As I shared most of last semester I took an incredibly interesting life changing class. The class was titled Family Literacy Studies (or something similar to that). The prof was amazing and encouraging to me and my field of study. What I loved about the class was it’s ability to push my thinking, challenge who I thought I was as an academic and a person. Throw in the bonus of trying to identify or dis-identify with my family and it really changed how I think. I always love the classes that challenge you to think beyond yourself but somehow always bring it home to making you think about yourself…if that even make sense?
In addition to that, I got to share what I found with my family. And well that went a little weird, but I was extremely proud of the work I did. I was able to truly apply real research and not just verbatim repeat what others who have come before have said. Finally, I was given the ability and privilege of relying on the work I did. In the end the project was maybe 20 pages in length but it literally took all of five months to research and write. That is a hard thing to share because if you can sit down and read it in 20 minutes it feels a bit minimized. But I am grateful I was given that opportunity to research, write and share.
In fact, I loved the idea of what I did so much in that class I have decided to incorporate identity writing into my own class. In order to adhere to outcomes and goals for the class I teach I had to change things up. Thankfully, there were portions of last semester’s class that we looked at the pedagogy of identity writing for a freshman writing class. Together with that scholarship and my own understanding of my classroom goals I was able to create a paper assignment that will allow my students to do some identity writing. I believe I was already carrying out several aspects of it through the use of a profile assignment. However, now it is firmly placed within scholarship reasoning and fulfilling the outcomes of a freshman composition class in my university.
The first portion of the paper will be solely narrative where the student will explore aspects of their own identity. It is my belief that in doing this they will hopefully uncover some part of them that is tied to a larger culture or familial artifact that will allow for an avenue of research. Which will bring us to research/informative portion of this paper and then it is my goal they would end in a reflection of what they have learned about themselves and their culture/community. At the end, the result will be a multi-genre paper that allows them to search their identities and selves all while learning to participate in the academy through their writing.
The paper will not be nearly as intensive as what I went through and won’t even involve the same kind of research. But I feel like the outcome could be similar in that general search for who we are in the this big bad world. Which for a freshman that is important because they are trying maneuver college writing and their college identity, It is so hard trying to figure out when to assert yourself as a valuable voice and when to sit back and let others who have come before you do the speaking. Identity writing let’s you be the expert and starts from a great place to establish an understanding of credibility (understanding audience), which is a core principle taught in freshman composition. My graduate level work was meant to be intense and I don’t believe my freshman’s identity writing will be nearly as intense (as it should not be) but it will walk them along the understanding similar to my own.
Most of the assignments I have given were made similarly to others before me and have been taught for awhile so were tried and true. This one is solely out on my own and working within the scholarship I have researched and studied. I just feel so proud and I imagine that is the goal of being an graduate teaching instructor. To find my own voice and pedagogy and basing it in my own understanding of research and scholarship and moving from there.