Teaching in All Seasons: Poetics, Ideal Tendencies, and Food Literacy

SUMMER   “Once I remember looking into the freezer can the next morning and finding the leftover ice cream had all returned to milk. It was like the disappearance of Cinderella’s new clothes.” (Lewis 53) Midway through my Spring composition course, “Food Literacy of Atlanta,” my students and I had… Continue reading

Sonnets @ Tech: The Pedagogy of Writing as Making

When modernist poet William Carlos Williams antagonistically announced, “To me all sonnets say the same thing of no importance. What does it matter what the line ‘says’?”, I wonder whether or not he’d approve of poet and punk rock singer Matt Hart playfully directing students to arrange and rearrange pieces… Continue reading

Flash Readings, Episode 6: “Colson Whitehead Will Break You, Too”

In Flash Reading 6, Brittain Fellow Matt Dischinger analyzes a scene from the South Carolina chapter of The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead’s prize-winning novel set in the antebellum United States. In this scene, the protagonist, named Cora, gives the “evil eye” to a former charge, Maisie, who doesn’t recognize her in costume as a… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 26: “The Big Machines That Are Coming To Take Our Jobs”

In this episode, we talk to Brittain Fellow, TECHStyle co-editor, and frequent Office Hour guest Anna Ioanes in order to dispel some myths about online and hybrid teaching. Are EdTech companies like Khan Academy and Minerva Schools gunning for our jobs? And what about MOOCs like the University of Pennsylvania’s ModPo? We discuss current scholarship and debates on… Continue reading

Information Overload, or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Social Media

The longer I teach, the more aware I become of a growing ideological separation between myself and my students. It’s not that I’m morphing into an out-of-touch, elbow patch-wearing professor (OK, I do have elbow patches), but there is definitely a widening divide, and over time, I’ve come to realize… Continue reading

Why Not?: On Punk and Pedagogy

Not long before the Primitives changed their name to the Velvet Underground, the band’s singer, Lou Reed, wrote to his Syracuse University professor, poet Delmore Schwartz, I decided that I’m very very good and could be a good writer if i work and work. i know thats what ive got to… Continue reading

Applications Open for 2018-2019 Brittain Fellowship

Applications are being accepted for a new cohort of Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellows through February 1. 2018. The job ad has been posted at Inside Higher Ed, and also appears below. The Writing and Communication Program at Georgia Tech seeks recent PhDs (dissertation successfully defended by August 2018) in… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 25: “Alt-Ac”

In The Office Hour‘s 25th episode, Dr. Ruthie Yow––former Brittain Fellow (2015-17), current Service Learning and Partnerships Specialist for Serve Learn Sustain at Georgia Tech, regular TECHStyle guest, and author of Students of the Dream: Resegregation in a Southern City, just out from Harvard University Press––returns to the podcast to talk to Andrew and… Continue reading

Flash Readings, Episode 5: “The Moment John Roberts’s Words Cease to Matter”

In Flash Reading 5, former Brittain Fellow Ruthie Yow (2015-17) takes Chief Justice John Roberts to task for his majority opinion in the landmark Supreme Court case of 2007, Parents Involved in Community Schools v. Seattle School District No. 1. According to Yow, the Court’s decision indexes “the impoverished state of integration strategies” in public… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 24: “Realpolitik”

In this episode, Toby draws on the knowledge (and German-language skills) of former Brittain Fellow Ian Afflerbach (2016-17), currently Assistant Professor of American Literature at the University of North Georgia, to discuss the concept of “realpolitik.” Does it have any relevance to the current political situation, as media commentators tend to… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 23: “Crisis!”

In this episode, Toby draws on his professorial pedigree and Nick on his experience in the creative writing world in an attempt to find the source of the current crisis in the humanities. Have the humanities always been in crisis? Is there any other way? Our hosts do their best… Continue reading

Teaching with Twitter: Social Media in the Composition Classroom

When I mention that I use Twitter in my first-year writing courses, I am often met with both intrigue and skepticism by students and faculty alike. If writing courses are supposed to be focused on nuanced thinking, careful research, and rhetorically sophisticated arguments, what can students possibly learn from writing… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 22: “The Culture Wars”

For the first episode of our second season, Toby, Andrew, and our new co-host Nick Sturm discuss the “culture wars,” a hot button term that has been making its way back into the media and into our classes. Recorded prior to the death of Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz, we… Continue reading

Flash Readings, Episode 4: “When I Talk to Siri”

Neon Varsity Diner sign with Flash Readings logo

In the fourth Flash Reading, Brittain Fellow Halcyon Lawrence talks about why her Samsung phone won’t take her where she wants to go. This time she wants to find legendary Atlanta diner The Varsity, but Galaxy “has no specific answers” for her. Lawrence, who specializes in speech intelligibility and accent bias in… Continue reading

TECHStyle 2017-18: An Experiment, an Infrastructure

“It’s an exciting time for online infrastructure building,”  writes Wai Chee Dimock, in the current issue of PMLA, about the changing nature of scholarship in the digital age. In her editor’s note, Dimock identifies an experimental ethos in the humanities, characterized most by new public forums for humanities research and… Continue reading

Bodies and Body Language: How Poetry Can Teach Us to Communicate

Bodies, a personal yet strangely distant subject matter for most students to discuss, provide a ripe lens through which to hone the skills that composition classrooms aim to foster. As mediums of communication, bodies afford us multiple ways to express ourselves: through gestures, facial expressions, vocal tone, and body language… Continue reading

Putting Lux in the Darkness: Remembering Poet and Professor Thomas Lux

Editor’s Note: When I first had the idea to teach an English 1102 course about the The New Yorker magazine, I had hoped that Thomas Lux, who has published five poems in the magazine, would come speak to my students. Vijay Seshadri, former editor at The New Yorker and frequent contributor to the… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 21: “Britt History III (The Past)”

Part three of our series on the history of the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship (the finale of The Office Hour‘s first season), finds Toby and I talking to Lisa Yaszek, Professor and outgoing Associate Chair of the School of Literature, Media, and Communication; co-editor of Sisters of Tomorrow: The First Women… Continue reading

The Doubleplusgoodspeak of Newspeak: Poetry and Orwell’s 1984

Two days after President Trump’s inauguration, on January 22, 2017, the newly-minted Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press with Chuck Todd. She discussed White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s first press briefing the night before, in which he claimed, despite the existence of much… Continue reading

The Office Hour, Chapter 20: “Britt History II (The Present)”

In this episode, the second of a three-part series on the history of the Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellowship, Toby and I talk to former Brittain Fellow and current Associate Director of the Writing and Communication Program, Andy Frazee, about where the fellowship is now, where it’s going, and where… Continue reading

Strategies for Teaching Non-Native English Speakers: A Roundtable Review

On March 30, 2017, the Writing and Communication Program’s World Englishes Committee hosted the faculty roundtable “Instructing Non-Native English Speakers: Practical Tools.” This event drew Georgia Tech teaching faculty and staff interested in sharing ideas and learning new strategies for better serving the needs of the diverse population of English… Continue reading