Blog Post for May 3 Readings

I really enjoyed reading this week’s piece titled “Places of Learning” by Elizabeth Ellsworth. Specifically in the introduction, I found myself engaged and listening as influences from Shipka and even Murray seemed to echo in my ears: Process over product, multi-modality, affect, the body as materiality…

Throughout this semester I have found myself aligning with scholars like Murray and Shipka who are pushing students (as well as teachers and even the university) to consider other means of composition in order to engage with the process. Ellsworth asks: “How does the fact of human embodiment affect activities of teaching and learning?” (2). This question makes me think of my own rhetorical strategies and teaching philosophies. Teaching a first year writing course, as well as being a graduate instructor, means a very restricted agenda to an extent. Throughout the readings this semester, I want to challenge myself as a teacher and as a student to see if I can engage students to experience this “affect” or embodiment of learning. One of the main threads I noticed throughout this reading was trying to teach for an experience. Often times, the experience is argued to only be achieved during the process of learning. The product has a stigma of unimportance—and I agree to this point. I want my students to engage in the process of their writing, the experience of revision, and attempt to achieve something inside rather than only write for external reward (the grade). Though this may be difficult to implement in a first year writing course, I certainly want to begin the challenge by focusing on the processes of my own writing. I hope that by doing so I can experience this “learning self” and affect and, in turn, expand my own practices and understanding of rhetorical vehicles. Writing has always been an experience for me as a student; however, I want this experience to transfer over to my teaching as well in order to achieve pedagogical anomaly. I truly believe that stepping away from restricted meanings for “composition” will lead to an experience within the body. I wonder how we could get students, in a first year comp course, to achieve affect.

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