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CCCC 2019: Wednesday Morning Workshops

Morning Workshops

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

(MW.01) Performing Prison: Intentional Teaching, Research, and Writing Inside & Out

Sponsored by: Teaching in Prison: Pedagogy, Research, and Literacies Collective Standing Group

Level: 4-year

Cluster: Community, Civic & Public

Abstract: We engage in interactive discussions of prison teaching, group activity and reflection, and a session in which we engage with the voices of incarcerated writers.

Full description:

Scholars of writing pedagogy have been using performance studies as a way to rethink what it means to write, to teach and to learn writing, and to engage in classroom discussions, as well as to refocus our understanding of positionality. Applying work in performance studies to our scenes of writing enables us to destabilize not only our understanding of grammar, form, and “English” but also of classroom and institutional hierarchies and of modes of learning. As teachers and students of writing, we are challenged to reconceive our understandings of what is “correct” and what is “complete,” to rethink pedagogy’s power relations and modes of discourse, and to recognize the roles of empathy, Kairos, and spontaneity in the classroom. Students too are increasingly more willing to challenge our modes of engagement with them and our understanding of best practices in pedagogy; they often perform various kinds of resistance to our texts, our assignments, and our disciplinary (in all senses of the word) processes in ways that previous generations of students were less likely to do.

In carceral situations, however, pedagogical performance works differently. The power to enable and engage in play, spontaneity, and disruption of forms and hierarchies is to a great extent taken out of the hands of instructors and students and used by the institution as a way to control instructors and students. The prison system itself has control over all essential elements of the classroom: entry into the space, writing and researching materials, the length of the class, the texts, and even the content of student work; furthermore, prison administrators may have very different ideas from teachers and students of the learning outcomes and the use value of a writing course, and they may choose to disrupt, control, or curtail the course in various ways. This absolute power combined with the banality of bureaucratic processes means teachers and students are subject to the chilling effects from this control and must thus find ways to perform obedience while also engaging each other in more covert forms of play, disruption, and kairotic spontaneity. Our workshop will examine the range of ways that writing and rhetoric scholars and their students perform prison work, along with the theories (of prison pedagogy, performance, and writing studies) that inform those performances. Through a combination of engaged table talks, discussions, and interactive activities, we hope to invigorate and stretch our understanding of prison pedagogy and research and reinsert resistance.

Our workshop participants are typically a combination of those new to prison teaching and those who have engaged with it both inside and outside of prison walls, including the following:
• inside: teaching SAE and credited composition courses, sponsoring artistic and theatrical performance, facilitating creative writing, tutoring, offering courses and workshops grounded in texts and social concerns, etc.
• outside: performing and circulating writing and art, hosting community dialogues, circulating public and scholarly narratives that challenge stereotypes of prisoners, prison workers, and material conditions, etc.

In previous workshops, we have used more traditional formats to promote what have always been fruitful discussions of the ways in which we design and follow through on this work, its successes and its failures. Our 2019 workshop will use a much more interactive format as we consider the challenges of our performances within the system of justice in the United States. Participants will join three small group table talks, perform a prison solidarity dance and reflection, and offer feedback to currently incarcerated writers. In using this new format, our goal is to transform prison work through the immediate actions of those in the room and to engage directly with the work of our incarcerated students.

Schedule & Meeting Space Requests

We request a medium-size meeting room; we also request a morning time slot for this Wednesday half-day workshop.

Schedule of Events:

9:00-9:30 Welcome, introductions, and opening collaborative dance built from movements and gestures of those who cannot be in the room and based upon work developed by dance faculty who work with prisoners.

9:30-9:40: Active Listening & Reflecting: Participants hear recorded voices of writers in prison and respond on feedback postcards

9:40-10:15: Table Talk Session #1: Prison Writing/Rhetoric Research (3 five minute presentations on topic followed by table talk)
• Speaker 1: If You Knew Your History: Performing Historical Research in Carceral Contexts
• Speaker 2: “Participatory Action Research from the Inside-Out”
• Speaker 3: Incarcerated Activists and the Available Means of Literacy

10:15-10:45: Table Talk Session #2: University-Prison Partnerships (3 five minute presentations on topic followed by table talk)
• Speaker 4: How Can I Imagine Where Have You Been?
• Speaker 5: Preparing to Go Inside on the Outside: Cultivating Allies and Advocates
• Speaker 6: “Clearing the Path, Creating Change”

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00-11:30: Speaker 7 leads a session featuring her Inside-Out course on Protest Writing and Rhetoric, a course in which student study and create protest speeches, zines, fiction and poetry, and group manifestos. By having workshop participants engage with and respond to speeches, zines, and manifestos at their tables, this session will help us rethink ways we perform traditional and alternative pedagogies and enable cross-cultural dialogue about protest, solidarity, and the rhetoric of performance itself.

11:30-12:00 Table Talk Session #3: Prison Pedagogy and Teaching (3 five minute presentations on topic followed by table talk)

• Speaker 8: “English Professor or Poetry Coach?”
• Speaker 9 and 10: “Notes Toward an Inside Writing Clinic”
• Speaker 11: “Envisioning Justice: Writing and Art”

12:00-12:15 Bringing intentional practice to inside/out prison work (Respondent)

12:15-12:30 Performing Prison: a closing reflection activity and group action plans

(MW.02) Transforming Failure into Effective Advocacy: A Workshop on Performing Community Leadership

Level: All

Cluster: Community, Civic & Public

Abstract: This workshop offers an opportunity for participants to develop strategies and a support network for more effective advocacy, leadership, and community-engaged work.

Full description:

This workshop offers an opportunity for participants to develop strategies and a support network for more effective advocacy, leadership, and community-engaged work. Our workshop draws from key concepts in community literacy studies to offer a performative space for rethinking “failed attempts” at advocacy and community leadership.

Community literacy theory calls for rhetorical action, for rhetors to not simply describe what it means to be a leader or advocate, but to perform rhetorical work that is accountable to a community’s needs and interests. When engaging in such performances, especially for the first time, failure is often inevitable, and failed attempts are easily cast aside. This workshop invites participants to reflect on their failed attempts at advocacy in a collaborative, performative space of inquiry. We welcome participants who have experience—or hope to gain experience—doing advocacy in university settings, in community organizations, in professional organizations, and more.

Our inspiration for this workshop comes from composition pedagogy, which acknowledges that students’ failures provide rich tools for their growth and development as writers. This stance, we maintain, is equally or even more important in our own leadership and advocacy work, where the stakes of rhetorical performance are high and where there are typically fewer opportunities for “revision.” Just as our students need supportive environments through which they can experience and process failure, this workshop offers a space for instructors, WPAs, community leaders, and scholars doing community-based work to “set up a dialogue with failure” (Daloz Parks). We foreground failure in an effort to demonstrate how less-than-successful advocacy performances can reveal opportunities for intercultural inquiry and transformative learning.

Goals for this workshop:
-Offer theory and research that can serve as a heuristic guide for more effective leadership and advocacy.
-Provide scenarios of “failed advocacy” that can be used as instructive case examples.
-Create a space for participants to reflect on their own experiences and practice performing new styles of leadership and advocacy.
-Connect participants to a support network of others who are facing leadership and advocacy challenges.

The workshop will focus on three common challenges in community-based work and include short presentations, performances of “failed attempts,” and breakout discussion sessions with skilled facilitators. For each challenge, a speaker will first talk about their experience with that problem, illustrate a “failed attempt” to address it, and show how they used a concept from community literacy studies to process that failure productively. Following each presentation, there will be breakout sessions with participants to share their own cases and have the opportunity to get feedback from facilitators and other participants.

