- Please answer the questions in paragraph form.
- TED Talk:
Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk, “The Danger of a Single Story.” In our discussion we paid particular attention to what she says about her experiences with writing, language, and education. For example, when she first started writing fiction (novels) Adichie followed the models she had been given – primarily novels written by British writers – which led her to write in ways that were foreign to her own experience. In this way Adichie, at least for a time, had been taught a “single story” about how to write a novel. Only later, after reading the writing of African writers, did she break free from that single story.
In our discussion we also paid attention to how Adichie expresses her observations and ideas, focusing on her use of concrete, detailed examples from personal experience. In particular, we noticed how she includes in her talk examples of times she herself perpetuated a single story about another person (or group of people), and we talked about how making this choice helped her to increase her relatability (or credibility, what rhetoricians call “ethos”) for her audience.
For this assignment, I’d like you to build on the discussions we’ve had about both Adichie’s TED talk and the “Writing Across Borders” video, by composing an inventory of your own experiences with language (i.e., an inventory of your own “literacy practices”). Please use the following questions as a guide (you don’t need to answer all of these questions; focus on those which are most relevant) in order to compose your literacy inventory.
- What languages do you speak, read and/or write, and in what contexts? Has your use of language changed over time? How so?
- What specific kinds of reading and writing, speaking and listening, viewing/interacting and composing (in various settings) did your parents do?
- What is your most significant memory as a child of reading outside of school (at home, in your community, among relatives and friends, at a place of worship, etc.)? Where? With whom? Favorite texts?
- What is your most significant memory of writing outside of school as a child? Where? What? To whom? What form did this writing take? (e.g., letter, story, diary, journal, other)
- What kinds of texts do you currently enjoy reading and writing?
- Do you do any kind of writing in a job setting? Examples?
- What kinds of reading and writing do you do in digital environments? On the web? On social networking sites, blogs, video games, etc.? Text messaging, etc.? For what purposes do you compose these “texts” and how have they been important to you?
- What other kinds of “literacy” are important to you: graphic arts, photography, visual design, musical composition, etc.? Why are these important?
- What are a few specific episodes with reading or writing (research, personal essays, analysis, summary, synthesis, proposals, memos, lab reports, other) that you remember most from your time in school? At university? Which have been most difficult/challenging and why?
- Any Other observations or stories?