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Exploring Composition Studies Cover

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Exploring Composition Studies

Sites, Issues, Perspectives

Kelly Ritter and Paul Matsuda

Kelly Ritter and Paul Kei Matsuda have created an essential introduction to the field of composition studies for graduate students and instructors new to the study of writing. The book offers a careful exploration of this diverse field, focusing specifically on scholarship of writing and composing. Within this territory, the authors draw the boundaries broadly, to include allied sites of research such as professional and technical writing, writing across the curriculum programs, writing centers, and writing program administration. Importantly, they represent composition as a dynamic, eclectic field, influenced by factors both within the academy and without. The editors and their sixteen seasoned contributors have created a comprehensive and thoughtful exploration of composition studies as it stands in the early twenty-first century. Given the rapid growth of this field and the evolution of it research and pedagogical agendas over even the last ten years, this multi-vocal introduction is long overdue.

Fifth Dimension, The Cover

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Fifth Dimension, The

An After-School Program Built on Diversity

The significant increase in the number of working mothers over the last twenty years has led to widespread worries about the plight of “latchkey kids,” who return from school each day to empty homes. Concerned that unsupervised children might be at greater risk of delinquency, schools and communities across the nation began providing after-school activities. But many of these programs were hastily devised with little understanding of what constitutes a quality program that meets children’s developmental needs. The Fifth Dimension explores and evaluates one of the country’s most successful and innovative after-school programs, providing insightful and practical lessons about what works and doesn’t work after-school. The Fifth Dimension program was established in the 1980s as a partnership between community centers and local colleges to establish an educational after-school program. With an emphasis on diversity and computer technology, the program incorporates the latest theories about child development and gives college students the opportunity to apply their textbook understanding of child development to real learning environments. The Fifth Dimension explores the design, implementation, and evaluation of this thriving program. The authors attribute the success of the Fifth Dimension to several factors. First, the program offers a balance of intellectually enriching exercises with development enhancing games. Second, by engaging undergraduates as active participants in both learning and social activities, the program gives local community organizations a large infusion of high-quality help for their educational efforts. Third, by rewarding children for their achievements and good behavior with greater flexibility in choosing their own schedules, the Fifth Dimension acts as a powerful, enduring motivator. The Fifth Dimension program serves as a model for what an enriching after-school program can be. The product of years of innovation and careful assessment, The Fifth Dimension is a valuable resource for all who are interested in developing successful community-based learning programs.

First Time Up Cover

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First Time Up

An Insider'S Guide For New Composition Teachers

Brock Dethier

"First time up?"—an insider’s friendly question from 1960s counter-culture—perfectly captures the spirit of this book. A short, supportive, practical guide for the first-time college composition instructor, the book is upbeat, wise but friendly, casual but knowledgeable (like the voice that may have introduced you to certain other firsts). With an experiential focus rather than a theoretical one, First Time Up will be a strong addition to the newcomer’s professional library, and a great candidate for the TA practicum reading list.

Dethier, author of The Composition Instructor’s Survival Guide and From Dylan to Donne, directly addresses the common headaches, nightmares, and epiphanies of composition teaching—especially the ones that face the new teacher. And since legions of new college composition teachers are either graduate instructors (TAs) or adjuncts without a formal background in composition studies, he assumes these folks as his primary audience.

Dethier’s voice is casual, but it conveys concern, humor, experience, and reassurance to the first-timer. He addresses all major areas that graduate instructors or new adjuncts in a writing program are sure to face, from career anxiety to thoughts on grading and keeping good classroom records. Dethier’s own eclecticism is well-represented here, but he reviews with considerable deftness the value of contemporary scholarship to first-time writing instructors—many of whom will be impatient with high theory. Throughout the work, he affirms a humane, confident approach to teaching, along with a true affection for college students and for teachers just learning to deal with them.

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Folklore Rules

A Fun, Quick, and Useful Introduction to the Field of Academic Folklore Studies

S.

Folklore Rules is a brief introduction to the foundational concepts in folklore studies for beginning students. Designed to give essential background on the current study of folklore and some of the basic concepts and questions used when analyzing folklore, this short, coherent, and approachable handbook is divided into five chapters: What Is Folklore?; What Do Folklorists Do?; Types of Folklore; Types of Folk Groups; and, finally, What Do I Do Now?

Through these chapters students are guided toward a working understanding of the field, learn basic terms and techniques, and learn to perceive the knowledge base and discourse frame for materials used in folklore courses. Folklore Rules will appeal to instructors and students for a variety of courses, including introductory folklore and comparative studies as well as literature, anthropology, and composition classes that include a folklore component.

Force and Motion Cover

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Force and Motion

An Illustrated Guide to Newton's Laws

Jason Zimba

Isaac Newton developed three laws of motion that govern the everyday world. These laws are usually presented in purely mathematical forms, but Jason Zimba breaks with tradition and treats them visually. This unique approach allows students to appreciate the conceptual underpinnings of each law before moving on to qualitative descriptions of motion and, finally, to the equations and their solutions. Zimba has organized the book into seventeen brief and well-sequenced lessons, which focus on simple, manageable topics and delve into areas that often cause students to stumble. Each lesson is followed by a set of original problems that have been student-tested and refined over twenty years. Zimba illustrates the laws with more than 350 diagrams, an innovative presentation that offers a fresh way to teach the fundamentals in introductory physics, mechanics, and kinematics courses.

