Understanding Veteran Students – Part I

Roger Thompson’s informative part I of an exploration of the intersection of experiences between military veterans in college and writing faculty/classrooms. Among his many insightful points: “Many of the symptoms of these injuries manifest ways that are hard to distinguish from other issues. Symptoms such as slow cognitive processing, difficulty organizing time, difficulty accessing resources, difficulty controlling emotions, and difficulty enacting solutions can be hard to identify, even for the sufferer. Many times, these are virtually invisible disabilities, but they are in fact disabilities. Our job is to recognize that they are, in fact, real injuries—as real as a missing limb—and to afford accommodations as needed.”

RhetComp @ Stony Brook

Roger Thompson

As writing instructors, we see a much wider swath of the student population than other faculty.  And, as writing instructors, we are likely confronted with personal histories in ways that faculty in other disciplines encounter.  Those ideas were at the heart of much of the research Alexis Hart (faculty at Allegheny College and a Navy veteran) and I have conducted in recent years.  I wanted to share some of our findings as a way to encourage our intellectual engagement with the diverse student population here.  That type of engagement often leads to concrete changes in how we do our work and, often, compelling dialogue in the classroom.  If you are interested in more detailed analysis and description of our work, please visit our CCCC White Paper site.

Some Assumptions that Underpin Our Research

1. Writing classes are different than many classes and because of standard practices like…

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Why are they so quiet? 

A great blog by professor Liz Kotseas on the challenges, realities, and opportunities inherent to non-native English speaking students.

RhetComp @ Stony Brook

 by Liz Kotseas

“Why are they so quiet?” is a common question from teachers who want to encourage English Language Learners (ELLs) to collaborate with peers or participate during class discussions.  I, too, wondered why some of my students in ESL writing classes were quiet and why they waited until after class had ended to ask questions.  It wasn’t until they began to share details of their educational experiences that I fully understood the impact of how the elements of communicative competency were factoring into their verbal and written participation.  Known as sociolinguistic competence (Canale), this ability to understand social protocols in various settings is one element necessary for ELLs to achieve academic fluency.

When teaching my classes, I like to begin the writing process with a topic students can easily connect with and hope to eventually spark discussion and/or debate.  At the start of this semester, students in my ESL…

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Why do you follow the Knicks?

My first article as a writer for Posting & Toasting…wherein I explore the question of how and why fans root for the teams they do:

“…you cherish opportunity more as you age because there’s less and less of it. When you’re young, the future seems built out of inevitable opportunity. As life moves on, you realize how precious and rare opportunity is. No matter whether the odds feel in your favor or weighed against you, all you can ask for from life is a chance. Chance is rare enough.”

http://www.postingandtoasting.com/2014/4/7/5586974/why-do-you-follow-the-knicks