Challenge 1: Making change when you do not have institutional authority.
This speaker will present a case study of a group of graduate students who lead a strategic planning effort at their university in the city of Pittsburgh. Speaker 1 will analyze some of the student group’s early, failed attempts at community engagement in order to show how a distinction between holding formal authority and performing “adaptive leadership” can be used to lead more effectively (Heifetz). One finding from this case study is that strategic planning in higher education often invites technical solutions that can obscure more complex institutional problems; such efforts thus require a better understanding of how to identify and define adaptive challenges. By offering concrete examples of technical versus adaptive problems, this presentation invites participants to analyze their own failed cases through the lens of adaptive leadership and look for new ways to understand that went wrong.

Challenge 2: Leading diverse groups when people have conflicting goals for the cause or organization.
Speaker 2 will present on how they used the concept of “rivaling” as a tool for intercultural inquiry in their work with a summer literacy program that aims to empower rural Appalachian girls through digital storytelling (Flower, Long, and Higgins). One of the main challenges this program faced was negotiating the diverse perspectives and competing goals of its leadership team and the Appalachian community members they were striving to serve. Speaker 2 will show how using the concept of rivaling helped to reveal that stakeholders in the program were operating from different, and sometimes conflicting, understandings of “empowerment.” Ultimately, Speaker 2 will show how rivaling allowed them to examine how a literacy initiative situated in the tradition of the Foxfire books and Stephen Gilbert Brown’s work with Athabascan students supports the rhetorical performances of rural girls and the key challenges it faces in doing so.

Challenge 3: Advocating effectively when your community’s needs are unfamiliar, unclear, or complex.
Speaker 3 will present on the obstacles they faced when supporting the rhetorical work of parents who advocate on behalf of their disabled children within the public education system. One of the challenges the speaker encountered was that parent faced unique rhetorical challenges, which current community literacy and advocacy models seem less able to describe. Speaker 3 will demonstrate one approach for listening to/for communities whose advocacy needs are not well-known using the “story behind the story” (Flower, Community Literacy) strategy as a form of both engagement and support. While the speaker initially used this strategy to build a foundation for a local public that might draw people into dialogue, parents’ stories and the logic behind them called into question the extent to which “public dialogue” could support and meet their advocacy needs. Speaker 3 will show how the story behind the story strategy illuminated complex challenges, transforming this “failed” advocacy attempt into an opportunity to develop more inclusive approaches to advocacy and community engagement.

Since a main goal of the workshop is to provide space for participants to reflect on their own leadership and advocacy efforts, we invite participants to come prepared with their own stories of “failed” attempts to workshop. Through our breakout sessions, facilitators will provide collaborative planning support for processing those experiences. At the end of the session, we will introduce an opportunity for participants to stay connected as part of an ongoing network of support.

(MW.03) Responding to Anti-Intellectualism in the Classroom: Developing Positive Emotions and Facilitating Student Engagement

Level: All

Cluster: Community, Civic & Public

Abstract: This workshop provides strategies for mitigating anti-intellectualism in the classroom by enhancing student engagement, fostering positive emotions, and cultivating a culture of learning.

Full description:

In this Rhetoricians for Peace SIG workshop, we provide strategies for rhetoric and composition scholars and teachers to address the rise of anti-intellectualism sentiment and public mistrust of expert opinion within and beyond the classroom. The 2016 United States presidential election result is the most recent case study of anti-intellectualism sentiment that has far-reaching consequences: a 2016 Pew Research poll found that 64% of Americans believe “fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events” (Barthel, Mitchell, & Holcomb, 2016). Anti-intellectualism, through propagation of fake news and misleading rhetoric, had played a significant role in the outcome of the election. Post-election, it seemed like society would have embraced intellectualism and education as an informed response, but this did not come to pass. As teachers, we have now two choices: to avoid the problem entirely or to engage it head-on through activities and conversations focused on promoting meaningful student engagement through dialogue across difference, critical inquiry, rhetorical analysis, research skills, and information literacy. This work is not without its difficulties: encouraging a culture of learning in the classroom starts with student engagement, developing student agency, and fostering positive student emotions (Laverghetta, 2015). To that end, our workshop will be driven by the following questions that we ask: (1) How do we help students see education as a means to intellectual activity? (2) How do we foster learned agency (as opposed to learned helplessness) in the classroom? (3) How do we develop activities and assignments that encourage positive emotions among students?

9:00-9:10: Welcome to the Workshop

9:10-9:40: Keynote: Suspecting Expertise: Anti-Intellectualism and Rugged Individualism in American History

To frame our understanding of how American anti-intellectualism impacts present-day composition and communication curriculum and pedagogy, we begin our workshop with an American historian whose research focuses on the cultural authority of expert knowledge in popular, medical, and legal contexts. This talk moves beyond ideas about anti-intellectualism to highlight the power dynamics underlying expertise, who defines it, and who can claim its mantle in a culture that privileges cultural values, such as the self-made man, rugged individualism, and economic self-interest (Hofstadter, 1966; Jacoby, 2009). These cultural values undermine the authority of learned experts and their institutions in favor of self-knowing in ways that contribute to enduring suspicion of professors and learning in present-day classrooms. These historical contexts inform roundtable discussions by (1) revealing a longer history of anti-intellectualism in the US and the cultural values underpinning it and (2) providing participants with a longer historical foundation for constructively problem-solving and addressing these beliefs through assignments and class discussions.

9:45-10:15: Keynote: Understanding Engagement: Attitudes, Assumptions, and Anti-intellectualism in the Classroom

In light of the history of anti-intellectualism presented by our first keynote speaker, a rhetoric and composition scholar will engage workshop participants in an activity designed to help them better understand their students’assumptions about intellectualism and anti-intellectualism in a contemporary context. Participants will be asked to draw visual representations of intellectualism and anti-intellectualism, as they define the terms. After a brief analysis of participants’ drawings, the speaker will show a few representative examples of her students’ drawings and share how an understanding of students’ assumptions about literacy and learning can inform classroom practices and curricula (Bradbury, 2016). The conversation that ensues will inform the roundtable discussions by (1) helping participants better understand contemporary beliefs about intellectualism and anti-intellectualism and (2) aiding participants in recognizing the important differences between their own and their students’ experiences regarding learning and education.

10:15-10:25: Break

10:25-10:30: Brief orientation to the roundtables

10:35-11:00: Roundtables: Fostering Positive Emotions and Student Engagement in the Composition and Communication Classroom

Participants will further develop ideas from the morning session in thematic roundtables, specifically focused on conversation and strategies about how to facilitate positive emotions and student engagement within course curriculum, curriculum design, faculty development, and community engagement. Drawing inspiration from Seligman et al.’s (2004) character strengths and virtues, Well-Being Theory (2011), and the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing (2011), participants should leave with ideas for an activity or assignment that helps students in diverse settings foster PERMA: (1) positive emotions, (2) engagement, (3) positive relationships with others, (4) finding meaning, and (5) developing accomplishments. In particular, this roundtable will generate ideas and conversations about using a strengths-based approach to critical discourse and its connection to writing and well-being in resisting learned helplessness, encouraging student engagement and building positive emotions through community-based experiences in the two-year college and other environments, and assessing the history of American anti-intellectualism and expert authority and its impact on building positive emotions. This roundtable will provide participants with the tools needed to lead local faculty through professional development. After 20 minutes of small group roundtable discussions, participants will return to share ideas with all workshop participants.

