Position Statements and How They Relate to FYC Courses

I found the position statements to be incredibly interesting. Maybe it is because I tend to not think solely about grammar (mostly because it overwhelms me), but I really enjoyed the position statement on the teaching of grammar (NCTE 1985) . Before grad school, I never really thought about the reason why english speakers write in a certain way. I just unconsciously made these decisions. I can’t really remember a time in elementary school where we broke down basic grammar rules, and if we did, I didn’t really retain them. This is probably because they were taught as isolated rules, not concepts. In PRWR 6000, we approach grammar in a practical way that focuses on what specific sentences are saying based on the grammar rules. I have always been a hands-on learner, so this is probably why this works best for me…but it makes me think about how writing is taught in FYC courses. Do we focus on grammar, or do we assume that students enter college with these foundations of understanding? Did they retain these rules if they weren’t properly paired with theory, discussion, and practice? Maybe we (instructors) will never really know if students fully understand the rhetorical choices they are making if we don’t require a reflection or explanation. 

Another position statement that I would like to be conscious of is regarding the teaching of writing (NCTE 2016). This is especially important because most of the cohort will be facilitating FYC courses next year. This new crop of students is equip with digital knowledge that needs to be addressed in the classroom. One way that instructors can connect with students is by understanding the type of content that they will be interacting with daily, and catering instruction to that medium. For example, adding multimodal components into the classroom setting that could be found on social media…like memes. Ex:

Example of Meme

Using these techniques to engage with students helps create a level of trust and understanding that the content that is being taught and reinforced in applicable in their daily life. Maybe it is to write an email to a professor, maybe it is to make a viral meme…regardless, they will have the skills necessary to communicate in the professional and social world. 

A position statement that could be helpful in the classroom setting regards reading and reading instruction (NCTE 2004). When we take into account that learning is a continual process, it is easy to see how the instruction of thoughtful and purposeful reading and comprehension does not stop in grade school. Each student brings a different understanding to a reading, and it is important for instructors to take this into account when assigning readings and grading responses. As we learned in the threshold concepts, reading and writing takes place in a larger conversation where knowledge is taken in and informed by previously gained knowledge. It is easy in a FYC course to forget that not everyone entering the classroom is on the same reading or comprehension level, and that students come from many different backgrounds and stages of life. As instructors continue to understand and adapt to student learning and behaviors, classrooms will continue to be important spaces where progressive thinking and learning take place.

(Links to each position statement are provided on the general description of the statement)

2 Replies to “Position Statements and How They Relate to FYC Courses”

  1. I like your meme. A lot of strict guidelines can be overwhelming and suck the fun out of things that would otherwise be interesting. Taking those kids kayaking (metaphorically?) could probably open them up to participate and give them the courage to make mistakes and learn from them.

  2. Lauren, I feel like someone in this group must incorporate a meme once a week, and I’m glad you posted that. It is interesting to see the difference in expectations between such classes and how the NCTE approaches it.

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