Writing Question

Learning Goal: I’m working on a writing question and need support to help me learn.

Knoblauch suggests that there are many more definitions of literacy than the 4 he discusses and, “no definition tells…what literacy is; definitions only tell what some person or group—motivated by political commitment—wants or needs literacy to be” (79). Knoblauch is suggesting two things here:

  1. definitions are never benign and
  2. just because there are many definitions of literacy does not mean that they have no impact on us.

He argues that the power of definitions often lies in their “invisibility” or the assumption that what a concept means is simple and transparent (this concept could be literacy, education, critical thinking, etc.). The danger of the invisibility is the way in which the ideology remains unquestioned and tacitly accepted.

Go back and read your first MMW1 and write a new MMW in which you use Knoblauch’s and Anyon’s discussions about ideology to interpret your own assumptions from MMW1.

In other words:

  1. Which definitions of literacy/education have you unconsciously accepted as benign?
  2. Which definitions of literacy/education have you been conscious of as “motivated by political commitment”?
  3. In what ways has the ideology shaped your sense of your role in society and your identity (your sense of who you are)?
  4. How would you describe the ideology that undergirds your ideas about English, being educated, and your approach to education?

In addition to reflecting on and interpreting your assumptions through Knoblauch’s and Anyon’s frameworks, address the question of significance (so what?):

  • So what difference does it make that you approached 191 with the assumptions you did?

Week One MMWs:

  • What does it mean to be truly “educated”?
  • What is English (as a course)?
  • What is your approach to writing (school writing or workplace writing)? In other words, how do you tackle a writing project step by step? To what degree have you mastered fulfilling writing assignments and why?
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