Writing & Digital Media

September 4, 2013

Toward A Composition Made Whole, Jody Shipka

Chapter One of Jody Shipka’s novel which challenges the way we address communication prevents several intriguing theories. The assumption that “while ideas about appropriate subject matter for writing courses has broadened over time, form has remained fixed as students are often expected to compose linear, print-based texts” rang especially true. As a student of Virginia Tech, my freshman english course embodied this model. My dedicated and motivating professor not only allowed us to write about subjects as broad as graffiti and generation gaps, but she also required us to present compositions in forms other than papers, such as photographs, skits, board games, and more. This semester helped shape me into not only a stronger writer, but also someone more open-minded about the possibilities of communication.

Another tangent with similar subject addressed by the book is the belief that “the educational experience of many students has led them to believe that schoolbook English is a special variety of language found only in the English classroom and used by English teachers”. As a student of English I too commonly see examples of this exact unfounded belief. While I was fortunate to have positive influences (such as parents and teachers) who taught me the importance of language and education, many students suffer through stale formalities taught by those undedicated.

However on the other side of the argument, as someone who remains close with several inspirational high school teachers and is considering a possible career in the field of education, I can respect the ┬áthat counter that integrating technology and broadening the expanse of the study of communication “places an extra workload burdens on teachers, adding considerably to their overall job activities”. Teachers will not get proper resources or compensation until society agrees education, and the integration of technology and capital within, is the first priority.

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