Rhet Comp

Why It Is Illogical To Reject #CCSS Based On Bad Class Assignments

I have been following the #stopcommoncore hashtag on Twitter to keep abreast of the debate that is growing across the country about whether states should continue to implement the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). One argument against the implementation of the CCSS that has been advanced on a number of occasions is the idea that a particular lesson aligned to the CCSS is evidence that the CCSS are bad. This argument is an example “affirming the consequent”, which is a logical fallacy. (more…)

#CWCon from Afar: Gee’s Affinity Spaces & Situated Learning Interrogated

I have been following Computers & Writing Conference this week on Twitter at the #cwcon hashtag. Among the most livetweeted talks was James Paul Gee’s keynote, “Writing in the Age of the Maker Movement.” Gee, famous for research on gaming and literacy, spoke broadly about teaching writing from a situated learning perspective. In his talk, he emphasized the need for “goal-based action” in learning to write, where students see writing as a way of “doing” something. He advocated learning situated in “affinity spaces,” where a group coalesces over a “common endeavor” (Gee, 2003, p. 192). I have Storified the livetweeting of the talk here.

Before I respond to the talk, I want state a caveat: I wasn’t there. I am relying on livetweeting, and therefore my comprehension and interpretation of Gee’s talk is limited by the points that were livetweeted. I could have missed points in his argument, which would then skew my interpretation in an erroneous direction. I apologize in advance if I misinterpreted Gee.

I want to respond to a few key claims livetweeted, so I’ve selected the first tweets I could find in the #cwcon stream that documented each of these claims. I have embedded them below. (more…)

4C13 from afar: Be Careful What You Start

Anson: “In higher ed, we often think that if students are disconnected and unmotivated in class, it’s their fault.” Poignant call. #4c13 -@chris_friend via Twitter retweeted over 20 times

Chris Anson’s speech, live-tweeted by… well just about everybody at 4C13 with a Twitter account, was an inspiring speech that set a good direction for the field of Rhet Comp. I was, however, concerned by the above statement when considered in the context of similar sentiments expressed within K-12 education.

A Cautionary Tale

When No Child Left Behind (NCLB) was passed in 2001, we began an age of accountability for students and teachers in K-12 education. Students were accountable to educational standards in all states via standardized tests and, barring “flexibility” (will get to that in a minute), schools and teachers were accountable for student performance. If students did not make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) for a given number of years, state intervention could force the school to close and reopen under new leadership and faculty. Anson’s remark implied that FYC instructors were on some level accountable for students being “disconnected” or “unmotivated.” This seems in line with the move toward accountability in K-12. Since we know from research that teacher effectiveness is a predictor of student success, this is not unreasonable. The next step is, perhaps, more uncomfortable.
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4C13 from afar: Twitter & Collaboration

In lieu of a more complete, short essay (coming soon), I offer today a few thoughts on the 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Twitter is my CCCC News Wire

I get all my news on the conference from the 4C13 hashtag on Twitter. I also have been browsingthe resources uploaded onto the NCTE site for the convention. I’m indebted to the fellow scholars tweeting about it, especially @webbsusa, who tweeted a fascinating talk by Dr. Victor Villanueva entitled: “Toward a Political Economy of Basic Writing Programs.”

Collaboration between Rhet Comp and Education

Villanueva discussed the need for Basic Writing (and Rhet Comp) to engage in more collaboration with other disciplines. While it seems Villanueva may have seen this need as a way to legitimize the course and empower its students, I contend that this collaboration needs to happen because related disciplines have a lot to offer Rhet Comp and vice versa. Education and Linguistics are the first places where more collaboration needs to happen. (more…)