Myth in the Classroom, take two

I know you’ve been holding your breath for the second installment of my musings on and eternal search for effective stereotype-breaking strategies. So here goes. Today I take on the elusive term “race” as a myth that students approach rather curiously: with great resentment. And I think I’ve figured out at least part of the reason why. Let me try to explain:
I attempted to have a conversation with my students this week about white privilege. They read “The End of White America?” by Hua Hsu, published in The Atlantic in 2009. I also had them look at this hilarious video made by Smirnoff in 2006, which Hsu mentions.

So, they had read (or were supposed to have read) Hsu’s essay on the “beiging” of the white race in the United States, the increasing diversity of American popular culture, and the ensuing backlash against multiculturalism and retrenchment into whiteness. Continue reading

Venturing into Unfamiliar Territory: Visualizations of the Oral Mode in the Classroom

Last week I ventured into largely-unknown territory for me – speech analysis and a consideration of the oral mode. Unknown, I say, because even though teaching involves vast amounts of time standing before an audience and, well, speaking, I have never formally studied speech at length: no speech communication class,… Continue reading

Skiles Breezeway or Blackfriars Theatre?

This week I’m teaching Francis Beaumont’s The Knight of the Burning Pestle as part of my English 1102 course on London City Comedy. The play is usually identified as a breakthrough Early Modern parody (of other plays like The Shoemaker’s Holiday and The Four Prentises) and one of the first English plays to break the fourth wall. Continue reading

Postmodern Theory in Multimodal Composition

Ever since Baudrillard found his way into my dissertation (I have no memory of inviting him—suddenly he was there, like Jack Nicholson in that picture at the end of The Shining), I’ve been curious about how he’d fare in an undergraduate classroom. His postmodern and Nietzschean sympathies make him entertaining… Continue reading

Teachable Moments: The "Gallery Walk"

Gallery Walk

This semester I have the privilege to be a participant in the Class of 1969 Teaching Scholars program here at Georgia Tech.  We (a small group of faculty members, instructors, and staff from a variety of disciplines) meet once a week to discuss issues related to our seminar topic, “student engagement.”  I am learning so much from our sessions, not only from the readings and discussions, but from the techniques our seminar leaders use to engage us with the topic at hand.
his week I took part in an exercise that I’m now excited to try in my class:  the gallery walk.
The exercise required us to read an article on how students learn, looking at the way the brain changes when new information is stored and recalled.  Continue reading

Encouraging Better Class Discussions

Grammar tag cloud on Visible Tweets

This semester, I am teaching an honors section of ENGL1101, aka first-year composition. The students are awesome, and I am really enjoying the experience. Recently, though, I discovered that in addition to providing an opportunity to work with great, motivated students drawn from a close-knit learning community, Georgia Tech’s honors… Continue reading

Disciplinary Boundaries and the Multimodal Classroom

Disciplinary Boundaries and the Multimodal Classroom: Professional Resistance in English Departments Three key themes: 1. The Multimodal Classroom: Digital Pedagogy (Michelle DiMeo) 2. Interdisciplinary Research and the Job Market (Chris Weedman) 3. Navigating the Disciplinary Minefield: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Composition (Kate Tanski) 1. The… Continue reading

Wikileaks: A Teachable Moment?

A persistent challenge I face when teaching my course “Media, Culture, Society” is talking to students about “bias”. Students are routinely taught that bias is fundamentally a bad thing; it’s associated with illicit behavior, with secret motivations, hidden agendas, an invidious ideology. Its typical counterpoint–and one that is imbued with… Continue reading