Revision for “Sample Class” created on April 5, 2019 @ 22:17:09

Sample Class
<!-- edit page button --> <!-- page content --> <span style="font-size: small">Bruce McComiskey describes a composition class he teaches in his article "Postmodern Cultural Studies and the Politics of Writing Instruction" for the National Council of Teachers of English. McComiskey believes that setting any kind of curriculum for teaching postmodern writing instruction would go against the very definition of postmodernism: </span> <p style="padding-left: 30px"><span style="font-size: small"><em>a critical perspective that presupposes a world in which fragmented subjectivities, occupying multiple and often contradictory positions in social formation, represent their worlds politically through language, and these representations are legitimated according to localized sociorhetorical criteria.</em></span></p> <span style="font-size: small">He says the goal is to "transform courses of writing into sites of resistance, negotiation, and change envisioned and enacted through language." McCominsky does this in his classes by asking his students to analyze the formal and hidden curricula of a course they have taken. He asks, how are these curricula products of the current time and place, the political norms of this institution, and the teacher's individual goals and beliefs? He then flips it around: how does each student's perspective lead to different interpretations of the curricula, and different evaluations of the same course? They then evaluate McComiskey's course itself under the same categories.</span> <span style="font-size: small">Next, the class analyses the physical layouts of the spaces they encounter on an average day, and how those spaces are semiotic of larger principles. For instance, a teacher behind a large desk is putting forward an image of untouchability to his students. Then, they look at the grading practices of the classes they are taking this semester, how they differ, and what coded discourses those systems are forwarding.</span> <span style="font-size: small">Finally, McComiskey asks students to change their academic essays on these subjects into practical letters to the teachers they are about (or the administrators in charge of specific curricula and classes). He acknowledges that the students write in such a way in their letters as to effectively sell their arguments to the reader, committing the unavoidable bias they have been discussing all semester, but that writing the letters shows students how to take what they have learned in class and use it in the outside world. This serves to break down some of the walls around academia as the only place such a rhetoric is valid, furthering a postmodern ideal.</span> <span style="font-size: small">Through these exercises, "students develop a critical sense that school is not necessarily the warehouse of Truths they might have thought it was; they come to understand that the function of school is only partly to impart content knowledge, but also partly to instill in students certain advantageous communal values." By understanding the hidden (as well as the obvious) rhetorics of their institution, they can be more discerning consumers of the messages they receive.</span> <span style="font-size: xx-small">McComiskey, Bruce. "Postmodern Cultural Studies and the Politics of Writing Instruction." <em>Teaching English in the Two-Year College</em> December 2008: 144-153.</span> &nbsp; <!-- attachments --> <!-- comments --> <!-- comments -->

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