11:00-11:20: Reporting out on roundtable discussions

11:20-11:30: Break

11:30-11:35: Brief orientation to the second roundtable

11:35-12:00: Roundtables: Students’ Identities, Instructors’ Personalities, and Building Community in the Classroom

Building on the takeaways from the keynotes and first roundtable, participants will further develop their ideas to address classroom practices that consider how students’ identities and instructors’ personalities should be considered to cultivate classroom community, to facilitate mutual respect across differences, and to overcome the resistance to pedagogy that may stem from anti-intellectual attitudes. The root causes of anti-intellectualism, such as class background and estrangement from academic discourse, must be accounted for when developing critical classrooms. However, many of the attempts to usher in critically-informed discourse further entrench students into beliefs and stances that support anti-intellectualism. In these roundtables, participants should leave the roundtable with strategies to talk about and teach transformative classroom practices, such as game-play, discourse patterns, identity construction, classroom management, and dialogue across difference to initiate rhetorical listening and create a more engaged and trusting classroom culture. While developing strategies, participants will also consider and practice ways they might ask faculty at their local institutions to engage in similar activities. After 20 minutes of roundtable discussion, participants will return to share ideas with all workshop participants.

12:00-12:30: Reporting out and concluding workshop

(MW.04) Engaging the Global: Performing Translingual/Transmodal Pedagogies in Writing Classrooms

Sponsored by: Transnational Composition Standing Group

Level: All

Cluster: First-Year and Advanced Composition

Abstract: This workshop provides participants with specific pedagogical strategies to help leverage students’ home literacies as learning resources and to foster translingual disposition and performance.

Full description:

In the 2019 CCCC call for proposals, Vershawn Ashanti Young calls for the field to consider how performance can foster a “translingual orientation” to language and literacy. In response to this call, the Transnational Writing Workshop will bring together participants–writing teachers, researchers, and program administrators— from an array of institutions and regions of the world to explore ways of theorizing and enacting performance-based pedagogies with a translingual focus. For the past four years the workshop has “engaged the global” and transformed composition studies through the cultivation of professional relationships, conversations, and partnership among teachers/scholars of writing in the US and around the world. In the fifth edition of this workshop, we propose to continue working towards these aims in our exploration of innovative approaches that incorporate students’ translingual (or multilingual) and transmodal (or multimodal) performances as resources in writing classrooms, programs, and higher educational structures.

Central to the translingual focus is a challenge to monolingual norms and orientations in an effort to shift multilingual students from deficit positions. This move towards an asset-based approach leverages students’ home languages and literacies as key resources for teaching and learning. Critically, while a growing body of scholarship increasingly focuses on this area, there is still a need to understand how to enact such pedagogies as more embodied, holistic, and performance-based approaches. In order to work towards these aims, this workshop will engage participants in hands-on activities, assignments, and ideas led by a broad range of teacher-scholars from diverse regions of the world, including Turkey, China, Hungary, India, and the US. In total 27 facilitators (note: a number of projects are collaborative) at six different tables will ask participants to engage in workshop activities focused on translingual approaches to teaching writing. In particular the workshops will be organized around the following four areas:

1.First Year Writing (FYW). Activities in this area will focus on translingual pedagogies in FYW classrooms.

-Examining code meshing and the ways translingual texts “do” a different kind of literacy, as a set of performative moves motivating students to negotiate meaning differently.

-Exploring strategies for fostering meta-awareness and reflection on translingual and transmodal literacy practices (e.g., the creation of visual maps and drawings to foster reflection).

-Engaging in “translation” assignments in which students are asked to translate texts in their home languages into other languages and for other audiences.

-Examining contrastive and comparative approaches to global rhetorics: comparing gender representations and differing perspectives on women’s veiling through studies of popular media in other languages and cultures; comparing rhetorical tropes and styles in American and Chinese blog posts.

-Exploring ways that producing and performing creative writing pieces (e.g., poetry, autoethnography) can be used to teach and foster translingual dispositions and practices.

-Creating e-portfolios for translingual students.

2. Multimodality. This area will attend to transmodal performances grounded in the conception of language as one resource in a wider rhetorical repertoire.

-Exploring activities focused on translingual mobile gaming practices.

-Examining community engagement and service learning in multilingual communities (e.g., conducting oral history interviews and spatially mapping the narratives using Google maps).

-Incorporating “remix” and multimodal assignments into classes with multilinguals (.e.g. remixing literacy narratives into videos).

-Designing multimodal children’s story books for translingual readers.

3. Transnational Writing Program Administration/Curriculum Development. This area will focus on developing translingual workshops, learning communities, and training sessions in transnational contexts.

-Examining the ways that complex local institutional, linguistic, and cultural logics mediate the implementation and design of an English curriculum in a Turkish university in Northern Cyprus and a university in Southwest China.

-Creating a bilingual learning community and curricula in a Hispanic serving institution (HIS) in which students’ home languages (i.e., Spanish) and English are deeply interwoven throughout the courses and program.

-Facilitating collaborative online learning projects between North American and international partners, including at the Universidad Veracruzana in Mexico.

-Designing a faculty learning community that promotes translingualism and community engagement, incorporating examples of work with local organizations in the Rio Grande Valley to respond to linguistic realities and foster language awareness and academic engagement.

-Designing materials and translingual writing workshops for teachers and tutors at a community college.

4. Professional Writing. This area will attend to professional writing and communication projects and activities that involve writing in globalized professional spaces.

-Engaging students in redesign of an American product and design for a “foreign market” with which they are unfamiliar.

-Responding to job advertisements and developing resumes for opportunities outside the United States, while looking at conventions of CVs written in Spanish, Korean, and French to surface linguistic and cross-cultural frames.

-Examining a transnational collaboration in a technical communication course between universities in the U.S. and Hungary focusing on the creation of professional personas in cross-cultural contexts.

The workshop is organized in three stages: (1) a brief introductory session, (2) table rotations, and (3) full group reflection. The table-rotation format includes two major rounds of concurrent, activity-focused sessions at six tables with 4-5 facilitators each. During the final reflection, participants will highlight their key takeaways relevant for their local contexts.

In the weeks leading up to the workshop, the participants will be able to preview the workshop by accessing facilitators’ activity-based workshop materials shared in a web repository. The four co-chairs, as active users of social media platforms, will engage facilitators, registered participants, and other members of the profession in promotion and conversations about the workshop and its theme before, during, and after the workshop.

By bringing together writing teacher-scholars from various locations, the workshop is intended to promote dialogue across institutional, geographic, and linguistic borders. Our proposed workshop will provide a space for this exchange through hands-on learning activities that will enable participants to walk away with specific teaching and administrative strategies to challenge monolingual perspectives and foster translingual dispositions and performances in the context of 21st century globalization.

(MW.05) What Happens After Kansas City?: Anti-Racist Activism in Composition

Level: All

Cluster: First-Year and Advanced Composition

Abstract: This workshop uses exercises from Pedagogy and Theater of the Oppressed to examine white supremacy in composition.

Full description:

When the Executive Committee of the Conference on College Composition and Communication decided to forge ahead with its conference in Kansas City, Missouri last year, there were some members who chose not to attend. Some people argued that the NAACP’s travel advisory was a strong argument to cancel or move the conference from Missouri where Michael Brown was killed by police in 2015; student protests against the racist culture at the University of Missouri, Columbia forced the resignation of the president; and, most recently, a new law would require the plaintiff to carry the burden of proof for a case of racial discrimination.

Some faculty members of color decided that traveling to Missouri was too physically and emotionally risky, and they boycotted. Some racially privileged members decided that they would stand in alliance with the Black Caucus, Latinx Caucus, American Indian Caucus, Asian/Asian American Caucus, and Queer Caucus, and they boycotted. Others chose to attend and stand in alliance with local activists who were fighting racism and police brutality. The online wiki Four Days in Kansas City gave many academics a space to discuss what they chose to do last year and why (fourdaysinkansascity.org).

