Climate change, research, and the writing process

In my composition classroom, we investigate strategies that apply rhetorical knowledge to understand, analyze, synthesize and evaluate researched-based academic discourses about the writing process, genre studies, and the themes of identity and climate change. Students study ways that content knowledge in rhetoric, genre, identity, and climate change shape writing processes and outcomes in effective composition and writing applications. We assess the roles of audiences, writing purposes, and the contexts that shape rhetorical situations by framing questions about effective communication and research into climate change.

My students investigate cultural identities associated with variant climate change discourses. They develop a profile for discourse community knowledge by associating environmentally-conscious consumerism, emerging climate-change discourses and activism, and consider the roles of media and government in shaping these discourses. Students study the conventions of informational and persuasive genres to better understand the rhetorical contexts that shape climate-change discourses.

Using the Research Skills Development Framework (Willison & O’Regan, 2007) and the Discourse Community Knowledge Framework (Beaufort, 2007), students apply, synthesize, and evaluate their research using scaffolded writing-processes including concept and mind mapping, rhetorical invention, exploring open-ended questions, problem solving, peer-reviewing, reflective writing, and finalizing research questions. Each stage involves intentional movement from bounded to autonomous research. Students recognize the differences in audience and purpose by understanding and applying the differing conventions of genres.

I set research skill outcomes to help students develop, focus, and analyze topics to generate effective writing of sentences, paragraphing, and document organization. An integrated approach to writing involves both reflexive writing processes (writing about writing) and content-based writing. By better leveraging subject-matter knowledge students overcome preconceptions about identity, climate change, and gain skill in writing as problem solving.

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