I’m stealing this assignment! This takes the “literacy narrative” genre into a different, student-centered, context. The trouble I’ve experienced with writing in this genre is the disinterest many of my students express with “literacy,” an admittedly abstract concept. Replacing this with “communication” brings the same theme into a familiar context, and the examples you provided illustrate two creative ways to approach this prompt. One of my primary foci for my 110 and FIQWS courses this semester is including texts that speak more to my students’ real-world contexts: selections from Buzzfeed’s “Reader” section, “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” by Gloria Anzaldúa, short texts by James Baldwin and Audre Lorde, all of which I’ve drawn from my readings in Black and indigenous theory. The goal here, though, is to help usher students feeling included in the university. Both Ferris and Bartholomae echo this notion: it is supremely difficult for students to participate as scholars if the canonic texts all replicate hegemonic narratives. I want to carve a space for them inside the intimidating school building itself: a classroom that values this difference instead of repudiating it.
My initial (emotional) response to the editor’s assignment responding to Pratt’s essay was grouchy and heated.