What they'll do today in class:
- Introduce Write to Learn activity (WTL)
- Discuss expectations for the course
- Examine how we all read from a given context that is influenced by culture.
- Introduction to the "individual and society" topic
Connection to course goals: Introducing the WTL gives students more ideas about expectations for the semester and allows you to touch on the overall goals for the course in response to their expectations. The activity on responses to Zoellner begins to show students that culture plays an active part in the choices we make in writing and reading, setting the stage for using writing to act critically toward culture (i.e. If culture influences our reading and writing choices, presumably if we're aware of that influence we can exercise more control and try to change that influence).
NOTE: you can use the above sections to provide students with an introduction to the day's lesson plan. Again, it helps students if they know what they're trying to learn in that day's class. For example, you might take the above activities and goals and introduce today's class as follows:
Introduction:Today we'll be returning to the idea of how context influences our choicesand actions. We'll look specifically at contexts created by culture andhow they influence us as writers, readers and individuals. We'll thendiscuss cultural analysis as a focus for this class, and the importance ofcritical reading and thinking.
Again, you're just trying to give the students a quick overview of what you'll be covering in class so they can keep it in mind during the activities.
- Roll -- Who's added or dropped since Tuesday? 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 dis-enroll them through the form you were given with your roster. (5 min.)
- Writing to Learn (WTL) Have students take out a piece of paper and write for 5 minutes or so about what they expect out of CO150. You can put this prompt on the board or on an overhead (hereafter abbreviated as "OH").
. They can expect to do some in-class writing like that to help them collect their thoughts to jump start a discussion, or to remember a text they read for homework that is about to be discussed. Let them know that you'll discuss their answers today if there is time, but if not you'll address them on the next class period). Also, you may want to let them know that you won't always collect their WTLs on a daily basis but will at some point (with their portfolios) -- see the note in the Introduction to Unit One.
- Collect their writing and explain WTL
- Discuss their responses to the WTL. Generate a list on the board to show commonalities and differences between answers and how those expectations will (or will not) be met in this course. It's okay to address issues like "I think this class will suck." A lot of times it helps to let them express these views on the first day so they can see that you are willing to listen (although not necessarily believe) their views
Transition to Next Activity: Now that we've dealt with some of the expectations you have of the course, let's look closer at one of the main goals of the course - developing critical thinking and reading skills.
- Discussion of critical thinking and studying culture by referring to the reading from CR
- What is Reading Culture? You can turn them to page 3 for an exact discussion, or to generate discussion if it falls flat by highlighting passages).
- Why should we read culture in a writing class? Why not just "write"?
- Need a context and purpose for writing (something to write about!)
- Cultural messages, as we'll discuss, are transferred through a variety of texts. This class will broaden people's definition of "texts" to include television and other media. We'll be "reading" culture just like a text, because it serves as another form of communicating ideas and beliefs.
- When writing, it's useful to be able to understand the cultural contexts of your audience, so you can address them more effectively.
- Understanding the entire rhetorical context - including cultural concerns - allows a writer to choose a more appropriate purpose.
- Literate and educated members of society should be able to apply the tools of critical analysis to the world around them. This allows us to understand how things work and to make better informed decisions. (You many want to define "critical" and "analysis" for them)
- We all need to think about our choices/values and make these decisions as informed decisions, not just operating on received wisdom. We're participants in culture, so why not be more active participants?
Transition to next activity: In the first unit, you'll be concentrating on the relationship between the individual and society. What kind of societal pressures influence our individual lives? What kinds of power can individuals exercise over society? What aspects of our lives help define our cultural identity? The readings in the first unit will all deal with these issues, and critical reading is a necessary component of critical thinking, two of the skills you'll be developing this semester. Since part of critical reading is considering the influences readers (including ourselves) bring to texts, let's examine how context influences our reactions.
Group activity on cultural influences and response to Zoellner. (NOTE: This activity aims to give students a chance to talk with a few classmates to generate a list of cultural influences people face, and then discuss their responses to Zoellner with some attention to how their responses may connect to these influences. The overall goal is to show how we bring our own contexts to our readings of a text. That is, just as the context we were in influenced our choices with the interview activity, the context(s) we bring to a text when we read influence how we read and respond to that text.)
- Break students into four groups. Each group should responsd to the following prompt:
- Using your homework assignments, compile a group list of various cultural influences that influence people's actions. You might also consider the following question: What makes up someone's background or identity? How might these aspects influence a person?
- After you've compiled that list, turn to the Zoellner essay and have each member of your group give a quick explanation of their response to his essay. Did you like it? Do you agree with him? Do you disagree with him? Why?
- If time, look at your list of cultural influences and think about which might impact how someone would react to Zoellner.
- Discuss cultural influences and contexts we bring to reading. On one side of the board, make a class list of the cultural influences they compiled within their groups. On the other side of the board make a list of the types of responses people had to Zoellner essay. After you've got lists on both sides, move to the following discussion questions aimed at seeing how our cultural influences are carried through to our readings of texts…
- Are there any clear connections we might make between a reaction from this side and a cultural influence from the other?
- Looking just at the influences, what reactions might they produce and why? (You might pick one influence at a time and ask how you think a person with that influence would react to the essay.)
- Look at the reactions and try to think of certain influences or beliefs that might lead to these reactions.
- How might a smoker react to this essay? How do you think a non-smoker would react? Why?
- NOTE: you might also think about general examples that could be used to show how different experiences produce different reactions to a text or topic (your racial experiences may affect what you think of Affirmative Action, for example)
Summarize this discussion by emphasizing again that context, while influencing the choices we make when creating texts, also influences the choices (reactions) we make when reading texts.
Today we looked at how cultural contexts influence us as readers and writers. Friday will take a closer look at how writing contexts influences the texts we produce, and we'll take a look at our first essay.
NOTE: Make sure you collect their homework assignments and respond to them by Friday. You'll need to have them returned so students can use them in the firs activity for Friday's class.
Read in PHG:
"Purpose and Audience" pp. 20-26 "Writing Process" pp. 124-133