Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sample Summary

Students, please find below an example of the kind of work expected for the standing summary assignment in ENG 099 at Technical Career Institutes.  You may not use the article summarized below and linked here for your own work.

Andy Martin's "The Treachery of Translators" appeared in the online New York Times on 28 January 2013. In the article, Martin asserts that the task of the translator is a daunting one, one fundamentally an act of interpretation that seeks to improve upon the works being transferred between languages.  Martin, who notes that he teaches collegiate courses in translation studies, cites four instances of seemingly failed translations from his own career.  Although he relies primarily on anecdotal evidence, Martin does craft an engaging presentation of the challenges facing those who seek to make texts available to readers of other languages, prompting further inquiry.

Monday, January 28, 2013

About Homework for ENG 101, 28 January 2013

Students in ENG 101: Freshman Composition 1 have homework assigned in class on 28 January 2013 and due in typed hard copy at the beginning of class on 4 February 2013.

The assignment is to read the article, either as given in class or cited below, and to discuss its features.  What does it look like?  How does it sound?  What claims does it make, and how does it make them?  How, in brief, does it function as an academic essay?

If you missed class, get a copy of the article; it is available online through the TCI library, and hard copies are likely available.

Peyser, Thomas. "The Attack on Christianity in Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave." Explicator 69.2 (2011): 86-89.

Keep the article handy, as we will likely be looking at it in class again in the coming weeks.

About Homework for ENG 202, 28 January 2013

Students in ENG 202: Technical Writing and Presentation have homework assigned in class on 28 January 2013 and due via email before the beginning of class (9am) on 4 February 2013; please send as a Word document for ease of comment.

The assignment is to look at one of the two articles, as provided in class and cited below for the convenience of those who missed class, and discuss how it meets the criteria for a piece of technical writing discussed in the standard textbook and in class.

If you missed class, find the articles, read them, and catch up on the homework.  Both are available through the online resources at all branches of the New York Public Library:

Bowen, Lauren Marshall. "Beyond Repair: Literacy, Technology, and a Curriculum of Aging." College English 74.5 (May 2012): 437-57.

Condon, William, and Carol Rutz. "A Taxonomy of Writing Across the Curriculum Programs: Evolving to Serve Broader Agendas." CCC 64.2 (December 2012): 357-82.

Keep the articles handy.  We will discuss them in class in coming weeks.

Friday, January 25, 2013

More to Get Started in Spring 2013

For the Spring 2013 term at Technical Career Institutes, I am teaching the following classes:

ENG 099: Basic Communication (two sections)
ENG 101: Freshman Composition 1 (one section)
ENG 202: Technical Writing and Presentation (one section)
HUM 110: Speech (two sections)

In each, I hope to advance students' knowledge and understanding of rhetorical principles and practices, whether delivered orally or in writing.  To my mind, work on both sides of the argument--interpretation and production--is necessary to do so.  Accordingly, I have my students examine arguments as well as develop them.

This does bring up the question of what is and ought to be expected of such classes.  For many students, the expectation is that I will lecture and they will passively receive.  And I do, admittedly, do a lot of lecture.  Many of the students in my classes are, for whatever reason, not thoroughly grounded in the academic background knowledge that many classes in the curriculum at the school take for granted, and it is necessary to help them get up to speed.

At the same time, collegiate instruction cannot be simply the imposition of information.  It has to go further than that, into the development of mental practices and disciplines, as a number of articles in NCTE and other publications assert.  And those cannot be externally imposed. They have to be brought about from within the student, not just or even primarily from a textbook (which, frankly, most students do not read) or a series of lectures (to which many students pay little or no attention).  Collegiate education is not about the ability to recall information--although it does include that.  Rather, it is about the ability to assimilate that information, to integrate it with prior knowledge so as to arrive at a more nuanced and detailed understanding of the world and the people within it.

It is a thing worth considering.  Comments are welcome.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spring 2013 Opening

The Spring 2013 term at TCI began last Wednesday.  I am only now beginning to get caught up with what I need to do to get the semester started; the time I usually do so (the week or so before the semester begins) was taken up with personal matters that could not be set aside.  I have been more or less ready to go with my classes, although I have not been able to get quite so far ahead as I should have liked to.

Still, even though the beginning of the term has been a bit rough, I am hopeful for it.  Today and tomorrow, I finish the first rounds of meetings with my classes, and I look forward to moving through the semester with new groups of students.

More, of course, will follow here as it becomes available.  Until then...