you are blogging about assignments that place marginalized voices at the center of the classroom.
The photo to the right is from a recent New York Times article with rich images you might consider for classes around the upcoming holiday.
For example, Susan Naomi Bernstein recently described a redesigned assignment drawing on the film Black Panther. Conversation fizzed and popped about the implications of expanded representation — political and academic — by women and people of color. The plenary sessions, too, amplified the potential tectonic shifts happening in scholarship and our classrooms. That conversation — interdisciplinary, intersectional, political, and delightfully personal Alexander and Nelson are longtime friends — was a reminder of how crucial it is that we invite students into these conversations, so they understand that knowledge production is a human effort, shaped by power in myriad ways, but also a shaper of power.
Another evening featured Alice Walker, who spoke with quiet intensity to a packed ballroom about the transformational experience of learning from Howard Zinn during his time as a professor at Spelman College. Yet another plenary brought together activists who reflected on lessons we could learn from social movements of , and I could hardly scribble notes fast enough to capture the sparking conversation between Angela Davis, Bernadine Dohrn, Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Ericka Huggins of the Black Panther Party, and Madonna Thunder Hawk.
We have worked hard, with each edition, to include voices that speak to the pressing issues of our time, from perspectives that often bring insights from the margin to the center, as hooks might say. It is work that never ends — for which I am thankful. Like you, we are always listening hard for new voices to invite our students into new conversations.
What are you most excited to teach? What can you recommend? Now is when our students need us to champion their potential, and to remind them that the whole point of education is to challenge them into growth over time. My co-author, Stuart Greene, and I, include Dweck in From Inquiry to Academic Writing precisely because writing students continue to find the concept a powerful tool for understanding the pain and potential of learning.
Critical reading and writing, as we all know, is challenging work. This semester, I am providing in-class journaling time to give students a safe place for guided self-reflection, an experiment I described in this earlier post. I attach low-stakes points to this task: If students are present and write for the full ten minutes, they earn the five points per entry. As you can see in the photo [above], students have taken ownership of their journals, and the insides are as distinct as their cover designs.
I have learned a lot from reading them, already, including some harsh realities. For example, a few students were able to write in the journal what they would not say aloud — that they found all the readings boring. But, channeling my own growth-mindset as an instructor, I needed to hear this in order to invite more personal connections to the material.
The results? My original prompt about a quotation by Marx on work became an invitation to write about their own employment experiences, and what makes work meaningful. Wow, did they have a lot to say — on the up and downsides of being bilingual, the daily and nuanced battles of sexism in restaurants, the psychology of meddling managers, and the crew dynamics that make work alienating or a place of camaraderie. In short, they wrote their way into a terrific classroom discussion about Marx.
They also pegged Marx as a growth-mindset thinker — anachronistic, but on point!
Other journal reflections have affirmed my pedagogy, as when some students lamented that I did not tell them the key ideas in a text before they read it, and instead made them do this work before class discussion. Guilty as charged, though the comments inspired me to explain again why I want them to do this critical thinking independently. A consistent refrain in their journals is the challenge of time-management, a struggle I share as I try to maintain a growth-mindset about making time for my own research.
Refine your editions:
Not surprisingly, the amusing and unforgiving advice from author Paul J. Silvia — another psychologist! Write every day. Make a schedule and stick to it. Keep a journal to reflect on your progress. Be accountable to others. A week ago, I would have cringed, ducked and maybe even shrieked at the image on the left, captured recently by a skillful neighbor.