However, in the wake of this rupture in academic culture, we still need to grapple publically and bodily with the web of white supremacy in composition: at CCCCs, in our institutions, in our departments, and in our classrooms. This workshop goes to the very crux of inequity: the pervasive and persistent white supremacy that plays out – often agent-less, but occasionally with clear agents — in higher education. We will use exercises from Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed (PTO) to step into this potent moment.

Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed approaches are rarely presented at CCCCs, but they allow for surprising insights and unusual connections to happen while combining the traditions of intellectual engagement with kinesthetic learning and reflection. We will set this up as a call-and-response. The call involves the workshop leaders sharing their stories; the response involves some performative task asked of the participants. Together, workshop leaders and participants will reflect on the exchanges and risk telling many truths. Several of the leaders of this workshop are new and underrepresented voices and have not presented at CCCCs before, but they have many years of teaching experience and much to say about white supremacy in composition.

This workshop will bring the outrage about where we are into a space where we can share stories, listen with open hearts, and organize for future change in our discipline.

This workshop will create an unsafe space for the performance of white supremacy and rupture the smooth masculinist narratives of collegiality and elitism.

This workshop is not interested in where you earned your degree/s, but wants to know if you are down for the revolution.

This workshop will get you out of your mind full of grading and to-do lists and into your body–with its beauty, its emotions, and the wounds from white supremacy.

This workshop will have you doing as much movement as writing, as much talking as listening, and as much dancing as planning.

This workshop will cut through the treacle of progressive narratives of education and “workforce development” while refusing to support mythologies of noblesse oblige.

This workshop will crack you open to the stories of the violated and dispossessed within our discipline and our classrooms.

You’re already doing the work, right? So join us.

Schedule
9-9:30 Introductions and warm up exercises
9:30-9:45 First performance by facilitator one
9:45-10 Group PTO exercise
10-10:15 Second performance by facilitator two
10:15-10:30 Writing exercise
10:30-10:45 Break
10:45-11 Third performance by facilitator three
11-11:15 PTO exercise
11:15-11:30 Writing exercise
11:30-11:45 Fourth performance by group on the lure of whiteness
11:45-12 Small group work
12-12:30 Groups perform/act out/read out

(MW.06) Podcasting in the Composition Classroom

Level: All

Cluster: First-Year and Advanced Composition

Abstract: This workshop:

* Explores the benefits of creating sound artifacts in composition classrooms;

* Modifies used assignments for new (your!) contexts;

* Creates meaningful sound artifacts.

Full description:

Are you or your students avid podcast listeners? Are you addicted to The Moth, Serial, 99 Percent Invisible, Radiolab, or This American Life? How about Alice Isn’t Dead?

This workshop unearths the ways that translating text into sound allows students to heuristically examine their scholastic work from both new production and new audience perspectives.

There is significant research (for example the 2010 work of Ambrose, S.A. et al., and the 2006 work of Anderson, Atkins, Ball, Homicz Millar, Selfe and Selfe, among others) showing that multimodal activities in composition classrooms are a strong tool for teaching, reinforcing rhetorical skills and an understanding of genre/disciplinarity, and increasing student motivation; however, student-created audio is still relatively rare in composition classrooms, despite the surge in popularity that podcasts are currently experiencing.

This workshop aims to bring the multimodal design lessons found in the production of audio essays to a significantly broader audience by demonstrating how to use Audacity, (a free, open-source, cross platform audio editing application that allows users to manage large audio projects) to guide students through the audio production process in composition classes. While Audacity has a full suite of audio editing and production tools, its user interface facilitates significant production with just a few minutes of guided introduction. By focusing on the structure of assignments and the utilization of free and open source software and audio resources, this workshop is not only useful but applicable by anyone with access to a computer and internet connection. While we understand that this may not be the case for all students, all the time, the standardization of computer classrooms across most schools does afford some level of audio essay incorporation.

In this workshop, participants will brainstorm benefits to creating sound artifacts in writing classrooms. The artifacts that will be examined and discussed in this workshop include audio postcards, essays, and sound pieces as well as the “translation” work of turning text essays into sound. The session will demonstrate how these tasks are achieved in the classroom by discussing how students develop their competencies through short, sound-based narratives (“audio postcards”), focusing on such elements as voice, non-verbal sound, and interviews. Presenters will also demonstrate how, while using the creative nonfiction genre as a model, students synthesize their rhetoric, language, and technology skills by producing an original audio essay.

We will work through the process of crafting assignments, topics, and techniques to give to students. We will also, “get our hands dirty” by editing and remixing a set of provided audio files in Audacity in order to create an audio artifact. By hosting this workshop, we expect to learn along with the other participants, by sharing and reflecting on experiences in integrating sound into composition classrooms.

Presenters will also share sample student audio essays and student responses to their experiences in an audio essay course. Throughout the session, participants will be prompted to think about ways to integrate podcasts and other sound-based activities into their courses. Participants are also encouraged to bring in sample sound and/or textual essays to explore how to translate text into sound and vice versa. All levels of technical proficiency are welcome to attend.

(MW.07) Performance-Teaching, Performance-Policy: An Action-Planning Workshop for Times of Crisis

Level: All

Cluster: Institutional and Professional

Abstract: This workshop session intends to help participants generate responsible strategies and policies for responding to hate speech and coercive behaviors, especially in policy gray areas.

Full description:

This workshop will extend perplexing conversations teacher-scholars had at the Southern Regional Composition Conference in March 2018 about our roles in managing classroom behavior violations (especially ones that involve discriminatory or morally coercive behaviors) that are not blatant. Indeed, some behaviors and speech acts may not be welcome in our classrooms, but they may not truly violate a written policy. This workshop session intends to help participants generate responsible strategies and policies for responding to hate speech and coercive behaviors, especially in gray areas of policy, in classrooms where faculty and graduate students are expected to manage a safe educational atmosphere. Recognizing the situatedness of institutions in their local contexts, this session’s activities will prompt participants to reflect on ambiguity in local policy and forethink ways of responding to controversy in order to meet our ethical and professional responsibilities while protecting our students’ rights.

Gray areas created by gaps in policy and increasingly surprising student behaviors leave us uncertain how to approach controversial situations we may find ourselves in. We are also curious as to how students’ experiences with these types of situations affect their engagement (enjoyment, attendance, participation, creativity, etc.) in classes after these experiences. As we develop an agenda for this workshop, we are guided by our commitment to ensure our classrooms are safe spaces and places where students can exchange ideas freely. Some lingering question for us, then, are what are the responsibilities of teachers in protecting these safe spaces? What are the rights of our students to free speech? What spaces and places are our responsibility? What can program administrators, writing center directors, teachers, TAs, tutors, do to promote (secure?) social justice as a prerogative? What are these stakeholders’ roles in preserving democratic ideals? How can directors and tutors maintain an atmosphere free of blatant policy violations, such as hate speech, but also of more subtle coercive behaviors, such as ridicule or offensive sarcasm, in regard to controversial opinions? Complicating these issues further is the fact that one proposer’s state has passed legislation allowing concealed carry guns on college campuses. Will that sarcasm be more harmful or intimidatingwhen there’s a possibility of a student having a gun on their hip? And open the can of worms.

As engaged and responsible citizens, participants in this workshop will develop practices or heuristics for managing controversial situations in their classrooms, programs, and institutions. We expect this discussion and activity will lead to thoughtful and pragmatic approaches to cultivating responsible students, tutors, teachers, and administrators through our collective effort.

