This year, the University of Florida’s Writing Program annual Conference on Pedagogy, Practice and Philosophy will examine how access and ability influence writing. Pedagogically, instructors often frame writing as an ability, a skill to be honed and refined for diverse situations or ecologies. Learning outcomes, rubrics, and multimodal assignments are designed to help students engage specific writing concepts while offering new opportunities to practice writing as a skill. Yet, abilities depend on having access–access to information, resources, tools, and technologies that promote learning. How can instructors create a more inclusive, accessible pedagogy that fosters equitable practices? And how can that pedagogy transition into public forums, making community writing projects better suited to diverse readers, writers, and communicators? We want to discuss approaches to teaching writing as a part of a complex environment that extends beyond courses and classrooms–to analyze how access and ability shape not only how we compose, but why, and to what effect.
Analyzing access and ability means examining the structures as well as the skills of composition. Emerging tools, technologies, and platforms have changed how people access information while also changing the modes and media for writing instruction. Podcasts, memes, and mobile apps offer new ways to compose and communicate, drawing attention to the auditory, visual, and tactile methods we use in both writing and teaching. How can writing programs challenge traditional modes of instruction and begin to incorporate diverse, more inclusive practices? How are new media and technologies changing the ways we can access and participate in writing?
Increasingly, writing programs incorporate skills that encourage students to participate in public forums or civic action. Writers balance academic goals with community activism, public engagement and professional development. How can college composition use ideas of access and ability to help students understand different perspectives, formats, and rhetorical goals? As instructors teach foundational “principles” of writing, how can we build a pedagogy that encourages collaboration and diversity? How can instructors work to create an accessible learning environment while also empowering students to draw on their own unique abilities, languages, and experiences? In addition, how can writing programs create access to resources or better account for different conditions when teaching writing? We seek presentations that address the ever-changing dynamics of composition, while also attending to the challenges and opportunities these changes afford for both students and instructors.
The conference is designed as a practicum that emphasizes collaboration and exchange. Participants are asked to reflect upon the study, practice, and philosophy of teaching writing in universities, and to reconsider current educational trends about learning, engagement, comprehension, and skills-development. In addition, we ask scholars to reflect on writing methods and environments that occur outside of classrooms and to discuss how diverse modes of writing influence classroom learning. The overarching goal of this conference is to create a network for sharing effective, innovative, and creative approaches to composition pedagogy in practice. If you have a theory, lesson, activity, or discussion– please come and share your writing practice and pedagogy with us.
Instead of having panelists read traditional conference papers, ten to twelve minute presentations or demonstrations illustrate pragmatic approaches, strategies, and techniques for teaching writing. Participants are grouped into themed or conceptual panels, and our goal is to extend the dialog and conversation across the conference sessions. We also include roundtable discussions, which model a conversational, collaborative, and audience-centered or participatory format.
Presentation topics include (but are not limited to):
- Writing as an ability or skill set
- Specific writing activities or lessons
- Issues of access or inequality
- Writing situations, networks, assemblages
- Writing for civic action
- Inclusive pedagogy
- Community literacies
- Multilingual education and language diversity
- The use of new media in the writing classroom
- Disability studies and composition
- Technical communication pedagogy
- Collaborative learning and peer teaching and assessment
- Writing technologies
- Making as writing
- Sustainable, ecological, or green approaches to teaching writing
- Exploring race, class, gender, and/or sexuality in the writing classroom
- Current-traditional rhetoric, expressivism, and epistemic pedagogy models
- Prewriting techniques and strategies
- Writing and rhetorical ecologies
- Writing in and across the disciplines
This year, instead of featuring one keynote speaker, we have organized a workshop to discuss access and ability. Participants will join discussion groups and work together to build principles for an “accessible pedagogy.” By creating a space for instructors to communicate and learn from each other, we hope to build upon the expertise already at the conference and allow multiple perspectives to guide a productive exchange.
For more information about UF’s Writing Program, visit: https://writing.ufl.edu/
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