Class Goal: Introduce them to concepts of context, purpose, audience, and focus. Emphasizes that we all read from a given position and context. Begins prereading on the American dream.
Connection to Course Goals: Establishes that cultural analysis is a useful activity and integral to the project of this course, reading from a specific position (and being able to step outside of that), and the importance of context and rhetorical situations for reading, writing, and conversing -- any form of communication.
- Roll -- Who's added or dropped since Tuesday? 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. (2-5 min.)
- Discussion of critical thinking and studying culture by referring to how people mentioned these as components of what they want out of the course in the WTL. If they didn't mention this, try to talk about why by asking about their experiences in other writing classes or how the reading in RA might open up new expectations for the course and for a college education.
- Why should we study our 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.
- 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.
[define "critical" and "analysis" for them. First, ask what they think "criticism" is. You'll probably get an answer about talking about why a movie stinks or something along those lines. Give them more useful and accurate definitions on the board or an OH -- the dictionary is a good source!]
- Education moves us beyond "knee-jerk" reactions to issues. We all need to think about our choices/values and make these decisions as informed decisions, not just operating on received wisdom.
- Does anyone think that cultural studies do not belong in a comp class? (probably no one will argue at this point, but ask!)(10 min.)
Transition: In the first unit, you'll be concentrating on work and the American dream, what we expect from work, how we define success, and if there are contradictions between the myths and realities. The readings in the first unit will all deal with those issues, and critical reading is a necessary component of critical thinking, two of the skills you'll be developing this semester
Just as context and rhetorical situation determine how we communicate, our background determines what we bring to a text we are reading.
What makes up someone's background or identity?, (age, gender, ethnicity, regionality, experiences, etc.)
- Discuss their homework answers about the poem. Get a variety of people's responses, and you may want to have someone put those on the board. (10 min.)
- What different ways did people understand the poem?
- What were some of the different reactions?
- How would our backgrounds in part determine our responses?
- Do you think an Hispanic person would respond differently than someone outside that culture? (They'd at least understand the Spanish passages!)
- Would a classroom "overachiever" read this differently than someone who didn't care about school?
- Did men and women seem to read the poem differently?
- Did anyone think this didn't even look like a poem? Why not?
Transition: Remind them that while we all come to a text with certain expectations, in order to read critically, we must be able to step out of that position to recognize the author's position.(10 min.)
- Introduce importance of purpose/audience/focus. Read the material in PHG that they read for homework to see what you want to highlight here. Emphasize that no matter what you write, there is always a purpose, a focus, context, and an audience (which might be just you). (15 min)
On board or OH, make columns for GROCERY LIST/LETTER TO PARENTS OR FRIENDS/WRITTEN HOMEWORK DUE TODAY
Ask them to generate ideas about (and put on board under lists).
Here's a grocery list example:
What is your purpose in writing ?
To remember things you need to buy. . .
What's your focus?
What you need to buy, not the cost, or what you need at ACE hardware. Focus is determined for this purpose only.
Who's the audience?
Complicating the categories:
- What if you were writing a grocery list for someone else you need to pick up some things for you? What would you need to consider in writing? (familiarity with the store, with items on your list, what brands you might like).
- What if you were a caterer writing a grocery list?
- What if you were writing a letter to your friends, but knew they would tell your parents what you said?
Do this for each category and see how purpose/focus/audience/context differ in relation to one another (for example, you would probably focus on different things to tell your parents than your friends).
Goal: Emphasize the need to keep these aspects in mind for all your writing.
- WTL: on a separate sheet of paper, answer the following questions in regard to your homework (Have them ready on an OH):
- What was your purpose in writing it?
- What did you choose to focus on?
- Who did you imagine your audience to be and how did that affect what or how you wrote (in terms of language, style. . .)?
- Did you fulfill these requirements by choosing and maintaining as focus, gearing your writing to a specific audience, fulfilling the purpose of the assignment?(10 min.)
- Collect homework.
Transition: Since this unit focuses on work and the American dream, start with students' ideas and expectations about them.
- WTL On the board or on an OH, give them a prompt that asks them to write for ten minutes about what they want to do as a profession and why (what do they expect will be the rewards of this, personally, spiritually, monetarily -- however they want to define it.) (5 min.)
- Share answers to generate discussion. Call for volunteers or just call on people. Put their answers on the board, then discuss as a class:
- Are there any common ideas about what people want to do and why?
- What does this say about the value/need for work in our culture?
- What does our list say anything about the value of certain types of work relative to others?(10 min.)
Transition: We're about to begin reading a series of essays on success and the American dream, and they've written about it for homework. Right now you would like to generate some examples of who the class would define as successful, and then you'll distribute those for the whole class to share as examples. (2 min.)
- Group Activity: Have them break up into groups of 3-5 and fill out their own lists:
Who exemplifies the American dream?
Eg. Michael Jordan
Talented, succeeded against odds, dedicated to his work, makes a lot of money
After they complete their group lists, have someone from each group report their lists and make a master list on the board. Collect all the group lists. Explain that you're going to compile them all for the class if not every group got to present. (10 min)
Assignment: Read in PHG "Techniques for Reading: Summary and Response", pp 1470-58; in RA, "Introduction to `Money and Success'" chapter, pp. 304-6 and the Soto essay. Write a one-page summary of Soto's main ideas according to the guidelines in PHG.
Note: For the next class period, you will type up the variety of definitions of (1) success and (2) the American dream that the class presented in their homework assignment, and compile with it the examples of success stories they generated in class today. This will become a "class text" that you can refer back to for examples in class discussions and they can use as illustrations for support in their essays.