As I was reading the Purdy & Walker article lots of light bulbs were going off for me. One was that as a hopeful composition teacher and soon-to-be syllabus designer, I think my main goal is to help develop students’ identities as researchers! To always be asking myself what I can do, what approach/materials, etc. can I use to help them see themselves as capable researchers, not just research paper writers as Purdy & Walker talked about. The construction of a confident research identity is not something that students will just use in academia, but in life in general in our increasingly information-rich society. I think this is becoming an area of inquiry for me. I want to know more about how we can effectively help students develop this identity, and how they perceive themselves as researchers (thesis idea maybe??).
A second light bulb for me was related to Purdy & Walkers quote that “many of these students are brimming over with knowledge about how to find things through the use of various online resources” (12). It made me think of how often in the 30 workshop students are teaching me things (I am not super techy so that’s probably part of it) and how astute they are at navigating digital environments. It reminds me of how teaching is not really so much about me teaching students everything, so much of the time it’s them teaching me things. Students come with so much insight and skills already that it’s completely crazy to tear that down by telling them that that’s not “academic” or “scholarly.” I think teaching is so much about building upon and making connections, and about letting them go and explore.
My third thought was regarding the view in academia of the library as the correct starting place for academic work. I read this after Friday’s 30 workshop and it made me kind of laugh. I led the workshop and though I did spend time talking about searching on-line and some of the good ways to do so and how it can be a good place to start, I realize now that I was sort of subtly privileging the library databases as somehow more “scholarly.” Yeah on-line stuff is good, but you probably want to include some “scholarly” articles from these databases.
Another thought was the idea of research being messy. I think up until now I’ve always imagined it in a more linear fashion. But since the start of this class I’ve really come to see how messy my research process really is! It’s kind of been a wow moment for me.
Final thought had to do with this quote, “new instructors, who, not incidentally, frequently are graduate students and adjunct instructors, both groups that exist at the crossroads of multiple identities.” It made me feel a connection with or at least an ability to empathize with freshman comp. students. We’re both in these liminal spaces trying to enter into these “new worlds.”