SHORT CRITICAL RESPONSES


PURPOSE AND AUDIENCE.

For each text that we read, I will ask you to explain key concepts and/or apply specific critical methods. The purpose of these entries is to help you work through material that  may be unfamiliar to you.  While it's true that I want to make sure that you are understanding the readings, I also want you to use these responses to raise issues that we might discuss in and beyond class (e.g., in written exchanges with each other).  These responses should also help you create a record of your readings that you can return to long after the class is over.  Summarizing and responding critically to readings are good scholarly habits to get into as you pursue graduate level work.    Finally, these short responses let you rehearse ideas that you might want to pursue at greater length in your review of current theory and/or in the final extended response that is due at the end of class.

Ideally the entries should focus primarily on one chapter, one essay, or one concept.  Since you only have about 3-4 pages, I'd like you to engage critically with some specific aspect of the readings.   By reading closing and responding to a specific point, these short responses should familiarize you with  some of the conversational terms currently circulating in the field of composition studies.  Consider where you might enter the conversation yourself.

Readers  for these short responses consisit of me and your fellow class members so you can be quite informal.  Feel free to use a conversational style and first person ("I).  Since everyone in the class will have read the article to which you are responding, you needn't give a lengthy summary, but do get in the habit of reviewing  the main arguments briefly to refresh your readers' memories and as a good way of keeping a record for your own future reference.  In case others want to refer quickly to a specific passage that you mention or quote, please use standard parenthetical documentation to note specific page numbers.  No bibliography is necessay (unless you want the practice) since we all have the same texts.  If you refer to something beyond the assigned readings, please give a full citation at the end of your response.



RESOURCES

For this assignment, focus your responses on the readings from the syllabus.  Feel free to discuss your response with other class members or with me before the deadline.



FORMAT AND LENGTH

You may try forming a question or two in response to a reading (with some attempt at answers), or you might instead write a critique, or an endorsement, or a connection to something else you've read, a connection to your own teaching practices, a connection to literary studies, to popular culture, etc.  You can do almost anything in these response so long as I can see that you are understanding the material and finding a way to extend it, use it, dispute it, or question it.

The format is informal but analytic (a conversational style is fine).

Your response should be about 750-1000 words (3-4 pages).  You will generally be writing two of these response each week. Since these responses will often inform class discussion, please bring four copies: one for me and one for three other readers.

Use parenthetical documentation to refer to specific passages and page numbers.

Each short response is worth 5% for a  total of 30%.



WRITING PROCESS and DUE DATES

EVALUATIVE CRITERIA

This assignment asks you to engage critically with the readings in an informal way.

When I evaluate each response (worth 5 points), I will be looking  at:


GRADING: "A" work (93-100 pts.) is exemplary in content, professionally presented, and free of  errors.  "B" work (85-92 pts.) meets the requirements in every respect; no major revisions are needed, although a couple points might be strengthened; there are no more than two errors.  "C" work (77-84 pts.)  is adequate, but requires substantive revisions of  content and/or major surface revisions to improve style and mechanics.  "D" work (76 pts. and below) fails to meet the requirements of the assignment.

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