Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Teaching Adult Writers in Diverse Contexts SIG -- Friday, April 8th, 6:30 to 7:30, Atlanta, GA

Hi folks,

Just a reminder to bring your ideas for the ideal composition reader for adult students to Atlanta.  I've copied our proposal below and, if you'd like to get started earlier than April 8th, add your ideas to the blog at

Also, please save space in your busy conference schedule for our now traditional post-SIG dinner.

It is 40 degrees in Atlanta today, but I'm counting on balmy weather by April.

Until then, stay warm,



Our goal is to outline a composition reader that addresses the interests and needs of adult students and, in the process, explore whether or not it is possible to find common ground for our diverse adult student populations.

At our 2010 SIG, we found ourselves discussing the lack of texts that speak to the concerns, interests and needs of adult composition students. Once we moved from what is not available to what we might create, we found ourselves having to consider whether or not we could create a common text that would appeal to our different adult student populations. For 2011, we plan to run this experiment by assembling an outline for a composition reader for adult students. In the process, we will explore how we define adult students; whether or not these students have enough in common with each other to make such a reader (and our shared assumptions about adult students) viable; and how we might re-think the idea of a reader given the time and financial constraints our students often face, the availability of free online resources, and the increasing importance of multimodal communication. We have begun our exploration at our blog, Teaching Writing to Adults (

Chair: Michelle Navarre Cleary,
Co-chair: Sonia Feder-Lewis, sfeder@smumn,edu, Topics and Readings
Co-chair: Karen Uehling,, Audience and Previous Publications


  1. I have been teaching an Academic Writing class this fall, and we have been reading The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien, the first chapter of which stands, as a story, on its own, as do a few of the other later chapters. It has been a wonderful text to use; for many of my African students, it resonated with their own experiences, for my older students it brought up memories and associations, and for my younger students, it was a window into an experience they believed they needed to have. I think it would be a wonderful text to include.

  2. I love using that text to talk with students about sentence and paragraph length. I often have students who believe a paragraph is 4-5 sentences. We look at how O'Brien "breaks that rule," varying paragraph and sentence length to get his point across.