The rhetorical model for writing will be used throughout the course to demonstrate how writers use contexts to inform their writing. The homework discussion invites students to consider what influences them as writers in general, but more specifically, it asks them to consider how the context of this classroom helped determine what they wrote about and the approach they used when writing.
1. Take roll (5 minutes): Find out who has added or dropped since the first class. Remember that some students who may not have attended the first class will likely show up today. If you have room, you can sign an add form for anyone on your waiting list, and if someone has missed both classes you can disenroll them through the form you were given with your roster after class.
Model Introduction: “Today we'll be returning to the idea of how context influences our choices and actions. By understanding how writers are influenced by various contexts, you will hopefully learn to make more confident and accurate choices with your own writing (in both academic and non-academic situations)."
2. Review expectations for course (5 minutes): Discuss student responses from the WTLs completed on the first day of class. Address any student concerns that didn't come up on the first day. Also, you can explain the dual focus for the class - "Writing is our primary concern, so we'll spend a lot of time emphasizing things like purpose, audience, and context (we tend not to focus on skills, such as grammar and mechanics, as much as we do on larger concepts and approaches to writing; however, we work individually with students who face some challenges with grammar and mechanics). Public discourse is our secondary focus (since we need something to write about and since it is an ideal topic for exploring the complexity of writing situations), so we'll also be looking at important social and political issues.
Model Transition to Next Activity: Last time we used the introduction activity to discuss how context shapes what we say (content) and how we say it (approach). Today we'll look at a model for the writing situation in order to better understand this idea that writers are influenced by different situations.
3. Introduce the writing situation model (10 minutes): The goal for this discussion is to illustrate how context shapes the interactions between writers and readers. Writers make choices based on their physical, social and cultural contexts as well as their purposes for writing. In the same sense, readers come to a text by way of their own needs and interests. Thinking about interactions between writers and readers helps to ensure that meaning is clearly communicated.
For this activity then, use the model from, "Understanding Writing Situations: Writing as a Social Act" to show students how readers and writers interact. This model is available on Writing@CSU (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/writingsituations/). It’s also available as a linear document in the Lectures and Class Notes section of your SyllaBase class page. You can either draw a diagram on the board or use and overhead (you may want to do this before class begins). Explain to students that you will first review the model in general terms, and then they will discuss it with more detail in relation to their homework.
Be sure to cover the following points (in whatever order feels right for you):
· Writers have purposes for writing
· Usually these purposes emerge from the writer's cultural or social context (something happens outside the writer that creates a need to write - something to respond to)
· Writes make choices based on the context they are writing for (writing a letter home to your parents asking for money is a different than writing a letter to an organization to ask for contributions for a good cause). Therefore, different contexts will pose different requirements, limitations, and opportunities for a writer.
· In addition to context, writers also need to think about readers.
· Readers have various needs and interests which are likewise determined by their contexts (their background, environment and experience).
· In order to communicate effectively, a writer must anticipate what their readers' needs and interests are.
4. Discuss homework in relation to the writing situation model (15 minutes):
For this activity it helps to label the diagram with students' responses to reinforce connections and to help keep the discussion on track. Note: possible responses and prompts are listed in parenthesis following the questions.
Start at the middle of the diagram and ask students the following questions:
· What was the text you produced? (homework - reflection on self as writer)
· What was your purpose for writing this text? (to complete an assignment, to impress the instructor or class, to learn more about one's self as a writer, to get an "A" in CO150)
· Describe the context that created your purpose for writing? (the college classroom, the first day of class, a small "classroom community" where participation is likely)
· What requirements and limitations did the context of a college classroom pose? (a deadline for writing, a computer to type the message and to print it out, limitations on language, tone and style, the possibility of having to share writing in class…).
· What opportunities did this context create? (an invitation to call on your own personal reflections, experience and expertise)
· How did the various limitations, requirements and opportunities shape what you wrote? (answers will vary)
· Who did you think of as your readers for this text? (you, the instructor, other peers)
· Did you think of your reader’s needs and interests? If so, what were they?
Model Transition to Next Activity: So whether or not you realized it you were probably already thinking about context, audience and purpose when completing your homework. This course aims to help you think about these things more critically, both as a writer and as a reader.
5. Discuss strategies for critical reading (5 minutes): This activity asks students to think about how they can become close and critical readers.
Use the PHG (pgs. 153 - 154), the Critical Reading Guide on Writing@CSU (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/reading/critread/), and the questions below to guide discussion:
· Ask students to identify what it means to be a “critical reader.”
o What makes an effective critical reader?
o How does one become a close reader of the text?
o What can you do to be more active and critical when reading an essay?
· Close reading (marginal markings, notes outside of text)
· Pose questions that challenge the ideas in the text
· Consider the context in which the essay was written
· Consider your context (what you are bringing to your reading and why you react the way you do)
· Consider how cultural context influences your reading (turn the critical lens inward and examine your beliefs and influences)
6. Show students how to access readings off of SyllaBase (5 minutes): Use a variation of the handout you prepared for the first homework assignment or make copies of the “How to Log on to your class SyllaBase Page” handout in the appendix. Explain that students can access the readings at the Library reserve desk if they have difficulty getting onto SyllaBase.
7. Model Conclusion: “Today we looked at how context influences the way readers and writers interact. Next time we'll look more specifically at the context for Essay 1 and discuss how this context will shape the text you produce.”
Read Peter Singer's essay, "The Singer Solution to World Hunger" (http://www.petersingerlinks.com/solution.htm). Read "Understanding Writing Situations: Writing as a Social Act" (http://writing.colostate.edu/guides/processes/writingsituations/). Practice the critical reading strategies discussed in class when looking at both essays. Post a message to the Class Discussion Forum on the SyllaBase Class Page. In your message, identify the main point being made in Singer’s essay and explain why you agree or disagree with it. Your response should be between one and two paragraphs in length.