Autobiographical Language Narrative

    Targeted Learning Outcomes:
    Apply rhetorical concepts (writer, audience, subject, purpose, context) to analyze and compose a variety of texts.
    Develop an understanding ofand engagement withmetacognitive practices (reflection, adaptation, and revision) to navigate writing situations.
    The writer has made narrative choices based on
    the rhetorical situation (including medium/venue, audience/audience expectations)
    their own goals and purposes (how they hope to impact/affect their audience)
    Rhetorical strategies to demonstrate:
    Narrative: tell me a story
    Narrative structure: beginnings, middles, ends purposefully / strategically ordered
    Rich description that includes specific, concrete details and paint a clear picture for the reader
    Narrative point / purpose: not a claim but a reason (implicit or explicit) for sharing this story
    Technical Requirements:
    Formatted according to course guidelines (see General Formatting Guidelines for Papers).
    On time submission to Canvas.
    Minimum three pages of text.
    Maximum five pages of text.
    Tell me a story about you and your relationship and experiences with language / literacy

    Explanation / Purpose:
    From Anzalda to Tizon, weve read several narratives (stories) about how others experience language in the United States. For our final essay, you will contribute to these conversations by sharing (one of) your own language story (stories).

    Regardless of how many languages you know, all of us wield and experience language daily. For some of us, language is ever-present in our lives because everyday communication is a constant negotiation. For others, language is something that exists largely under the radar (a part of life that barely / rarely rises to our consciousness) and only appears to us in moments of language difference (someone is speaking in a way we do not understand / someone does not understand what it is we are saying). For some, it is simply a tool for communication with no deep personal connectionssomething not aligned with their identity. Yet, for others still, language is community and culture and a way of connecting within and across generations, geography, shared beliefs and experiences. And, for many, language is all of these things at different times and all at once.

    How you language (to use the verb form of the word from Asao Inoue) comes from some time, place, culture, history, set of experiences, beliefs, assumptions, goals, and more. How you choose to speak or write (in specific situations), how you react to language difference, how you view yourself because of your use of particular languages in particular situations have all developed over time and they are at once unique to an individual as well as shaped by collective, societal attitudes, assumptions, and expectations.

    For our last essay, reflect on your layered, varied, and evolving relationship(s) with language. Consider the role language has played in your lifehow visible or invisible language has been at various stages of your life and what those experiences might reveal about (your) language, power, and identity. Identify a critical moment (or a small cluster of related moments) that reveal something significant about your relationship with languagewritten or spoken, English or an English-variant, a recognized language or one that exists on the peripheryand reflect on how that experience (or cluster of experiences) has impacted you and your current relationship with language.

    The Narrative Essay
    In 3-5 pages, construct a language autobiography or narrative that explores the ways in which an experience (or experiences)positive or negativehas shaped you and your relationship(s) with language. Your narrative should be reflective and personally significant, but it should also have a point and purpose that extend beyond your own enlightenment. There must be a reason you are sharing this story at this moment in time. In other words, you will tell your story about language that says something more about language, power, identity, systemic racism, privilege, education, etc.  Your values and ideas surrounding what it means to be an effective communicator, to be literate, to be a good writer or proficient language user, to be smart or educated come from somewhere, and your experiences can teach us something about the impact of language in all of our lives.

    Although you can write about more than one experience, keep in mind that a strong narrativea good storyis specific and includes rich, concrete details that paint a full picture of the event or situation.  You do not want to take on too muchtell too many talesthat do not come together to construct a single, full, detailed and cohesive picture. Remember that you only have 3-5 pages for this assignment.

    Additionally, narratives are often most effective when the language used is carefully, particularly, and artfully chosen. Avoid overly sentimental or figurative language that can detract from or overshadow the events on the page.

    The readings we have done this quarter should serve as a springboard for exploring your own experiences with language and literacy.  Please note, however, that this does not mean I expect you to have the same or even similar experiences to the writers weve read (be honest! Dont try to fabricate experiences so that they mimic the readings because thats what you think I want to hear); rather, I hope that the narratives weve read will encourage you to think more critically and reflectively about your own experiences and how they relate to and challenge the experiences of others. 

    Your paper will be assessed on (25pts total):
    General Task: It is a narrative (story) about language (not just an explanatory essay). It utilizes vivid and concrete details to tell a story of your relationship with language. Your history, experiences, and relationship with language is clearly highlighted and drives the narrative.

    Narrative Point / Purpose: The point / purpose of the narrative is clear. The narrative addresses the larger picture / contributes to larger discussions of language, power, identity. There is a reason (implicit or explicit) for sharing this story.

    Detail and Development: The focus of the narrative is narrow. All scenes / moments included in the narrative work together to tell a single story / convey a single message. The narrative is not overly general or broad. Rather than provide a superficial overview of events, the narrative develops a rich, immersive story, using specific, concrete details and dialogue to paint a clear picture for the reader.

    Organization and Cohesion: The narrative includes a beginning, middle, and end. Paragraphs flow from one paragraph to anotherthere are no purposeless jumps between paragraphs. Within paragraphs, sentences work together to focus on a single main topic / point / idea.

    Clarity: The narrative uses language that is clear, vivid, and non-sentimental or overly dramatic. Sentence structures are generally grammatical (unless the narrative is purposefully and deliberately challenging Standard American English spelling and grammar conventions).

    Proofreading / Polish: There is accuracy and consistency in spelling and capitalization, a lack of typos, and proper formatting throughout the paper (unless the narrative is purposefully and deliberately challenging Standard American English spelling and grammar conventions). Care and attention have been paid to producing a finished piece.

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