In class tonight (1-30), Joanna Schreiber visited. Joanna teaches at Georgia Southern, and we both have developed an interest in understanding the service course. The goal of Joanna’s visit was to bring in a different perspective about what is important to the approach of teaching the service course both from a research perspective, as well as a practice perspective.
Some of the main points that Joanna brought up that are important and need to be remembered and carried forward through the rest of the term (and your teaching of the service course): Genre can be a rich way to teach but it is vital that they not be flattened to reduce the rhetorical complexities that students will need to address in the workplace. This goes to the ongoing point that I’ve made several times that we need to teach proposing and not proposals.
I really appreciated her point that thinking through he differences (if there really are any) is a useful programmatic and course level exercise because it gets at the power dimensions and ethical orientation to course and program design and how other stakeholder views fits into that. Often times other stakeholders on campus do not know what we do so it’s important to make sure (from the programmatic level) that someone is having conversations with other stakeholders.
Joanna also gave some really specific advice on how to teach that is worth repeating here:
- Rhetorical foundation is key
- Genres can be good but they need to have dimensions
- Assignment sequences
- Metacognitive moves through classroom exercises
- Not a quiz course (where they read and you give them a quiz). Needs to be focused on application of the concepts
And finally, she really brought home the idea that writing is more than an end product. Writing is knowledge work and the service course is the ideal location to help students see how writing and their content specialties can come together in important ways.
Once Joanna finished up her visit, I appreciate the discussion that we had that ran the gamut about the politics and the institutional pressure on the service course. I appreciated the idea that you are putting together the pieces to understand the different pressures that can be placed on a single course (or series of courses) and how that can impact pedagogical and programmatic decisions.
Textbook Assignment Debrief
We then moved on to connecting Joanna’s visit to the textbook assignment. I loved the idea of what is a textbook supposed to do? In short, the textbook is a tool to help get students started around key ideas and concepts. It shouldn’t be a crutch that you rely on too much to the point you lose your own creativity.
The consensus was that there were parts to the books that you liked and parts that you didn’t. But this assignment will help us to determine what you think needs to be included in our custom textbook and the approach we should make in creating cases or scenarios.
The textbook discussion was also really lively as the debates ranged from the ethics of assigning expensive books to how books should be integrated into the classroom. Y’all had strong opinions about too many books, books that are not really used, books that take over the classroom, and so much more. I didn’t take good notes, but I did leave class feeling as though we did a great job of dissecting and critiquing the textbook’s place in a class and for pedagogy.