Academic Literacy and Frameworks for Analysis

I attended this years Academic Literacy Summit at UC Davis. The presentations were partly miss-not-hit, but there were two noteworthy exceptions: the morning keynote with Jose Rivas and the morning breakout with Fiona Glade and Katrina Lee.

Jose Rivas led the group through a hands-on high school physics lesson, demonstrating how to move students from basic/lay vocabulary to the specialized language of our disciplines, as well as engaging us in a science experiment and illustrating for us how these kinds of learning experiences should feel for students. We often focus on what students should know at the end of a lesson, but leave out how they should experience the learning it takes to get them there. The experience, the feeling, is a necessary aspect of academic literacy. He also discussed how he uses IBE--Investigate Before Explanation. This is something I do regularly, but didn't know there was a name for. I liked his idea of using an "exit slip," a short problem or quick write that students do at the end of a lesson so you can assess their learning.

After the break, Fiona Glade and Katrina Lee walked us through “Peeling the Onion,” “a rhetorical heuristic designed to help students navigate complex readings” and informational texts. Their heuristic offered an alternative to the traditional Aristotelian model of rhetorical analysis.

Their presentation solidified some ideas I’ve been chewing on for a while now, and led me a new way of conceptualizing textual analysis. I tend to present students with a variety of approaches to analysis, without ever being explicit about how these approaches are related or how they fit into the whole spectrum of college reading and writing. Some students easily make connections between methods and ideologies, while others see what I present to them as a big mess of stuff they don’t quite know what to do with. Here is how I’m going to present analysis this semester. We’ll see how it works.

All of us use analysis in our daily lives; our brains process input and stimuli and then determine a response born from our biology and experience. As academic thinkers, our goal is to be aware of and systematic with our processes of analysis. Each discipline has its own set of values and practices that inform how analysis works within those disciplines. Within writing and composition there are a number of different frameworks for analysis, each emphasizing and valuing input and output in distinct manners. Different texts and contexts require different modes of analysis.

Here are some Frameworks for Textual Analysis common to college reading and writing. Of course, these are not necessarily mutually exclusive, and processes and practices within the frameworks overlap.

What others are you familiar with or do you teach in your classrooms?

1 comment:

  1. I use a number of ideas from Reading Apprenticeship.


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