Composition and Sustainability: Teaching for a Threatened Generation

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National Council of Teachers of English, 2001 - 259 pages
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This book is intended to be a stimulus for educators who want to teach or plan curriculum with the long view in mind. The book states that although sustainability--meeting today's needs without jeopardizing the interests of future generations--has become a dominating force in diverse disciplines, it has yet to play a substantive role in English studies. It argues that, in light of worsening environmental crises and accelerating social injustices, there is a need to use sustainability as a way to structure courses and curricula, and that composition studies, with its inherent cross-disciplinarity and its unique function in students' academic lives, can play a key role in giving sustainability a central place in students' thinking and in the curriculum as a whole. Presenting his own classroom, the book's educator/author draws on student writing to articulate a pedagogy that gives students opportunities to think and write in three zones of inquiry: place, work, and future. This approach allows the educator/author to create a variegated course wherein students write neighborhood portraits, critique their work experiences, reflect on their majors, investigate alternative theories of education, compose oral histories, construct narratives about their futures, and design their own assignments--all from the perspective of sustainability. In the book these writings are juxtaposed, as is a neighborhood portrait, with observations from writers in architecture, ecological economics, future studies, planning, sociology, sustainable business, and urban studies. Appendixes include environmental statistics, and a detailed description of the author/educator's composition course, with assignments ready to use or adapt. (Contains chapter notes and extensive works cited.) (NKA).

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