Teaching in the 21st Century: Adapting Writing Pedagogies to the College Curriculum

By Alice Robertson; Barbara Smith | Go to book overview
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Sondra Perl, “Composing Texts, Composing Lives, Harvard Educational Review No. 4 (1994): 428.
James B. King, “Is Resistance Empowerment? Using Critical Literacy with Teachers, paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Reading Forum, Sanibal Island, Florida, 12 December 1993.
Richard W. Paul, “Two Conflicting Theories of Knowledge, Learning, and Literacy: The Didactic and the Critical, Resource Publication, series 1, no. 2 (Montclair, NJ: Montclair State College, New Jersey Institute for Critical Thinking), 1988.
Norman P. Will, “Old Premises and Old Promises: Contemporary Critical Theory and Teaching at the Two-Year College, Opinion Papers Series, New Jersey Language Arts, English, 1988.
One such theoretical concept was Frank D'Angelo's adaptation of the classical topoi into paradigms for invention and the structuring of student essays in his textbook, Process and Thought in Composition, 2nd ed. (Boston: Little Brown, 1985).
I picked individual stories, poems and plays from available copyrights through McGraw-Hill's Primus format, choosing, when I could, those selections that readily lent themselves to particular critical approaches. The critical text was Robert Diyanni's 1995 McGraw-Hill book, Critical Perspectives: Approaches to the Analysis and Interpretation of Literature, because of its comprehensive but concise format (it includes ten perspectives) and its accessible language for undergraduate reading levels. The novel was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, chosen for three reasons: (1) the availability of several film versions for cultural comparisons with the original text and each other, (2) its existence as a text utilizing multiple critical perspectives in one volume, and (3) its consistent popularity with undergraduates. They were going to spend a month with that text and I wanted one they would enjoy dealing with for a prolonged period of time. I did not, however, order the text containing the critical perspectives for the students. I wanted them to read the original text “cold” and then be exposed to the various approaches. Thus I photocopied the individual critical articles and handed them out one by one as we examined the novel.
Although the collection contained essays on all twentieth-century theories, I asked my students to read and respond to only contemporary ones because I felt that those were the ones they would most likely encounter in other English courses. The seven I chose were Marxist, feminist, psychological, structural, deconstructive, cultural, and reader-response. Each was covered in Diyanni's text by a three-to-four-page essay that included bibliography.


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Teaching in the 21st Century: Adapting Writing Pedagogies to the College Curriculum
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