Composition Pedagogy

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Bowling for Columbine Teacher's Guide

Michael Moore has released this very cool Teacher's Guide for using Bowling for Columbine in class. There are TONS of ideas for activities in the guide. I stumbled onto the guide while daydreaming about Moore (last night I watched Bowling for Columbine for the third time, which revived the little crush I've had on him for some time).

Edited to add: Cross-posted at Kairosnews, where there are some interesting comments. I feel compelled to say that I am not using Bowling for Columbine in my class (and never have), and am not, then, using Moore's guide. As I said on Kairosnews, I think the activities are useful because one can re-tool them and use them as heuristics for discussing just about any film or other media.

Back-to-School

I'm finishing up the syllabus for my class and feeling better about it. I decided to require blogging again, but this time I'm trying a community blog rather than individual student blog sites. They can always do those if they want to. Here's the rough version. I'm wondering if I should put my own blog on the blogroll. If I do, the students will learn a lot about me, and it could be considered shameless self-promotion...but heck, on the other hand, it's easy to find CultureCat anyway. It's the #1 Google hit if you search for my name, and it's in my email signature. I'm trying to be very specific and thorough in my blogging requirements, including citation practices, frequency of posts, word count, etc. Luckily for me, Charlie and Terra cover these very well, and provide a great road map.

[Edited because I am fabulous and unstoppable! I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it! People like me. ]

Public Speaking Tips

Yesterday, in a meeting for instructors of Rhetoric 1223, Oral Presentations in Professional Settings (which I'm teaching in Spring 03). I've been going to lots of teaching workshops lately. This afternoon, Richard Graff, the Course Coordinator for 1223, sent the 1223 instructors a link to public speaking tips from The Onion. Here are my favorites:

It's probably best to leave unverified allegations that Saddam Hussein tried to obtain uranium from Africa out of your State Of The Union address.

"Weird Al" Yankovic performs in front of large groups of strangers all the time. If that freak can do it, you ought to be able to manage.

Blogging Across the Curriculum

Cyborg Mommy has created an online resource about blogging. It's designed for students, but I think it's good for anyone who's new to blogging.

Cross-posted to Kairosnews.

Random Proposals for Communications Courses

Theory.org.uk has an interesting course description generator. Keep clicking "Next" for more. This might come in handy now that it's syllabus time! ;-)

Response to "Activistology"

Erin O'Connor critiques what she is calling "Activistology," a tailoring of teaching and curriculum development that encourages activism and social change. She considers it all indoctrination, of course, and I knew she'd say that, but when I encounter this kind of teaching and curriculum development, I think of paideia and classical rhetorical pedagogy--preparing students to be thoughtful, socially responsible citizens of the city-state.

Validation!

I've gotten a couple of warm fuzzy emails from students. One said:

Thank you for your hard work teaching us the last couple of months. I really feel as though I have learned a lot about technical and professional writing.

Another said:

I learned a lot in this class in terms of technical writing. I don't like writing but now I tend to like it. I hope this will continue.

They may be ploys to get better grades, but I hope not. I did work very hard teaching this summer, and now I feel as though it was worth it.

State of Anhedonia

Ugh, I am so burned out right now. I should be gearing up for the fall semester, all bright-eyed and refreshed, but all the work I've been doing this summer has really sucked the life out of me. Maybe Michfest will rejuvenate me. The melancholy just hit me today; last night I saw Bend It Like Beckham and came away from it with all the euphoria you'd expect from a feel-good movie. Now, though...another story. :-(

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