Writing, itself, is a struggle in and with social order. It is a struggle to be heard, to make people pay attention, and to discover ways to attend to the domain of the possible. Teachers of writing must work with students to perceive these possibilities because these are, perhaps, our only hope for change.
Hurlbert & Blitz, Composition and Resistance
bell hooks tell us that, despite its limitations, a classroom is a place of radical possibility. So, what's possible in a writing classroom? What is writing, and what does it mean to teach it?
In my view, writing is something we do. Like reading, writing is a practice. An inherently social, political activity. Engaging in this practice is to create realities, or version of the truth which are never neutral. This view of writing--as a practice that can be both liberatory and constraining--that is at the heart of my teaching.
What it means to teach writing, then, is to ask a group of people to think and write together about these constructed realities, considering how people's lives are shaped by them, both cognitively and materially. I'm deeply influenced by critical compositionists and social-epistemic rhetoricians who put power at the center of conversations, readings, and assignments in a writing classroom. In trying to untangle how dominant cultural narratives shape public and private lives, I ask students to consider the interplay between the political and the personal. This type of classroom requires honesty, tolerance, and a bit of magic.