The ESL Tutoring Project coordinated by the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement connects native English speaking members of the UR community to non-native English speaking members of the UR community who wish to improve their English skills. Students & staff from countries such as Haiti, Bosnia, Mexico,Iran & many others meet one-on-one on a weekly or biweekly basis to converse in English and work together on various learning exercises.
Interested staff and student volunteers or participants should contact the Bonner Center for Civic Engagement at 804-484-1600 or through e-mail at ESLProject@richmond.edu.
I’ve come across several new-to-me resources for teaching essays. Despite the fact that these sites are variously geared towards “creative nonfiction” or “literary nonfiction,” these resources should be of general use for any writing-related course, particularly considering the malleability of those genre labels.
The first, Brevity, is an online magazine devoted to “the Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction.” The magazine contains lots of interesting essays, but the craft essays might be of particular interest for teaching.
The Brevity site also links to a blog called You Gotta Teach This Essay, which is a forum where teachers “share information on those essays that [they have found] particularly useful in teaching the art and craft of literary nonfiction.” The entries generally contain synopses of the essays, suggestions for pedagogical approaches, and links to the texts (when possible) or other information on locating the texts.
From You Gotta Teach This Essay, I ended up browsing Quotidiana, a repository of 340 public-domain essays. Aside from general interest humanities applications, this site might have particular relevance for the CORE course, for History courses, for Women’s Studies (especially given the separate drop-down menu highlighting the women essayists included in the archive), or possibly for Political Science settings.
Changed my handle here.
Now, as program director, allow me to welcome all of you to this blog. I also want to post something cheerful and not as gloomy as the response to Carr’s article.
We will work with writing in some form, no matter the trajectory of human evolution. I have long advocated a richer use of those online spaces and new forms of media. We can, I feel, tame the machine and put it to its best uses.
But then I’m a digital immigrant. It’s the “natives” who will decide this issue.
This is Joe Essid, for now using the user name “writing” (uggh), as if I were some Socratic essence.
In a recent issue of Atlantic Monthly, Nicolas Carr published “Is Google Making Us Stupid?”
He posits that our minds are changing neurologically from using technology so much. Sounds far-fetched, but neuroscientists have observed changes in our brains for some time, especially among children. Note this response to Carr from the letters to the editor in the current issue of Atlantic:
Nicholas Carr correctly notes that technology is changing our lives and our brains. The average young person spends more than eight hours each day using technology (computers, PDAs, TV, videos), and much less time engaging in direct social contact. Our UCLA brain-scanning studies are showing that such repeated exposure to technology alters brain circuitry, and young developing brains (which usually have the greatest exposure) are the most vulnerable. Instead of the traditional generation gap, we are witnessing the beginning of a brain gap that separates digital natives, born into 24/7 technology, and digital immigrants, who came to computers and other digital technology as adults.
This perpetual exposure to technology is leading to the next major milestone in brain evolution. More than 300,000 years ago, our Neanderthal ancestors discovered handheld tools, which led to the co-evolution of language, goal-directed behavior, social networking, and accelerated development of the frontal lobe, which controls these functions. Today, video-game brain, Internet addiction, and other technology side effects appear to be suppressing frontal-lobe executive skills and our ability to communicate face-to-face. Instead, our brains are developing circuitry for online social networking and are adapting to a new multitasking technology culture.
Gary Small, M.D.
Director, UCLA Memory & Aging Research Center
Los Angeles, Calif.
Welcome, readers, to the Writing Center’s new blog, a resource for all things related to writing. If you are interested in contributing to the blog, please contact Joe Essid or Daniel Coudriet for more information.