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Login to add to list. Be the first to add this to a list. Comments and reviews What are comments? As part of the assignment, students had to use quotations from the course readings in order to put in context what they were learning. The following are some samples of the different forms of these commonplace "books":. This assignment gave me a unique glimpse into how the students were responding to the course theme and in what ways they were taking up the content, repurposing it, and applying it to their own lives.

The fact that the Normal Commonplace Books are multimodal compositions also allowed me to explore how multimodal compositions compared to traditional written compositions as samples of student knowledge production. The project was indeed challenging and fun! First, students were tasked with integrating the course content into their own schemas and then with having to produce an original composition conveying what they learned regarding normalizing discourses. The fact that the "form" of the commonplace book was entirely open-ended caused some students to panic.

The panic also suggests that they were intimidated by a non-normative composition assignment which asked them to think differently about what counts as "writing. As the teacher, I was challenged with trusting my students' expressions of knowledge as valid and apparent even if I struggled to comprehend them.

Specific Learning Disability: Categories of Students with Disabilities

Overall, I was pleased with the project's results and with the decision to assign it as a semester-long project, since it allowed students to capture their evolving reactions to being exposed to normalizing discourses. My findings suggest that students seemed to prefer, or had more confidence in, using digital technologies such as Pinterest, video, and social networking sites rather than using material technologies and performance as formats for their "books.

Of all the data collected, the Normal Commonplace Books showed the most evidence of students' growing awareness of how minority groups are stigmatized and marginalized by linguistic and visual representations. In response, students "talked-back" to these representations by using their commonplace books to create counter-narratives of normalization.

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These findings also suggest that multimodal assignments unlike strict, linear, rule-based writing assignments allow students to access more aspects of themselves and their abilities in the composing and delivery process. Likewise, the audience of multimodal compositions have greater opportunities at accessing these compositions. Although beyond the scope of this study and article, the above would suggest that the field of composition studies has much to gain from universal design pedagogy. The semester before teaching my internship course, I was introduced to several pedagogies taken up by the field of rhetoric and composition: cultural studies pedagogy, feminist pedagogy, process pedagogy, and critical pedagogy.

I troubled myself all semester to fit my teaching philosophy into one of those prescribed pedagogies, frustrated that I was attracted to some aspects of all of them. For someone who is accustomed to striving to be normal, I wanted to find my pedagogical box and climb right in. However, it would take the entire semester to realize that many rhetoric and composition instructors enact hybrid pedagogies and that mine would naturally emerge from the very scholarship I studied and valued: the field of disability rhetoric.

I knew I wanted to include disability scholarship as soon as I received my internship assignment, but I was unsure of how students, who would be unaware of the theme when registering for the course, would react to an entire semester of advanced composition devoted to disability studies content. To reach a wider audience or to try to please more students? I also told myself that concentrating on normalcy rather than just disability studies would be more useful to my English Education majors who would, as high school teachers, encounter diversity and issues of normalcy in their classrooms.

I also knew that I was not the first teacher-researcher to realize the potential of incorporating the theme of normalcy into the rhetoric and composition course see especially Price's "Writing from Normal" , and I am indebted to the work that has been done before me. Therefore, from the onset, the intention of my study has been to build on and extend the scholarship in this area. In retrospect, I could have themed the course content only on disability studies rather than widening its scope to normalcy I certainly had enough material!

I do not regret theming the course on discourses of normalcy, agreeing with Tobin Seibers that disability theory has the potential to align all marginalized identity categories and to address the normalizing discourses that construct them. Indeed, from the data collected, students' exposure to critical disability studies early in the semester allowed them to be more open and willing to discuss other social justice issues relating to race, sexuality, religion, and class.

Yet despite the effectiveness of the course theme, I find myself still wondering at my decision-making, and I am left with the question: How can I expect my students to realize the potential of disability studies to their course work and individual lives when their instructor is hesitant to fully engage with the field? However, scholarship on benefits of integrating disability studies in the rhetoric and composition classroom is well-documented see especially Brueggemman and Lewiecki-Wilson, Dolmage, Dunn, Vidali.

When reviewing this scholarship, I can see that my hesitancy to focus my internship course entirely on disability issues instead of normalcy was misplaced since deconstructing normalcy is fundamentally a disability issue. Disability rhetoricians see a close relationship between disability studies curriculum and the work needing to be done in the composition classroom. Brueggemann and Lewiecki-Wilson note that "the core concepts of disability studies scholarship—such as claiming and naming, embodied learning and writing, and social stigma and the social construction and representation of disability—are especially pertinent to writing instruction" "Rethinking Practices" They argue that the questions posed by disability studies theory are also questions needing to be addressed in the composition classroom, questions that relate to language and its effects, understanding the role of the body in learning and writing, issues of access and exclusion, and theories of difference.

Price adds that disability pedagogy is a critical pedagogy and necessary in a disability-themed basic writing course.

Vidali agrees that DS pedagogy is an agent of change and that disability-themed undergraduate writing courses lead both students and teachers to become deeper critical thinkers and readers. While teaching the course, I found all of the above to be true. Initially, my P. She was concerned that reading disability studies scholarship would not appropriately address the course goal of teaching writing. Yet the issues that disability studies brought to the class such as embodiment, access, social construction, and the material effects of language made my students more conscious of their own language choices and the power that their own rhetoric and compositions would have on social realities and inequities.


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Understanding how their bodies functioned in relation to not only how they wrote but what they wrote also made them more socially-conscious writers and more cognizant of their own subjectivities in relation to the normalcy issues they explored. In addition, being asked to consider their own bodies' limits and strengths gave them greater insight into how access is not an issue just for the disabled but for all bodies.

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Of course, after all my course work and teaching experience I am still not sure what it means to teach writing and how to select course content that enables students to become "better" writers. I do not mean to sound self-deprecating in the above statement, rather I feel as if learning to teach writing is an on-going process and questioning this process is fundamental to my growth as a teacher of writing.

Nonetheless, I am confident that my students left the course with more critical awareness about "writing" and its effects because of their exposure to disability studies. Ironically, when I planned my internship course I was not familiar with disability studies pedagogy. Yet my course goals and assignments reflect that I was enacting a DS pedagogy without realizing it.

This realization has given me insight into how a teacher develops her own pedagogy. I now see that "pedagogy" is not a static category to be fit into, but rather a philosophy that emerges from our subject positions, identity formations, and our ways of being in the world. During the teaching of my internship I found myself constantly revising what I wanted my students to "get" from the course. I made changes to the assignments, readings, and class activities not only based on student responses to the material, but also in connection with the community we were building in our classroom and our knowledge of one another.

Despite my initial trepidation over teaching an advanced composition course without fitting my own pedagogy into other scholarly approaches, my internship experience was both enjoyable and meaningful—to me and my students. I like to believe that the disability studies inspired course content is largely responsible for my students' writing and critical thinking development and for the safe, warm, and respectful environment in which our learning took place.

However, this does not mean that the course went perfectly smoothly or that new considerations did not continuously arise during the planning and teaching of my internship. I touch on one major concern—disability disclosure—below. One of the greatest questions that arose during my internship was how to address my own subjectivity as a teacher with a disability. A plethora of scholarship has been devoted to the legal, psychological, and socio-economic effects of disability disclosure. The fear of stigma, contend DS scholars, has led many persons with disabilities to a life of passing see especially Brueggemann and Moddelmog, Kleege, Titchotsky.