Resource blog post

My research project involves looking at the ways various educators and researchers in the composition field treat writer/composer agency, personal motivation and authorship within examples of visual literacies and visual rhetoric.  I want to understand more how people in composition are legitimizing non alphabetic compositions, specifically through establishing a sense of agency, which is a key point that educators strive to foster in traditional text based courses.

I was inspired mainly by Geoffrey Sirc’s chapter in WNM, Box Logic.  He poses the question, via Elbow, “Do we teach to life or college?”  As I am new to the composition field, I feel that trying to define/understand my purpose centers around this very question.  I don’t know yet what my path will be through this program and career.  I feel too green to even decide and I think that is why I am interested in the basic question of student motivation.  Sirc points out that textual materials should “speak the student’s own voice and concerns, allowing them to come up with something obscure, perhaps, yet promising illumination”.  I think trying to unlock those parts within a student is part of what I hope to do within my own classroom and I am interested in seeing how using a visual curriculum helps facilitate personal growth and discovery.

The New London Group proposes that giving students opportunities to practice multiliteracies will prepare them for life opportunities.  By practicing a plurality of literacies and composing skills students will be better experienced for the rest of their life.  By focusing on the aspect of how visual literacy (as a facet of multiliteracy) promotes personal motivation and agency for students reluctant or fearful educators can rest assured that incorporating multimodal learning into their classroom can benefit students.

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2 comments on “Resource blog post

  1. That’s a great topic, Nicole. I think it is wise to help students establish a sense of authorial grounding and legitimacy by affording them opportunities to work on projects that they feel personally motivated by.

    You might want to look at the following article:
    “Crafting the Agentive Self: Case Studies of Digital Storytelling” by Glynda A. Hull and Mira-Lisa Katz (available through SFSU library)
    Personal narrative is at the core of digital storytelling adn the authors argue that “conceptions of self have much to do with how we learn” (43). Digital storytelling is an interesting mix of oral tradition, written (and edited) narrative, community sharing, and appropriation of visual artifacts. This last aspect of the methodology gets special emphasis. The authors explain, “…to look for evidence of authorial agency, we examined how and to what effect our case study participants borrowed and repurposed texts, images, photographs, and music in their multimodal compositions” (52). I’m actually referencing this article in my own research paper on digital storytelling.

    Another journal article, “Digital Storytelling: Extending the Potential for Struggling Writers,” by Ruth Sylvester and Wendy-lou Greenidge, argues that digital storytelling can act as a motivator for struggling student writers, helping to scaffold their understanding of both traditional and digital literacies (284).

    Best of luck.

  2. Thanks for the recommendations Richard. The storytelling aspect of agency and personal motivation is something I did not get a chance to research in depth yet, but I definitely want to check it out. Besides having a personal interest in art and visual media, storytelling is something I would also like to introduce into my classroom, and better yet if I can incorporate it with digital media and multiculturalism (704 paper :D) Thanks again.

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