(MW.08) Cripping Performance in the First-Year Writing Classroom

Level: All

Cluster: Writing Pedagogies and Processes

Abstract: This workshop provides several strategies and activities for supercripping the first-year composition classroom.

Full description:

We have several breaks built into this workshop because if we do not enact accessibility and crip the space, then there is no point to our workshop. With that in mind, we will require a space that leaves room for participants who may use mobility aids or who may have service animals with them. In order to provide a low-stimulation environment, a room without windows is preferred, although we can make do with a curtained room. Each introduction, save the beginning introduction to cripping and supercripping, which will be a bit longer, will be around ten minutes, followed by a 20-minute activity with discussion.

Facilitator 1 will introduce the workshop participants to the idea of cripping, as it is not widely known. Claire McKinney writes in “Cripping the Classroom: Disability as a Teaching Method in the Humanities,” that, “Cripping the classroom entails developing a political understanding of disability as a socially constructed category that focuses attention on questions of accessibility as central normative concerns for interpersonal, intellectual, and social relations” (114). For this workshop, we are amplifying the idea of cripping and engaging with the theme of CCCCs 19 by centering the activities of the workshop on the performance of supercripping the first-year writing classroom. After the introduction, Facilitator 2 will report on two ongoing “cripping” syllabi: participation policies and technology policies. Participants will then engage in an activity wherein they crip something of their choice.

Facilitator 2 will then introduce the idea of supercripping feedback. One of the most time consuming and laborious things we do as educators is providing students with personalized feedback. Yet, one of the best skills we teach students is how to review feedback and revise strategically. This portion of the workshop aims to encourage and re-kindle our love for feedback through providing a foundational praxis that takes an agile approach, as well as demonstrating how utilizing techniques and technologies can engage students, making feedback motivating and accessible. This facilitator discusses a transformational coaching approach while also exploring synchronous (in the classroom, one-on-one, conferencing technologies, greenlining markups) and asynchronous approaches (podcasts, video commenting, greenlining markups, etc.), and provides a resource list to serve a starter kit for those instructors who want to explore other kinds of approaches. After the introduction, the participants will have papers/projects provided, so that they may practice supercripping feedback.

Facilitator 3 introduces how we often perform ableist rhetoric in composition—both in our foundational works, our textbooks, and our classroom practices. James L. Cherney’s “The Rhetoric of Ableism” appeared in a special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly that focused on rhetoric and disability, Cherney’s work examines the specific ways in which “rhetoric can shape the way disability is understood and (in)forms its political implications” (7) and Jay T. Dolmage’s Academic Ableism casts a wider net and examines the myriad ways in which academic structures enact ableism. For the activity, participants will be given a variety of (anonymous) works and they will identify potential ableist rhetoric in the works.
Facilitator 3 will discuss a method of supercripping via radical inclusivity. She will introduce how Nel Nodding’s ethics of care helps serves as a model for increasing empathy in the classroom. Kristie Fleckenstein’s work Embodied Literacies: Imageword and a Poetics of Teaching argues that “it [empathy] provides a starting point for transformation. Empathy enables not only the sharing of situations and perspectives, but also the changing of situations and perspectives. It is an agent of transformation” (101). Using the Digital Archive of Literacy Narrative (DALN) provides entry points for building empathy because there are literacy narratives about virtually every issue we face as humans—students can find a narrative that matches an issue they care about, which serves as fulcrum upon which students can become empathetic with the performer in the narrative. The focus then expands outward as student share their entry points with other members of the class, who then also build empathy for the performers. The activity for this section entails the participants finding narratives that interest them, watching/reading/listening to the narrative, and then writing about how these narratives change awareness and build empathy. The participants will be given example assignments, so that they can modify or use the practice in their classrooms.

Finally, Facilitator 2 will discuss User Experience (UX) and how to supercrip audience analysis pedagogy. By including UX methods, we foster better approaches to recognizing, understanding, and navigating difference. Audience remains the primary reason for producing communication, yet audience is substantially undertheorized, especially in terms of practical resources and steps to analysis, treating audience as cursory. Additionally, audience analysis is rarely approached in terms of accessibility. User Experience (UX) methods provide an approach to teaching audience analysis practically that provides concrete and actionable strategies increasing audience awareness, valuing the audience’s rhetorical and cultural context (St. Amant, 2017) thereby engendering “cultural humility” and sensitivity (Sun and Getto, 2017, p. 91). For the activity, participants will be view/listen to examples of clipping, captioning, and examining television and film to engage in accessible thinking.

(MW.09) Creating a Performative Syllabus Using “You-Attitude”

Level: All

Cluster: Writing Pedagogies and Processes

Abstract: Speakers will provide tools for writing and presenting syllabi that are more active, inclusive, and memorable to better mirror the pedagogy of our classrooms.

Full description:

Syllabi represent an important contact point between instructors and students; these documents shape first impressions of our courses and indicate our pedagogical approach. Therefore, they are a logical place to begin a discussion of the performative nature of the processes and pedagogies we value in the classroom.
Important scholarship on the work of the syllabus has discussed using Universal Design (Passman & Green 2009, Womack 2017), the “Promising” Syllabus” (Bain 2004), challenges in EFL/ESL contexts (Tabari 2013), and applications for reflection and assessment (Roberts 2013). This workshop builds from these non-traditional views of syllabi but asks participants to see the syllabus not as a static document but as performance rhetoric.
Studies of syllabi in writing courses suggest it is much more than content that matters. The language choice and tone in syllabi can affect how students perceive both themselves and the instructor (Román-Pérez, 2007 & Bowers-Campbell, 2015). Therefore, syllabi are powerful. Because of the complex position of the syllabus as a document, situated between the instructor and student, reflective of the institution and discipline, and constituting both product and process of the course, syllabi are also constrained (Afros & Schyer 2009). Looking at the syllabus as performance rhetoric instead of a static document creates space for challenging these constraints and creating documents that reflect a class and pedagogy dedicated to meeting student needs in terms of language, design, and modality. Therefore, speakers will discuss best practices in syllabi production as well as tenets of “You-Attitude” from business writing to provide participants with practical ways to reshape their syllabi documents to more performative, that is, more active, engaging, and non-traditional. In so doing we can create syllabi that are not only more accessible and inclusive to the needs of diverse learners but also more engaging.
Attendees will evaluate sample syllabi and compare/contrast language/design choices. They will also be encouraged to perform/share their own sample documents for feedback. Speakers will provide creative ideas for presenting syllabi in non-traditional ways and will discuss how the “Power of Moments” can be used to make course presentations of syllabi more memorable (Heath & Heath 2017). Ultimately, participants will gain tools to create course documents that model the inclusive and engaging pedagogy we perform in our classrooms.
Schedule & Activities:
The workshop is divided into three segments: 1) introduction of core principles of the workshop, including best practices in document design, “You-Attitude,” and creating “moments,” 2) practice with core principles introduced, 3) application of workshop principles in the participants’ own teaching contexts. Opportunities for participant engagement are included in and increase with each segment. The first segment asks participants to share their thoughts and experiences on various introductory prompts about syllabi and includes participants in interactive presentation and discussion of key concepts; the second segment encourages participants to engage workshop concepts in more depth through presenter-facilitated activities within break-out groups and in reflection on the findings shared with the whole group; the third segment provides individual and small group innovation and sharing stations for participants to choose from according to their own needs and interests as they begin to apply and experiment with workshop concepts in their own syllabi. Time is allotted for a short break between segments as well as reflection in the end on what participants are carrying from the workshop, with attention to ideas for syllabus revision and sustaining momentum for syllabus reconsideration in the future.
9-9:20: Introductions: A brief overview of activities will be introduced. Presenters 1 and 2 will facilitate group activities related to experiences and understandings of the syllabus as a document in order to establish a framework for workshop activities and outcomes.
9:20-10:20: Interactive Presentation of Core Principles with Examples: Presenter 1 will present an overview of “You-Attitude,” highlighting its 5 basic principles. Presenter 1 will answer common questions about “You Attitude,” provide specific examples of how it can be applied to syllabus creation, and link it to important discussions of best practices in syllabi creation, such as Bain’s “Promising Syllabus” (2014) and Womack’s “Teaching is Accommodation” (2017), among others.
Presenter 1 will show participants small sections of syllabi to discuss as a large group. Participants will be asked to read samples as a student would to infer the effects of certain types of language and design choices. Participants will be asked to discuss how the samples could be improved based on tenets provided so far in the workshop.
Presenter 2 will discuss performance rhetoric and the “Power of Moments” and accompanying strategies (Heath & Heath 2017). Presenter 2 will lead an interactive discussion on ways in which this philosophy can be applied to make meaningful and memorable presentations and course documents.
10:20-10:30: Break
10:30-11:20: Practicing with Core Principles: Presenters will provide syllabus samples (or participants may share their own) and participants will be given specific prompts to perform the pieces as instructor/student pairs. The participants will follow the “think, pair, share” method for discussion. Presenter 1 and 2 will circulate among the groups to help aid discussion and answer questions. Presenters will ask for “think, pair, share” groups to reflect upon their discussions and report back to the large group.
11:20-11:30 Break
11:30-12:10: Application/Performance of Core Principles: Presenters 1 and 2 will provide several stations that participants can visit to experiment with new strategies, practice innovative presentations, and brainstorm/share innovations related to their own course materials.
12:10-12:30: Wrap up, final reflections, next steps, and questions. Presenter 1 will discuss practical strategies towards ongoing syllabus revision and reconsideration (Lang 2006, Roberts 2013). Presenter 2 will facilitate reflections and wrap-up.
Meeting day and space requirements:
We could complete this workshop as a Wednesday morning or afternoon workshop. We could also do this workshop Saturday afternoon. We would need a projector for notes and examples that is able to hook up to a computer or is already hooked to computer. Small tables (preferably round) would be nice for group activities.