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Going North Thinking West

The Intersections of Social Class, Critical Thinking, and Politicized Writing Instruction

Irvin Peckham

Peckham argues for more clarity on the history of critical thinking, social class structures, and teacher identity, while he undertakes a skeptical look at teaching practices with which even he identifies. Critical thinking itself, Peckham suggests, is a middle-class projection, and the belief that it is linked with effective writing skills may in fact cause writing teachers to misread their students. Both the idea that argumentation is the obvious and necessary form of academic discourse and the conviction that social transformation is a purpose of the classroom need to be examined.

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Guesstimation

Solving the World's Problems on the Back of a Cocktail Napkin

Lawrence Weinstein

Guesstimation is a book that unlocks the power of approximation--it's popular mathematics rounded to the nearest power of ten! The ability to estimate is an important skill in daily life. More and more leading businesses today use estimation questions in interviews to test applicants' abilities to think on their feet. Guesstimation enables anyone with basic math and science skills to estimate virtually anything--quickly--using plausible assumptions and elementary arithmetic.

Lawrence Weinstein and John Adam present an eclectic array of estimation problems that range from devilishly simple to quite sophisticated and from serious real-world concerns to downright silly ones. How long would it take a running faucet to fill the inverted dome of the Capitol? What is the total length of all the pickles consumed in the US in one year? What are the relative merits of internal-combustion and electric cars, of coal and nuclear energy? The problems are marvelously diverse, yet the skills to solve them are the same. The authors show how easy it is to derive useful ballpark estimates by breaking complex problems into simpler, more manageable ones--and how there can be many paths to the right answer. The book is written in a question-and-answer format with lots of hints along the way. It includes a handy appendix summarizing the few formulas and basic science concepts needed, and its small size and French-fold design make it conveniently portable. Illustrated with humorous pen-and-ink sketches, Guesstimation will delight popular-math enthusiasts and is ideal for the classroom.

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How Myths about Language Affect Education

What Every Teacher Should Know

David Johnson

How Myths about Language Affect Education: What Every Teacher Should Know clarifies some of the most common misconceptions about language, particularly those that affect teachers and the decisions they make when they teach English language learners. The chapters in this book address myths about language in general, about first and second language acquisition, about language and society, and about language and thinking. Each chapter concludes with activities for teachers that give examples, exercises, or simple questions that relate directly to teachers' everyday dealings with ELLs and language. How Myths about Language Affect Education is not intended to be a complete introduction to linguistics; it does not contain information on phonetics or complex syntactic explanations, and technical jargon is kept to a minimum. The aim of this book is not to settle language issues but rather to highlight popular misconceptions and the ways that they influence debates regarding language and affect language policies in and out of the classroom.

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The Humanities and the Understanding of Reality

edited by Thomas B. Stroup

In their concern with the perennial controversy between the two great areas in which men seek knowledge, three eminent literary scholars and a distinguished journalist in these essays address themselves to the question, "Do the humanities provide a form of understanding of reality that the sciences do not?"

Monroe C. Beardsley maintains that the humanities considered as contributors to knowledge must deal with the same subject matter as the sciences, but literature and the arts can enlarge our powers of understanding human nature, although not in the way the sciences do (under empirically or logically verifiable laws). Northrop Frye, while acknowledging the difference in methodology and mental attitude, asserts that the humanities, on the other hand, express man's concern for this world most clearly in the myths by which man realizes his involvement in mankind and his responsibility for his own destiny.

Frank Kermode argues that to follow the ways of sciences in searching out repetitions such as make myths is to lose sight of the unique, particular, and concrete expressions which underlie personal participation and sharpen the sensibilities. And this experience, he maintains, is the peculiar contribution of the humanities. In the final essay, Barry Bingham, editor and publisher of the Louisville Courier-Joumal, calls for a vigorous cultivation of the liberal arts in American life.

Identity Papers Cover

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Identity Papers

Literacy and Power in Higher Education

edited by Bronwyn T. Williams

How do definitions of literacy in the academy, and the pedagogies that reinforce such definitions, influence and shape our identities as teachers, scholars, and students? The contributors gathered here reflect on those moments when the dominant cultural and institutional definitions of our identities conflict with our other identities, shaped by class, race, gender, sexual orientation, location, or other cultural factors.

These writers explore the struggle, identify the sources of conflict, and discuss how they respond personally to such tensions in their scholarship, teaching, and administration. They also illustrate how writing helps them and their students compose alternative identities that may allow the connection of professional identities with internal desires and senses of self. They emphasize how identity comes into play in education and literacy and how institutional and cultural power is reinforced in the pedagogies and values of the writing classroom and writing profession.

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