Writing for Self and Others in an Era of Shared Social Realities

The following is a Guest Post from Julie Warner, a doctoral candidate at Teachers College, Columbia University in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on literacies and an instructor of writing at Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah, Georgia. It is based on research presented at the 2012 Literacy Research Association conference (précis is available here). Julie tweets with the handle @newliteracy.
CC license: Attribution Lau Sew

When I was a young girl, I kept a diary. Since I was the oldest of four siblings, it had to come equipped with a lock (the kind that was more of a suggestion than an actual deterrent). Accordingly, my younger brother at one point read my diary; it was so embarrassing. And so when I was witness to the blogging phenomenon years later, I thought it strange to put one’s diary on the Internet for all to read.

But that’s just what the teens I was studying were doing: recounting the events of their days, processing the meaning of said events, and expressing hopes and dreams, all online for me and anyone else to read. I became intrigued as to how they thought about their audience when they were blogging in this capacity. The three teenagers upon whom I focused all offered some variation of the same idea: that the blog was “just for me.” However, the genre of the blog, by nature hosted online and thus quite public, told a different story.

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Neil Gaiman on Demythologizing the Creative Process and Point of View

I don’t have much to add. I just particularly enjoyed his comments on “demythologizing the creative process.” Also, in his response to the question from the young woman, I heard anew the kinship of point of view and agency within our otherwise socially-structured lives. (Think Bourdieuian thoughts here.) They may sound like statements you’ve heard before, but I suggest we consider them as commentary on … Continue reading Neil Gaiman on Demythologizing the Creative Process and Point of View

I Know What You Read Last Summer

I just spent an amazing month traveling with two weeks on the sleepy side of Cabo at my own DIY Writer’s Retreat. (I left feeling lucky, blessed, tan, centered, and validated for the way I budgeted this last year.) Much of this “writing,” however, was spent thinking and reading, rereading and thinking. Isn’t this what we all look like on vacation? (I also wrote about … Continue reading I Know What You Read Last Summer

Forget Defining Literacies. What’s ‘Writing’?

I’d like to talk to you about the 468th episode of This American Life. Specifically, I want to hone in to 23 and 1/2 minutes that makes up Act Two: Forgive Us Our Press Passes. I don’t recommend many things, as a habit, but this is worth your time. In producer Sarah Koenig’s story about a company called Journatic, which outsources local newspaper stories, be whisked away into … Continue reading Forget Defining Literacies. What’s ‘Writing’?

#ethnog12 Presentation Slide: Silent & Silenced Identity Work

I just presented at the University of Pennsylvania 33rd Annual Ethnography in Education Research Forum with colleagues Tracie Wallace at UC Berkeley, and John Scott and Dee Anne Anderson at NYU who each teach/research at sites on Space2Cre8.com. From our experiences at each of our sites we asked: How might we imagine the possibilities of social networking sites as learning spaces in which youth not … Continue reading #ethnog12 Presentation Slide: Silent & Silenced Identity Work

A New Ethic for Digital Composition: Cosmopolitanism

Do youth need thoughtful, guided practice composing for potentially global audiences?

Recently, a friend on Facebook posted a question asking what age it is appropriate for a child to have an email account. About 29  comments later, it had became apparent that in the 3rd and 4th grades in this school district, teachers were setting up email accounts with students. Many of these comments were ones of frustration over the lack of parental notification and participation in this activity, but one in particular stood out for me. One person asked: “What possible reasons could there be for a 4th grade child to have an email account?” I don’t typically engage in Facebook conversations, especially emotionally-charged ones, but I felt that I could contribute a few “possible reasons why” youth should be participating in digital communication in thoughtful, guided ways.

EGYPT-PROTEST/

Even with the digital divide present and growing, the nature of composition has changed in the digital and networked age in such a way that the capability to be producers and critical consumers of knowledge is now more widely available. Take social media outlets: More people of all ages, nationalities, genders, and socio-economic positions produce news, comment on social issues, and even stage revolutions. These possibilities disrupt our existing societal power dynamics, and in turn, necessitate a new ethic of exchange with distant, unknown, imagined others. Critical reader-writers must take into consideration not just the interpretations they have intended as authors, but also the possible interpretations of audiences previously unimagined and out of reach.

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Alternative Metaphors for Classroom Texts

This post was written with Teaching Reading in Secondary English Language Arts class members, who are all Master of Education candidates at New York University. These are the same authors of the #teachread project.

This semester we have read several articles and chapters that discuss the selection of texts. Though they each have varied foci, one thing cuts across all these articles: The metaphor used to describe the relationship between “the classics” and other texts, particularly young adult literature.

Here’s the metaphor: “A Bridge to the Classics”
Just as all roads lead to Rome, apparently, all texts used in the ELA classrooms are supposed to lead to classics. YA literature, in particular, is positioned as the way to get kids on the reading path. And once we get ‘em reading, we clasp their hands and start toward the classics, trying to convince them along the way that there’s a connection between the contemporary story they just read and the further removed story they’re about to read. (This sounds less like a bridge and more like a “bait and switch.”)

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Define Urban, Please

Recently, Emily Pendergrass tweeted a request: https://twitter.com/#!/Dr_Pendergrass/status/124881002656047104 ‘Urban’ has been on my mind for a while—most recently on my trip to Peru where I took this picture. And sure, I have opinions based on my work and research in large cities and small—even areas that actually look quite a bit like this Peruvian Zona Urbana—but I want to keep my mind open and engaged in … Continue reading Define Urban, Please

From Frames to Framing

Guest Post from Richard Andrews, Dean of Faculty and Professor of English at the Institute of Education, University of London. Richard Andrews is also co-author of our newly released Developing Writers: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age.

In Developing Writers, we use Richard Andrews’ concept of framing from his book Re-framing Literacy: Teaching and Learning in English and in the Language Arts to characterize aspects of writing in the digital age. In celebration of the release of our co-authored book, I asked Richard to introduce us to the concept of framing as applied to writing.

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I’ve long been interested not only in the verbal arts, but also in the visual arts and how the two interrelate. So book illustration, art with words (the work of Kurt Schwitters, Roy Lichtenstein, Barbara Kruger and others), and the complementarity and tension between word and image have all been areas of intellectual interest as well as enjoyment.

Channeling Barbara Kruger by Flickr user alexloyal (CC licensed)

A step back from immersion in those two modes suggests that framing is a concept that is worth exploring in terms of communication. Continue reading “From Frames to Framing”

The Two-Faced Coin (Part 2 of 2): Education’s Two-Face–Time

What do you think? Is it going to be heads or tails? At this moment, can you tell? What will determine on which side it will drop? A gust of wind? The momentum of the roll? (Someone with a physics degree chime in with a comment. I am sure we’d all love to know the actual factors that will contribute to the outcome.) When it comes to … Continue reading The Two-Faced Coin (Part 2 of 2): Education’s Two-Face–Time