Welcome Bridgewater Bears to ENGL 101 E and 144-20!
On our first day of class we will begin to discuss your entrance into the university and what that means for you. For now, let’s just say that English 101: Writing Rhetorically is a class designed to help you become the kind of reader and writer expected at the college level and beyond. To my mind, that goal is better reached through context, so I teach around a theme; this semester the theme is “Challenging Literacy Practices,” as we will be reading, writing, and thinking about how we engage in reading and writing, what literacy entails, and how we use these literacies in different contexts. This course title, Writing Rhetorically, is part of those practices; thus, we will be thinking about what writing does and how we use writing to enter into a variety of space, particularly academic settings. So, welcome to ENGL 101!
The course includes reading, writing, speaking and listening as these activities go hand-in-hand. You are all readers of texts and writers of a variety of texts and other materials as we will discuss. As a human being, you engage in many kinds of communication each day. You also observe things in everyday life. Whether you are aware or not, you are constantly taking in, assessing, and interpreting things every day. You use prior knowledge to help you understand situations based on your own experiences. So, we will begin there by mapping and exploring these rhetorical situations you engage in daily. From there we will consider new discourse communities and how you enter them. This class should challenge some of the assumptions you have about reading and writing, about how we learn these activities, about how we use these activities, about what rhetoric may be, and about learning and school in general.
Not only is this course is designed to help you build upon and improve your reading and writing skills for a particular class, it is also designed to move you into critical literacy. To engage in critical literacy means you are an active participant in your learning and understanding of a subject; critical literacy points out ways of looking at written, visual, and spoken texts/”things” and to question the attitudes, values and beliefs that lie beneath the surface. Having critical literacy means you have the ability to recognize, analyze, employ and, when necessary interrupt discourse conventions within particular discourse communities (that is home, school, church, clubs, work, and so on). As we move through the semester, you will come to understand these concepts more fully. In short, we will enter the conversations as we talk, read, respond, and write about learning and ways of knowing, and we will talk about how we make sense of the world.
This is YOUR class and as such I do not hold the key to all the "right" answers, but rather I encourage you read and engage with pieces that invite you to think about the possible meanings and interpretations and write about them. Among our goals for this course are to develop strategies toward becoming strong(er) readers and writers while gaining confidence in our abilities. We will be working in small groups, with individual peers, with folks outside our classroom, in conference with me and your writing tutor, and in public spaces.