I am starting this blog mostly to learn firsthand about the genre of the blog. I haven’t decided if this is to be a professional blog or a quirky personal blog. Professionally, I am an English professor, teaching rhetoric and composition. I am also interested in educational policy, politics, and rock n’ roll guitar. I imagine I will combine all of these things here.
Two questions and a comment. When do students do their extra time online? Are they supposed to go right home and do it, or can they do it over the week–in chunks, or all at once, and is there a time before which it must be completed? (That only counts as one question.)
The other question is what kind of reader are you, or do your students alone get to know? (Also only counts as one.)
Here’s the comment. These blogs are cool. If we could get the department to do them, we’d be able to streamline our efforts a lot easier. But they must take a chunk o’ time. Hmmm.
I’m enjoying them. But I don’t get the guitar stuff. That’s a gaping hole in my VFOGI, obviously.
What does it mean that my comment is “awaiting moderation”? I feel a little insulted to think my text needs to be moderated. Just a little.
Blogs get a lot of spam posted by spammers and internet ‘bots, so WordPress sets it up so that comments have to be approved. I think that after I have approved one of your comments, you are approved, so it shouldn’t happen again.
Here is what I posted to the students:
What kind of reader are you? What do you like to read, and what do you dislike? How did you come to be a reader of this sort? How have your reading preferences and habits changed over time?
My own case:
I remember not being a particularly good reader in the early grades. My family moved from Altadena to San Gabriel when I was about to enter the fourth grade, and at the new school I was suddenly an “A” student. I read books about astronomy, space exploration, World War II, and many other topics. The first science fiction book I read was The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron, which I was allowed to check out of a public library even though we were on a camping vacation in a strange small town. I read the whole thing in one day, and then checked out the sequel. Eventually I read nearly every science fiction book in the Rosemead public library.
My father always had the L.A Times, but I didn’t start reading it until Watergate, in 1974, when I was 23. I soon became a newspaper addict. One learns a lot of general information about everything by reading a newspaper every morning. The Times is now a pale shadow of its former self, and even the Washington Post and the New York Times are struggling. The demise of newspapers is more about the greed and impatience of shareholders than about the profitability of newspapers, but it is true that the Internet has changed everything.
I am not as voracious a reader these days. I still read science fiction and historical novels, but I am much more selective, and I read more carefully. I read quite a bit of non-fiction too, political books and professional books in rhetoric and composition and about big picture issues in higher education. I still read most of the L. A. Times every morning, plus the Post and the N. Y. Times on the web, and sometimes the BBC site. I find a lot of the texts I use to teach rhetorical analysis in my daily newspaper reading.
Plato may be right in questioning the value of literacy, but I can’t imagine life without it.
As far as the guitar posts, I don’t know. I am trying to integrate various aspects of my existence, and they are not real compatible. I probably should have two blogs (or more), but I still think that somehow it all connects.
On the online tasks, I set up specific questions for them to answer or resources to visit and report on. They are supposed to do it before Saturday; otherwise I threaten to go back to the four-hour real time schedule. When I do that, they all start posting frantically.
I enjoyed reading your blogs. The photos from Japan are beautiful. I’ve been thinking of buying a bike and liked your post on the “bike in a bag.” The posts on writing, of course, are brilliant. I just finished a summer school course for English Education majors: Teaching Composition. For their final project, each student had to design an ERWC module. Some of their modules are really well-done–thoughtful assignments, strong readings and based on solid composition theories. It made grading them enjoyable!
A connection between music and rhetoric? Have you found one yet . . . ?
My $0.02 . . . (Platonic cents, nonetheless) . . . Each has to walk the uncomfortable, amibvalent, perhaps paradoxical line between accepting foundations and challenging foundations. Fruitful discourse relies on a constant critical analysis of the “givens” and “accepted truths” of discourse, but how do you analyze them without relying on other “givens” or “truths”? Likewise, in music, we’re always searching for new melodies or chord-progressions, always challenging ourselves to criticize (or not be satisfied with) our old ways of playing. Yet we can’t ever strike out new ground without mastering well-trodden ground: no Howlin’ Wolf, no Led Zeppelin. New directions can’t be found without assistance from old directions. Maybe a willful misreading (or mis-listening) of the old directions–a la Harold Bloom’s theory–is the best compromise. Or maybe I’ve just had too much vino.