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.

No comments:

Post a Comment