(MW.10) Co-Performing and Transforming the Labor of Feedback

Level: All

Cluster: Writing Pedagogies and Processes

Abstract: Informed by a question-based pedagogy that promotes writerly agency by teaching students to solicit feedback, participants revise their syllabi and practice/perform six classroom activities.

Full description:

The prevailing pedagogical roles in the feedback process usually break down in this way: I, the instructor, perform the role of omniscient director telling students what to do, and students perform the role of novice actor, incorporating my authoritative, privileged voice and advice. But, what if performing composition privileged a different role for both the student and instructor, creating a student-centered space where students initiate a dialogue for feedback? Performance composition means that students take a director’s role in the feedback process, allowing us as instructors to hear our students’ individual, diverse voices and creating a space for students to request and receive the feedback they need.

We have developed a pedagogy teaching students how to develop their directors’ roles. Students learn how to solicit feedback about their writing that actively engages them in revision. With this model, the charge to “Get feedback” becomes a dialogue, not a command. In so doing, the performance of feedback rhetoric, in the words of Andrea Lunsford, “gets up off the page and marches out” and off the margins of students’ papers into deep revision.

At last year’s conference in Kansas City, we presented our question-based pedagogy research and practice to an engaged audience from a range of institutions and institutional types, and they asked for more. In response to their clear request, we propose a workshop that will enable instructors to perform this pedagogy in partnership with their students.

We came to this project by asking the following question–How can inquiry-based learning be applied to the writing classroom? Most inquiry-based research is in scientific disciplines (Edelson, 1999), and existing writing research on feedback focuses on the instructor to writer exchange. Almost no research provides pedagogical help aiding student-initiated feedback. What does exist only encourages students to “[g]et feedback” but does not say how (Formo and Stallings, 2014). Thus, we began an innovative pedagogy research project in an effort to fill these gaps.

We created a pilot program that teaches students how to solicit feedback about their writing. In our question-based courses, students must ask 1-3 questions for feedback about their early and final drafts. Students, then, reflect on the responses to their questions throughout the semester. Using grounded theory, we analyzed 162 end-of-semester reflection essays in which students analyzed the questions they asked about their writing, the feedback they received, and their overall experience in the process. Our findings suggest students
1. Improve their ability to ask questions about their writing
2. Incorporate feedback from both peers and instructors
3. Transfer their question-asking from this course to others (self-reported)
Taken together, the findings suggest that this question-based pedagogy promotes investment in performative dialogue between writers and readers which in turn engenders writerly agency.

This workshop actively engages participants in a series of activities that invites them to think pedagogically and metacognitively about the feedback they provide the writers in their classrooms and the ways in which they teach writers to solicit feedback about their writing. Together the workshop facilitators and participants will perform question-based pedagogy.

Half-day workshop schedule:
1:00 pm: Speaker 1 asks participants to provide feedback on a student essay as they normally would. Then, Speaker 1 facilitates a large group discussion about the feedback participants provide on the student’s essay.
1:20 pm: Speaker 2 presents our project’s genesis, including an interactive “useful/useless feedback” exercise that nods to the research on feedback. She then contextualizes the need for question-based pedagogy
1:40 pm: Speakers 1, 3, and 4 provides a brief presentation of this question-based research project.
2:00 pm: The speakers facilitate a large-group discussion to field any questions.
2:05 pm: Speaker 3 asks participants to go back to the student essay from the beginning of the workshop. Then, participants answer the student’s questions about his or her essay. Participants conduct question-based feedback. Speaker 3 follows this activity with a large-group discussion.
2:20 pm: Speaker 4 walks participants through a guided syllabus revision activity. Speaker 4 explains how to revise a syllabus so that it reflects a question-based pedagogy.
2:45 pm: Speaker 3 walks participants through a question-based thesis workshop. Participants perform the workshop as if they were students.
3:10 pm: Speaker 1 facilitates a question-based online paragraph workshop. Participants perform the workshop as if they were students.
3:35 pm: Speaker 4 facilitates a question-based classroom activity where participants formulate critical thinking questions about a text.
4:00 pm: Speaker 3 elaborates on the Question Log and Reflection assignment and participants modify the assignment to integrate it into their courses.
4:20 pm: This activity happens behind the scenes of the workshop. Speaker 2 will gather questions the participants ask during each activity. The speaker records participants’ questions in a Google Doc in order to illustrate the types of question banks students generate in the speakers’ courses.
Through these six activities, participants learn how to transfer this question-based pedagogy into their own classrooms.
4:40 pm: Q and A

At the conclusion of this half-day workshop, participants will have revised one of his or her writing course syllabi informed by a question-based pedagogy. They will have also engaged in six activities that they can include in their own question-based pedagogy courses. This workshop acts as a rehearsal for the question-based pedagogies they may choose to perform in their own classrooms.

(MW.11) Beyond Grammar Hacks: Resources for Play and Performance

Sponsored by: The Linguistics, Language, and Writing Standing Group

Level: 4-year

Cluster: Writing Pedagogies and Processes

Abstract: Introduces the grammar knowledge and practices that help writers perform their voices in specific rhetorical situations.

Full description:

The study and practice of grammar includes learning about and manipulating the resources in language for creating meaning in specific rhetorical situations. Building on work in linguistics this workshop presents concrete, practical classroom activities that offer participants key concepts and activities for incorporating grammar awareness and practice in the writing classroom.

