Throughout this semester, we have discussed the five threshold concepts from Naming What We Know by Linda Adler-Kassner and Elizabeth A. Wardle. We have explored each concept in-depth, and we were recently paired with a professor, so we could view their class, D2L (the school learning portal), and their syllabus. We also conducted an interview with them. We analyzed each aspect of their teaching to see how the threshold concepts were displayed.

My peer mentor was Professor Keaton Lamle. I analyzed his Hybrid 1102 (first-year composition) course. Professor Keaton exemplifies all five threshold concepts throughout his syllabus. He exemplifies Concept 1: Writing is a Social and Rhetorical Activity and Concept 3: Writing Enacts and Creates Identities the most. He portrays these elements through discussion posts, peer reviews, workshops, and small writing assignments. These items also represent Concept 2: Writing Speaks to Situations through Recognizable Forms. Presenting the course objectives relates to Concept 5: Writing is (Also Always) a Cognitive Activity. Professor Lamle places emphasis on students forming skills that will be useful throughout their academic careers. He also signifies the importance of discussion and students expressing themselves freely. His representation of the other threshold concepts, as well as other analyses and teaching philosophies can be found here.

Professor Lamle says he “basically used the hybrid as an opportunity to require more in-depth writing exercises, prose drills, and source-response prompts […] allows students to develop their “muscles” more than in traditional modalities.” He adapted the hybrid to his benefit to help his students develop their writing practices. He is extremely detailed in his discussion descriptions and has copious materials on D2L providing readings and examples to better help students understand the concepts.

This is a screenshot of the syllabus that I annotated for this project.

Just as his syllabus highlights the importance of discussion, Prof. Keaton is open to discussions and Q&As in relation to teaching. In fact, Prof. Lamle stated, “My best advice is to hit up a wide variety of colleagues and ask them questions like [you have asked me for this project]. You’d be surprised how many excellent practices you can adapt to your own pedagogy […] I think as long as you capture your natural energy and interact with your classes in similar ways to how you’d chat with friends, your teaching persona will feel inviting and unforced.” Just as Professor Lamle encourages, my classmates and I juxtaposedeach of our pairings teaching philosophies. Prof. Keaton seems to value expression and authenticity.

Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth A. Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Classroom ed., Utah State University Press, 2016.

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