May 3rd Post

Part of Ellesworth’s goal is to move away from binary modes of thinking and “create concepts and languages that release and redirect the forces now locked up in such binaries by addressing them not as separate and in relations of opposition but rather as complex moving webs of interrelations” (3). In doing so, students can experience modes of learning and thought which embrace “the lived experience of our learning selves that make the thing we call knowledge” (1). Of course there is no single pedagogy that can be transplanted in each classroom in order to enact this type of learning, but I was most interested in Ellesworth’s use of architecture to provide examples of how this type of Learning (with a capital L) can be experienced. Although Ellesworth may only be using these examples to express how this type of knowledge creation functions, I think it could be beneficial to express the theories behind this pedagogy directly with students. Within a composition classroom, a main goal could not only be allowing students to experience this active knowledge making, but promoting an awareness of it that also disrupts the many binaries that often limit thought processes. This awareness could be promoted in a manner similar to Jody Shipka’s questions about the rhetorical choices made in multimodal compositions (114).

However, the questions could not only be applied to students’ choices in their compositions, but also their responses to previously composed pieces or environments, specifically with a focus on more corporeal experiences, such as that modeled in the “The Materiality of Pedagogy” chapter, which focused on responses to Holocaust Memorial Museum and the Center for Contemporary Art. More specifically, it may be important scaffolding to reflect on where most of their formal education occurs – within the traditional classroom. Students could examine the ways the material aspects of a classroom function to promote a specific type of learning or even a limited format of discourse. What classroom features work to influence this? What changes in classrooms influence modes of thought? Are changes still limited within the confines of a classroom setting? Exploring these ideas directly may help to disrupt the mind/body binary into something more fluid. However, these ideas would have to translate to student’s own compositions, which is where the theories and examples of Alexander and Rhodes would be useful.

How could we apply some of the activities of Alexander and Rhodes to Ellesworth’s discussion?

Think of the classroom specifically as a material environment, in what ways do you see it affecting students in a corporeal sense? How does this relate to the type of learning promoted?

Ellesworth mentions the thinking/feeling binary. In what ways do you see this binary affecting the ways students currently see their compositions and the compositions of others?


Class Synthesis, Redesigining Composition for Multilingual Realities, Jay Jordan

We opened the class discussing Jordan’s main project in his text. Together, we proposed that Jordan’s main project is for composition to broaden itself as a field and discipline in a way that understands, examines, and utilizes the multilingual and multicultural realities that make up college classrooms. Jordan discusses the flexibility and fluidity of language and interactions and negotiations between users to call scholars to research unexamined areas of linguistics, ESL, English, and composition, to provide a linguistically diverse composition pedagogy that understands and encourages the negotiations between multilingual and monolingual students. Ultimately, through revisiting and redefining commonly used terms within English classrooms and composition, Jordan’s work provides a framework for intercultural composition to rethink communication and knowledge production in a way that fosters communication, values multilingual speakers, and connects users.

The following are some of the pertinent terms discussed in class in terms of the text:

-Traditional composition: Acts as a gate-keeper (especially for multilingual students), perpetuates notions that diversity is a hindrance (or “disease”), needs redefined

-Comp: Represents Jordan’s ideas of compensation, competence, composition, and composing as related to multilingual presence within composition, seeks to join fields of linguistics, ESL, English(es), and composition in a more unified, complementary way

-Intercultural composition: Puts the previously mentioned fields within conversation (linguistics, ESL, composition)

-Users: A term to replace other commonly used terms for students that employ English (native vs. non-native, second, third, language learners, etc.) in a way that assumes ability and agency

We also discussed how Jordan bases many of his ideas on the theories of Kenneth Burke. He uses Burke to explore ideas of consubstantiality and how we construct open discourses through our use of language. However, our use of language is often seen as competitive in nature. In order to fully incorporate the multiple competencies of multilingual and multicultural students, it is necessary to allow students to see how discourse can be used to construct meaning through open discourses that rely more on identifying with others. In this way, students can see themselves as creators of knowledge through shared experiences through language.

This relates to Jordan’s ideas on writing “about” and “within” cultural experiences. We explore how it might look to write “within” a culture, as opposed to writing “about,” which runs the risk of othering the culture of study. We came to the conclusion that reflection and open discourse were necessary, but it may take a larger shift in thinking that would need to happen across curriculums. Perhaps the full implementation of Jordan’s ideas are utopian and unrealistic in a way that it does not address the many stakeholders involved in a composition course on micro and macro levels. Similarly, we discussed the difficulty of employing his work that entirely disrupts composition in a pedagogical way that motivates changes on an individual basis. However, we again stressed the importance and possible benefits of conversation that fosters learning from one another to generate meaning and knowledge.

For the following class, Dr. Campbell will revisit the text to explain Bahktin’s heteroglossia, dialogue, and Discourse.

Community-Engaged Pedagogies – A Snapshot


“What is community-engaged pedagogy and how will it help students in a writing course?”

  • Promotes writing that is shaped and based in the public sphere, creating authentic purposes and audiences not available outside of the classroom.
  • Implementation depends on different factors, such as what an instructor defines as “the community”
  • Can include writing as, for, and about the community
  • Most successful instruction is based in rhetorical theory stressing multiple discourses
  • It has been supported since the social turn of composition (stems from critical pedagogy)

“How do I find community partnerships for my students?”

  • Utilize students who are community members
  • Take advantage of existing relationships between organizations and the university
  • Forming relationships takes time, but reciprocal communication is a crucial aspect – learn the social expectations and discourse of the organization/community

“What kinds of writing assignments work best for such courses?”

  • Marketing aspects for organizations are common – this gives students a new sense of authority in the public sphere.
  • Research projects allow for self-education and can be used to help students write and learn about a discourse or an issue they will be involved with.
  • Reflective writing is very important and can be supplemented with critical readings so the reflections can go beyond personal reactions to an issue. Reflections allow students to work through community issues they have encountered.
  • Instructors should recognize their own limit to understanding the textual practices and rhetoric of the sites students work in.