Wednesday, 9:00 am–12:30 pm
Schedule
9:00 Welcome, introduction, logistics (10 mins)
9:10 Speakers 1 and 2 (5 mins)
9:15 Concurrent activities (35 mins) & small group reflection (5 mins)
9:55 Short break
10:00 Speakers 3 and 4 (5 mins)
10:05 Concurrent activities (35 mins) & small group reflection (5 mins)
10:45 Long break
10:55 Speakers 5 and 6 (5 mins)
11:00 Concurrent activities (35 mins) & small group reflection (5 mins)
11:40 Short break
11:35 Speakers 7 and 8 (5 mins)
11:40 Concurrent activities (35 mins) & small group reflection (5 mins)
12:20 Whole group reflection and conclusion

Speaker 1. “Performative Grammar”: Grammar gives us choices in how to express ourselves, and this brings risks and opportunities. This workshop considers the risks and opportunities we face in expressing disagreement, and demonstrates how the grammar of negation is a resource to negotiate those challenges. Exercises will highlight the ways that uses of negation have consequences not just for the logic of an argument, but also for things like tone, tempo, and writerly ethos.

Speaker 2. “Tools, Not Rules: Grammatical Choices, Performative Effects”: Not only do writers construct and perform sentences, readers also construct and perform readings of those sentences. The intonational rhythms in the reader’s mind, which provide focus and meaning, begin with the writer’s sentences. In this workshop, participants will explore ways to help students see their sentences as grammatical constructions and intentional performances with an audience. We’ll develop practical ways to equip students with the vocabulary of grammar and an awareness of the rhetorical context of certain rules, and to help them see grammar as a set of tools that we can name, describe, and use to perform intentional sentences.

Speaker 3. “Other People’s Grammar”: Speaker 3 invites participants to consider the writing classroom as a contact zone for dialogue about diversity in grammar. Examples from the Code-Meshing Pedagogy website (dslab.lib.rochester.edu/code-meshing) will be used to model such a discussion. How do the examples reveal ways in which grammar performs and effects actions? What role does the audience play? Participants will then explore how, depending on the demographics of their classes, code-meshing might be employed in course materials or writing projects to heighten student awareness of and appreciation for multiplicity and social equity in grammar (Young, Barrett, Young-Rivera, & Lovejoy; Royster; Gees).

Speaker 4. “Playing with and Performing Punctuation”: Speaker 4 will demonstrate a playful, performance-based pedagogy for punctuation. Participants will be asked to perform, using their voices, different ways of punctuating a text, along with the contexts that make those punctuation choices meaningful. We’ll play with both “straightforward” and “wild and crazy” ways of punctuating various texts, each time asking: “Can we make this mean something? And what’s the context in which this punctuation can make this meaning?” By using this approach in our own classrooms, we create opportunities to discuss not just grammar, but the myriad ways in which meanings are created in context.

Speaker 5. “The Sentence Act”: By its nature, the sentence performs its meaning for the reader. Wonderfully flexible–with its intrusive interruptions (or whispered asides)—the sentence invites the writer to play with rhythm and stress, to create meaning through voice. Through such play, the text becomes a vocal performance, something heard and felt by the reader (Elbow). In this workshop, participants will learn about and experiment with end-focus (Halliday), sentence flexibility, and parentheticals (Palacas) as ways to connect meaning and voice in writing. Participants will experience the sentence as a resource for performing meaning and leave with activities that they can bring into their own classrooms.

Speaker 6. “Constructing Paragraphs Inside Out”: Illustrating the use of Cognitive Construction Grammar, speaker 6 shows how linguistic attention can aid larger argumentative goals. For example, the construction [by X, I mean Y] redefines a shared concept (X) using a narrower meaning (Y) imposed by the writer. Other constructions include [It’s like X], a simile construction, and [While X, nevertheless Y], a counterargument construction. For any of these constructions to work, writers have to build specific kinds of content before and after their usages, making them ideal tools for building paragraphs for different purposes. Audience members are encouraged to develop their own paragraphs using these constructions.

Speaker 7. “Revealing our Tacit Knowledge of Grammar”: Participants will perform the role of actively engaged students who demonstrate their tacit knowledge of grammar with guidance from an instructor (the presenter). Using meaning and our everyday experience, we will connect the syntactic fluency we share with the terminology we need to discuss ways to play around with our sentences to achieve different effects. During this process, we will identify and resolve ambiguity, consider rhetorical and stylistic factors, and examine options for sentence-level punctuation. Note: Sentence-level units (which need not be sentences) are preferred here to avoid problems with lexical ambiguity.

Speaker 8. “Extending Grammar-Power through Chekhovian Technique”: Speaker 8 focuses on the benefits of teaching grammar-power through stylistic imitation in the context of crafting a moving short story. Following the speaker’s analysis of a specific Chekhovian technique, participants will examine student efforts (both early drafts and revisions), learn about revision exercises informed by grammatical theory, and discuss ways of adapting imitation assignments to their own teaching contexts. Among other things, the choice of author to imitate is not a negligible matter; one of Chekhov’s main themes being how human communication works and how it breaks down, his stories are an apt choice for a communication classroom.

(MW.12) The Art of Performing “This is Fine”: Addressing the Impact of Trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) on Students, Teachers, and Programs

Level: All

Cluster: Writing Programs

Abstract: This workshop will provide theoretical and practical approaches for incorporating trauma-informed practices in the writing classroom.

Full description:

Despite the challenges and limitations we face as non-mental health professionals, first-year composition teachers often bear witness to troublesome mental or behavioral health issues. Regardless of their own personal comfort level in dealing with the messy realities of their students’ lives, there is much that a caring educator can do to support students as they manage their mental health in the college classroom. This workshop will coach participants in developing such approaches for their unique classrooms, programs, and campuses using trauma-informed practices and structures that employ the central tenets of this emerging field.

Students today are often are anxious, agitated, and seemingly fragile in ways folks love to debate (see, for instance, “Why Are Today’s College Students So Emotionally Fragile?” and Yahoo columnist Liz Goodwin’s April 2015 feature article on Tulane University’s emerging mental health crisis for examples). As Universities worldwide start to raise awareness about student mental health (see the U.K.’s #stepchange campaign aimed at universities “adopting mental health as a strategic imperative”), many instructors in the U.S. are worried about their students and about themselves; they are overwhelmed and underprepared when hearing trauma narratives, drying office hour tears, or from wondering why only four students can make it through an entire semester of composition even after they’ve softened just about every policy, deadline, and conversation they ethically can.

In Mad At School, Margaret Price describes the “theoretical and material schism” between mental disability and the academy. “Academic discourse operates not just to omit, but to abhor mental disabilityadversity and all–to our institutions every day. Writing teachers, in particular, see the impact of the toll of performing “this is fine,” like the popular meme dog sipping coffee in the middle of a burning inferno, nearly every day. Given intense pressures to “perform well,” the quiet and pervasive effects of adverse childhood experiences and trauma not only go unnoticed but are perhaps inflamed by the academy’s valuation of reason.

This proposed workshop seeks to counter tendencies in the academy to willfully ignore, deny, or minimize the impact of ACEs and trauma on our students, our institutions, and on ourselves. While innovating trauma-informed approaches to pedagogies, curriculum, and program design using a range of interdisciplinary theories from mindfulness studies to neurobiology, we reject tropes that cast the problem as a “touchy-feely” approach to the writing classroom. We see performances of “this is fine” as symptomatic of the pressures placed on people and programs to rationalize these problems as more appropriate for a clinical context.

