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A Pedagogy of Fluency in a Densely Woven World

A Pedagogy of Fluency in a Densely Woven World


Evidence indicates that literacy and critical thinking of high school and college graduates is in decline. This paper asserts that a primary cause of this decline is ubiquitous media technology. Students are exposed to a constant stream of entertainment, information and digital sociality, which tends to fill all the gaps of their lives. Historically, these gaps have provided opportunities for engaging in “meaning-making” activities like personal banter, storytelling, sitting down with a good book, or contemplating matters of personal importance. This thesis proposes two keys for getting literacy and critical thinking back on track through the first-year writing classroom: 1) emphasizing the recovery of fluency through students’ personal narratives presented in an oral, face-to-face context, and 2) sharpening students’ attentional skills by fostering the meditative pause in the classroom and equipping them for “desert island discourse,” which composition teacher and theorist Peter Elbow defines as “the ability to talk reflectively to ourselves.”

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