Trauma And the Teaching of Writing
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Deepening and broadening our understanding of what it means to teach in times of trauma, writing teachers analyze their own responses to national traumas ranging from the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor to the various appropriations of 9/11. Offering personal, historical, and cultural perspectives, they question both the purposes and pedagogies of teaching writing.
Beyond sending students into cyberspace via search engines or directories (which will often yield hierarchically ordered sites of dominant cultural discourse), teachers can direct them to specific Web forums, which can range from The New York Times’s online discussion forum to a wide variety of newsgroups and discussion boards labeled “.alt”—a domain indicator of alternative discourse. Alternative newsgroups and discussion boards tend often to demand lower-end technologies (they are usually
individuals, in groups, or as a class. HTML editors such as Frontpage and Dreamweaver have made writing for the Web almost as simple as writing for print in word processing programs. By publishing their own Webzines, teachers and students can develop responses to national events in formats and lengths not constrained by normal discussion board or newsgroup netiquette. Moreover, they can in turn situate their writing within larger discursive formations—by linking directly to other online responses
aspects to the act of writing and to the teaching of writing. Although I sympathize with teachers’ 92 DAPHNE DESSER concerns for their students and recognize that we all negotiate complex roles of personal and professional in our positions as writing teachers, I believe that we teach our students more effectively when we balance our desire to solve the world’s problems or even one particular student’s problems with our professional responsibility to share our disciplinary knowledge. This
range of retaliation, high in the sky, than those willing to die themselves in order to kill others. In the matter of courage (a morally neutral virtue): whatever may be said of the perpetrators of Tuesday’s slaughter, they were not cowards” (The New Yorker, 24 Sept., 2001). WORKS CITED Bloom, Lynn Z. “The Essay Canon.” College English 61.4 (March 1999): 401–430. Bloom, Lynn Z., ed. The Essay Connection: Readings for Writers. 7th ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2004. Nobel Peace Prize website:
and in one special instance, this utterance came far too close to being true. While studying rhetoric in Greece, I unwittingly stood in the middle of a dramatic scene that was nothing less than a passion play for the people of Greece: The Revolution of 1974. Although I have always stressed the relationship between political conditions and rhetoric in my classes, and have tried to take such exigencies into account in my research, the context has always been on a purely academic, speculative, and