by Connor Buckmaster
For decades now, the study and practice of writing has been on a revolutionary roller coaster. Leaps in pedagogy surrounding college composition classes, translanguaging, and collaborative learning have changed the way college students today learn and produce writing. At the same time, the (dated) values of Standard American English, the five paragraph essay, and the thesis statement are still upheld in many pockets of American public schools. We wonder why Americans struggle to write, and there seems to be a host of answers: an inability to construct sentences, a fundamentally bad approach in teaching how to read, and a school culture which rewards surface learning and quick responses, viewing texts as inert information rather than an argument. The more and more we look, America seems to be in a literacy crisis.
by Amanda Spadel
I didn’t always enjoy reading poetry the way I do now. There was a point in time when all I was interested in reading was fiction novels--especially when I first started having an interest in reading stories as a kid. Series such as Goosebumps, A Series of Unfortunate Events, and Harry Potter intrigued my initial interest in reading fiction for young adults—particularly suspense and science fiction stories. But in recent years, I’ve become a frequent poetry reader too. Actually, I’ve decided that poetry holds the same meaningful impact that longer stories do, if not more.
In my opinion, the meaning in poetry can hold even more weight to young readers, especially if they don’t already avidly read. I’m not talking about introducing more traditional poems to young readers and have them relive the high school torment of figuring out a Shakespearean sonnet. Young readers should read more contemporary poetry because it’s current, most likely more relevant to their lives, and more importantly, a lot of contemporary poems seem more personal and transferable to audiences in today’s world where we are all pressed for time.
by Jenna Burke
Recently there has been a face that is making the internet 🔥 with extensive debate behind its actual meaning. No, it is not one of the Kardashians or Clint Eastwood memes, but rather an emoji that is causing controversy. According to USA Today, the new “Woozy Face Emoji” that is supposed to depict someone who is intoxicated has been creating critical debate in the social media universe. While some people 😂 at this and make tweets such as “this is how every one be when they get their pictures at the DMV,” others find the fact that we are having the discussion not only 😕, but also a complete waste of time.
I’ve taught freshman composition courses for almost two years now, expecting my diverse body of students from multicultural backgrounds to all coalesce and perform to one standard above all others: White Vernacular English (WVE) or White American Vernacular English (WAVE). As writers, we pride ourselves on being open-minded yet authentic, and we hope our students do the same—as long as they adhere to what we consider valid style of writing. Why have the rigid, outdated principles the foundation of college composition was built on not shifted to accept other vernaculars?
by Ashley Haden
Spending time on a college campus as finals near always leads to hearing familiar complaints in the air. These are complaints about the workload, upcoming exams, and, of course, writing papers. “I hate writing” is one of the most common complaints that I’ve noticed at a wide variety of grade levels. Students will often actively try to avoid writing if possible. Why is this?
by Joe Magaletta
There’s a story that makes me uncomfortable. A black man has been accused of raping a white woman. We follow the story of an attorney who goes out of his way to try and prove that the woman is making a false allegation, doubting the victim in this situation. It’s an exploration of bias, the justice system, racial inequality, and compassion. These are all ideas that are worth exploring… But now I’m uncomfortable. Therefore, To Kill a Mockingbird shouldn’t be taught in schools.
This is a growing trend: the fear of being offended, of confronting triggers, of having to question ideas and explore points of view that don’t exactly mesh with our own. The political climate is as heated as ever, and the desire to hear the opposition has died down in favor of preaching to the choir.
by Elaine Paliatsas-Haughey
Once again in my teaching career I am seated across a school room table from the parents of a student who is struggling to read.
I say, "Little Janie is reading on a third grade level in fifth grade and would really benefit by reading at home, along with the remedial instruction she is receiving here at school."
They ask, "What should we have her read?"
I launch into an enthusiastic list of book titles recently out for elementary age students and they are on board. I mention classics from their own childhoods, like Ramona the Brave and The Hardy Boys. Things seem to be going well and everything is falling into place until I say, "And she doesn't have to read just traditional books. She can read manga and graphic novels. Try poetry or magazines. If there is a particular website she enjoys, encourage that. She can read the cereal box out loud to you during breakfast if you want!"
I see I've become too impassioned at that point. Now I've lost them. What I find in the rest of our conversation is that I lost them after traditional books. Often, because parents associate learning with only classic literary stories the idea of using almost any other form of written word to educate youngsters is foreign territory. They cannot see the value in other forms or genres.
thoughts on writing, art, & new media by glassworks editorial staFF