I found the Micciche article very encouraging. She was successful in getting me excited about grammar and the possibilities of language! One of the things I appreciated most was that Micciche offers so many examples from her own lessons. I’m always on the look-out for texts or activities I can try out in my classroom. In particular, I found the list of readings where writers write on the relationship between language and identity (hooks, Orwell, Lakoff, Baldwin ) very useful. I will likely assign one or more of these selections in future semesters, and possibly even later this semester. I think these readings are important because they show students how to write about language. Often we ask students to analyze word choice, sentence structure, punctuation, etc. for a final assignment, and while we do have them practice through class discussions and low stakes writing exercises, we (or I) sometimes neglect to ever give them an example of how “professionals” would analyze language. It’s always informative to see a model of how to write whatever it is you are being asked to write. Additionally, I think these texts could be empowering to the students.
I did question how capable my students would be of writing analyses as thorough as those Micciche’s students wrote in their “commmonplace books.” I noticed that she was instructing sophomore-level students (at least that was what I understood from her notes), so that, in part, explains why they would be more comfortable in analyzing grammar/ language than I perceive some of my students to be at this time. For example, I know I’m still trying to get some of my students to understand what it means to write about an author’s “diction.” Some continue to write about the content of the language, rather than focus on the type of language being used. What other building blocks could we use to get students to a point where they are able to have complex discussion on an author’s use o grammar? I wonder, what would Micciche have assigned to a freshman-level class? Would she still use the commonplace books and simply have different expectations? Would there be more scaffolding to build up to these books? I’m curious to learn of other low stakes grammar assignments we could incorporate into our classes.