I show students the moves. That is, introduce students to the kinds of reading, writing, and critical thinking necessary for achievement in the academic community. In my fall course, “Too Cool for School,” incoming students read and write about Education, the ways students are taught and the unspoken assumptions about educational institutions. My spring course—the second class in the “Writing the Essay” sequence titled “What’s Love Got to do with It?”—invites students to read and write about romantic love. Is it just a fantasy, something that we hope to be true? Or a reality, for those who are lucky or who work hard to make it true? Students consider whether romantic love is a socially-constructed illusion or merely an elaborate rationalization for physical desire.
Students are asked to critique several readings and write in ways that speak back to the authors, extend their projects, and/or make use of their ideas for their own purposes. Students try on a variety of voices and interpretative schemes to do this. Thus, in my classes, students are asked to move beyond mere formulaic approaches and begin to consider and compose in ways that allow them to take innovative steps in their writing. My courses aim to engage students, then, in learning to learn, learning to think about what they are learning, and learning to express their ideas.
Writing takes the lead. It is not a mere end product, but an activity that allows students to think through a set of complicated ideas, an activity that captures their minds at work even as it allows their minds, indeed, to work. In the process, students learn something about the versatile moves scholars make: the ways they think through complicated issues, write about their work in order to examine their thinking more carefully, share their ideas and experiences with others, and make different kinds of arguments based on their perspectives and understandings.
MA and PhD English (ABD), University of Miami
BA English, Columbia University
My novel The Ape is Dead! will be published by Crimson Cloak Publishing in 2015.
Excerpts appear in Akashic Books fiction series, Hobart Magazine, Crescendo City, and great weather for MEDIA anthology “It’s Animal but Merciful.”
Excerpts from my second novel Scott Free are featured in Moonshot magazine issue #5 “ritornello,” Akashic Books fiction series, and Crimson Cloak Publishing anthology “Love Matters.”
I am also author of the screenplay Love is Crazy, a Writer’s Digest award-winner.
Writing the Essay I
Writing the Essay II