While in ENG 181: Journeying through Faerie, students will develop their audience awareness and understanding of genres while reading and writing fairy tales. Throughout the term, they will continually update their own definition of a fairy tale as they write and revise a genre analysis paper. Once they have a personal definition of the genre, they will write their own fairy tale according to it. Students will then work together to expand their understanding of the genre through a shared research question. After this process of slowly revising and rethinking their understanding of the genre of fairy tales, they will compose two texts that convey similar information for different audiences. The first will be a short conference paper that answers the same question they explored in small groups. The second will be a multimodal digital storytelling project (podcast or vlog) that presents their research to a larger, non-academic audience.
The first year composition students will be assisted in their mutual learning by Everyone’s an Author. I’ve chosen this particular rhetoric because it includes chapters on research, source usage, and how to select a genre and write within its conventions, including a section on narrative genres. The rhetoric will be supplemented by short fairy tale readings, including scholarship by Tolkien, Lewis, and Auden. The fairy tales themselves will offer examples of the genre that students will use in crafting their own definition. For the short critical works, Auden is the linchpin as he quotes and engages Tolkien and Lewis. I will use his essay as an example of integration of sources and entering into a conversation with a discourse community.
As students engage with these texts and develop their definition of the genre, they will be given strategic moments to pause and reflect on their writing. Many class sessions will begin with freewriting prompts that prepare students to think on a new project or to revision it for another purpose. At the end of each major project, a written reflection will be assigned. Each reflection asks students to consider their own rhetorical choices, from the purpose of their text (such as a fairy tale) to their specific audience with its unique needs.