Two hours each week English 100 students meet with a group of 5-7 other writers led by a peer tutor—this in addition to the three hours each week they spend with their English 100 classroom instructor. In these writing groups, students workshop papers and challenge themselves and one another to think of reading and writing in new ways (“reading/writing the world”) via their Dialogue Journals (as suggested by Ann Berthoff) and their Dialogue Journal Conferences (as suggested in The Journal Book: For Teachers of At-Risk College Writers), all of which inform their development of a reflective essay in which they articulate the ways the work they generated this term meets the following objectives:
The student will (1) understand that literacy is context-dependent, (2) validate and investigate one or more familiar communities of practice, (3) articulate the unwritten rules participants must obey in that community of practice if they want to remain/become accepted as members, (4) investigate new literacies in order to articulate the unwritten rules participants must likewise obey (or at least acknowledge), (5) locate and articulate the points of contact between familiar literacies and unfamiliar ones, (6) examine and articulate the points of dissonance between different literacies, and (8) put the rhetorical dexterity to used in a variety of contexts for a variety of purposes.
At midterm, the students submit a draft of this project (Critical Reflections), which their tutors then bring to a panel of readers made up of all the English 100 group tutors, the graduate administrator of the Writing Center, and myself (the Director). Readers assess this draft according to a rubric I’ve developed for just this purpose (build on objectives outlined above), and the assessment (provided by two different readers) guides the writer in her revisions of her Critical Reflections. The rubric helps these new educators determine the effectiveness of the current draft in meeting the above objectives via prose that meets the demands of this particular academic community (effectively organized, filled with what the community might consider “relevant” evidence, focused on the issue at hand, clear, and relatively free of surface-level concerns). Readers ask themselves questions like the following: Does the writer understand what other literacies may have to offer her as she attempts to learn new ones? Can she articulate this understanding and reveal the ways in which the work she has produced this term (her essays, her presentations, etc) serves as evidence of this understanding and her ability to apply what she has learned here to new contexts?
The Final Portfolio for each English 100 student should include a revised draft of these Critical Reflections, as well as deeply revised drafts of the essays and presentations she/he completed (as articulated above). It, too, is graded by a panel of readers. The following information is included on their English 100 syllabus: “Your Final Portfolio will be reviewed by a panel of experienced English 100 instructors. This panel will be looking for things like this: How evident is your growth as a writer? Is there evidence here that you understand the importance of deep revision? Is there evidence of your ability to effectively rework these writing assignments to meet (or exceed) specified criteria? Are you ready for the demands of English 101?” Thus, the specific educational benefits of this program are determined by the student’s ability to articulate these benefits in the Critical Reflections and to provide evidence of the applicability of this pedagogy of rhetorical dexterity via the Final Portfolio.
You will receive the
feedback through your tutor, and you will revise your Critical
Reflections in response to this feedback before submitting it to
your instructor in your Final Portfolio.