We take action on this issue by helping participants better understand the mental health needs of their students. Specifically, this workshop will introduce attendees to the emerging concept of trauma-informed practice–a social service approach that seeks to account for and assist individuals who are dealing with the aftereffects of trauma. These aftereffects, according to neuroscientist Bruce Perry, can include Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptomatology, such as dissociative reactions (appearing “out of it”), aggression, absenteeism, and trouble meeting deadlines. However, even reactions that don’t meet diagnosable PTSD criteria impact learning significantly. Perry notes that such learners are often, at baseline, farther along the fight-or-flight continuum than their non-traumatized peers, making it more difficult for them to commit information to long term memory or effectively process sensory information.

Workshop participants will gain a general understanding of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) science and research; clinical definitions of trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); and information about vicarious traumatization. More specifically, the workshop will focus on how individual instructors and writing programs at a variety of institutions can draw on research and an emerging set of guidelines to develop their own institution- and classroom-specific models for implementing trauma-informed education.

Because writing programs are only now becoming aware of ACEs research and Trauma Informed (TI) approaches, we will also provide an overview of what TI-aware organizations look like in clinical contexts, and the implications of clinical contexts for writing classrooms.

The workshop will include:

–An overview of the extant research on ACEs, trauma, and college student populations;
–Clinical definitions of trauma, trauma-informed, and PTSD;
Information about vicarious traumatization;
–Intersectional identities and ACEs science, addressing awareness of ACEs in terms of raced, classed, gendered, [dis]abled, and “othered” bodies;
–Understanding your limitations as a non-mental health professional; and
–Sharing specific challenging classroom and campus scenarios, and brainstorming potential TI approaches to address these scenarios.

Additionally, participants will engage in at least four activities:

Activity One: Use what you’ve learned about ACEs science and trauma-informed approaches to analyze the “Habits of Mind” document. Ask yourself: Are any of these approaches potential barriers? Which approaches might already be “trauma-informed?”

Activity Two: Identify rhet/comp/WPA theories, practices, and pedagogies you believe are (perhaps without stating it) already trauma-aware. What makes them so?

Activity Three: Thinking of ACEs and TI-approaches to designing rhet/comp programs and/or courses might be understood as a matter of universal design. Redesign your first-year composition course as a mash-up experience of UD principles and TI-approaches. What has changed? What has stayed the same?

Activity Four: How can your assignment design and assessment practices use TI approaches to create a classroom space that holds compassion at its center and allows students to participate from a variety of perspectives? Please note, this does not mean developing trauma-focused assignments.

These activities will offer participants opportunities to adapt TI-aware approaches to educational systems, writing programs, and their classrooms.

(MW.13) Soundwriting in the Composition Classroom: Why and How

Level: All

Cluster: Writing Pedagogies and Processes

Abstract: Come make some noise with us! Create aural representations. Explore how and why soundwriting (re)invigorates writing classrooms and increases access.

Full description:

Sound is getting more and more attention in rhetoric and composition. Scholars in our field have recently documented a “growing body of scholarship on digital and sonic rhetoric” (Rodrigue et al., 2016) that has created “an emergent scholarly community in rhetoric and sound studies” (Stone, 2015). They note such work is “a complement to the field’s interests in visual rhetorics and multimodal composition” (Hocks & Comstock, 2017), in large part because work in digital and sonic rhetoric is committed to both “thorough explorations of sonic rhetorical strategies and a presentation of a new digital pedagogical approach” (Rodrigue et al., 2016). This workshop invites participants to understand why work in sound fits so well with what we do and how to compose and teach with digital audio.

We know that performance is inherent in all rhetorical acts, but we sometimes forget that audio is a modality that shines a spotlight on the performative aspects of rhetorical communication, for students and teachers alike. When we soundwrite, we can hear what we cannot readily see. Writing becomes not just a series of assignments students complete for the teacher-audience-of-one, but rather rhetorical performances that students plan, perform, produce, and publish for audiences well beyond the classroom. In many cases, students assume new voices and roles as they experiment with the rhetorical flourishes and identity-play especially suited to the sonic mode.

Though it may seem that this workshop requires hearing, we welcome participants who do not hear or see and faculty who anticipate teaching students for whom audio and photographic content are unavailable. The workshop will directly address accessibilities for a variety of learners.

In this workshop, participants will join our growing community of sound scholars who teach students to compose with audio through a series of hands-on activities that will include: understanding the affordances of sound and the constraints of the aural mode, guided sound-editing, discussion of best practices for teaching audio, consideration of the value of sound for teachers and students who do not hear, and reflection on the value of soundwriting for the writing classroom.

Throughout the morning, we will be guided by and return to five questions:

Why try a given writing activity in audio?
Why use sound to teach writing and rhetoric?
What are the best practices for teaching with audio?
Where can teachers and students find audio assets for soundwriting?
How can we develop and improve audio-editing skills with Audacity?

The workshop facilitators are all editors or authors of a forthcoming volume of new work on the theory and praxis of soundwriting instruction. In their own writing classrooms, these facilitators regularly integrate soundwriting, and they are thus teacher-scholars fully immersed in the “why” and “how” of bringing audio into writing instruction.

In preparation for the workshop, participants should do the following:

1. Download the free audio editing software Audacity and the LAME MP3 encoder (Audacity will give instructions on how to do so) onto your personal computer.

2. Bring this computer with you to the workshop, along with headphones.

3. Also bring a personal photograph (or have one easily accessible) for a sonic activity.

Workshop Schedule Overview

9:00 – 9:20 am
Introduction to the Value of Audio in Rhetoric and Writing Classrooms
Definitions and Examples of “Affordances” and “Constraints”
Introductions, Goals and Experiences We Bring to the Workshop

In addition to offering participants an introduction to sonic rhetoric and writing, we want to expand the community of soundwriting teachers by giving time for participants to share how they currently use sound in their writing classrooms and/or their soundwriting pedagogy aspirations.

9:20 – 9:30 am
Workshop Overview: Sonic Activity & Examples

Facilitators will describe the workshop agenda and goals and introduce the activity participants will engage in. The activity calls for participants to compose an alphabetic description of a photograph, then translate that description into soundwriting that uses music, voice, and sound effects. The facilitators will share a few examples to provide insight into the potentials of the activity.

9:30 – 9:45 am
Alphabetic Translation of a Visual Artifact (Photograph)

Drawing on all five senses, create an alphabetic representation of this photograph. Use as much detail as possible.

9:45 – 10:30 am
Audio Editing Skills Introduction and Guided Practice

Facilitators will circulate as participants experiment with Audacity (audio editing software). Please note that the workshop does not presume knowledge of the software; we will accommodate participants at many levels of audio editing experience. Our goal is to show how accessible this program is for students and teachers alike and to share some of our favorite tricks and features.

10:30 – 10:45 am
Finding and Ripping Audio Assets

We will share our favorite strategies for finding assets and including them in soundwriting. We will also address best practices for the ethical use of others’ creative work.

10:45 am – 12:00 pm
Create a Sonic Representation of a Visual Image

This time is for guided “making” and “creating.” While participants work on their own computers, facilitators will circulate, offering advice, answering questions, and sharing insights.

12:00-12:10 pm
Alphabetic Reflection on Sonic Activity

Participants will write for ten minutes responding to these questions: What did this activity teach you about the affordances and constraints of sound? What kinds of insights, questions, or challenges emerged as you created your sonic representation? What did this activity teach you about what you need to do to support your students in composing with sound?

12:10 – 12:30 pm
Share and Discuss

Facilitators will invite participants to present their reflections and will facilitate a larger discussion about sonic rhetoric in the classroom.

Ultimately, soundwriting opens new space for bringing the creativity and unpredictability of student work, student identity, and student performance into the writing classroom. Join us for a morning of teaching and learning together.

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