As director of FYC, one of my many roles is to be a conduit between the composition classroom and the composition journals. When I walk the halls of conferences, scroll through listserv threads, browse the TOC of recent journals, I do so with one eye on the composition classrooms at the University of North Georgia. The macro- and micro-level structures of our FYC sequence should be built upon best practices and current research.
Such a point seems obvious enough, but it ain’t easy. In 1963, Braddock, Lloyd-Jones (my academic grandfather!), and Schoer showed us that worksheets on grammar and mechanics did not improve student performance. But the worksheets aren’t going anywhere. They are still have their tentacles in our postsecondary writing classrooms.
The easy route is to give the same dang assignment each semester, the same dang reading, the same dang peer review sheet. But if we wade into the research, peek into the AAC&U’s high-impact practices, spend time with national consensus documents like the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing, and read recent articles like Lisa Dush’s “When Writing Becomes Content, then we might find more fruitful ways with working with the unique writers we find ourselves with for the quarter or semester or longer.
In this spirit, I made my way to Raleigh, NC over the summer and sat in on a workshop at the Council of Writing Program Administrators annual conference. The all-day workshop led by Kathleen Blake Yancey, Matt Davis, Liane Robertson, and Erin Workman led attendees through a writing curriculum designed to teach explicitly for transfer. Termed “Teaching for Transfer,” this curriculum was launched at Florida State and detailed in the award-winning book by Yancey, Robertson, and Kara Taczak Writing Across Contexts.
Inspired by the book and the workshop, I launched a series of three workshops during the Fall 2016 semester at UNG to introduce colleagues to a TFT curriculum.
The content is below via Slides.com. We talked about:
With grant money from UNG’s Center for Teaching, Learning, and Leadership, I bought 10 copies of Writing Across Contexts.
Finally, during the Spring 2016, I am encouraging my colleagues to launch some pilot sections of the TFT classes.