From the category archives:

First Year Composition FYC

FYC and 2YC

by Dr Davis on April 8, 2016

Jessica Menkin Kontelis, TCU
“Creativity in the Margins: Deconstructing Assembly Line Approaches to FYC and 2ndYC”

What can Discussions about Inspiration in Creative Writing Texts Teach Us About Invention?—changed name

20 creative writing textbooks “Faculty and Life” from Barnes & Noble…
state of Texas

presence of theoretical work from what is typically aligned with psychology
creativity studies

Wanted to know more of what that meant
What is creativity or inspiration?

Sudden pop of epiphany doesn’t happen reliably and usually happens when people have spent years in a discipline.

Inspiration = inspirare to breathe into, breathing purpose into a thing (composition)

2 prerequisites:
1. internalized knowledge of the systems to which we wish to contribute
2. interests and desires unique to our experientially formed perspectives

focus on second component
desires of writer that are unique
process of invention that is …

importance of triggering the interest of the writer in the topic
Many beginning writers don’t know what they are interested in.
Creative writing texts offer opportunity for triggering student interest.

Students look for topics their audiences will be interested in. But if you have an interest, you can arouse interest in the audience.
Now audience won’t sustain interest always, not forever. We’ll get sick of hearing about it. BUT if you are interested, you will know what is most interesting about the topic because you’ll see new and fascinating which you (as a fan) didn’t know. Most likely the audience won’t know those things either.

The writer is not the driver of invention but the point of articulation.
Hmm. What would that mean? Various forces in the environment combine in ways to engage others.

Considering author interest turns attention to specific rhetorical situations.

Notes from CCTE 2016: Rhetoric 4


Video Games are Good for You

by Dr Davis on February 29, 2016

If you are a word person, go to “Gaming is Good for You” on for more on this:

Gaming is good for you metapicture

If you are a video person, go to “Your Brain on Video Games” on

The class is working on a paper on the effect of technology on your brain.


English Over Time

by Dr Davis on February 8, 2016

English 1000 years Psalm 23

I read the Middle English with a Scots accent.


Age of Fairy Tales

by Dr Davis on January 20, 2016

I know that fairy tales are older than the fifteenth century, as some were written down before then.

However, an article from the BBC says they are thousands of years old: “Fairy Tale Origins.”

Dr Tehrani explained: “We used a toolkit that we borrowed from evolutionary biology called phylogenetic comparative methods. This enables you to reconstruct the past in the absence of physical evidence.
“We’ve excavated information about our story-telling history, using information that’s been preserved through the mechanism of inheritance, so in that sense they embody their own history.
“By comparing the folk tales that we find in different cultures and knowing something about the historical relationships among those cultures, we can make inferences about the stories that would have been told by their common ancestors,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

fairy tale red in bed with wolf


Writing Emails

by Dr Davis on January 10, 2016

Because school starts tomorrow…

PhD Comics on Writing Emails

emails PhD comics


Drawing Notes

by Dr Davis on December 25, 2015

This year we experimented in our classes with drawing the notes on an article. (We had already taken written notes.) I used the information I gained from a TED talk to introduce the idea and I shared my drawn notes.

Today I was reminded of that experiment (somewhat successful and, at least, having no negative impact) by an article on JRR Tolkien drawing middle-earth.

map of Rohan Gondor and Mordor Tolkien drawing writing LoTR

pictograph word of the year 2015While I still think it is weird that the OED’s word of the year for 2015 is a pictograph (face with tears of joy), I think it is interesting that literacy seems to be moving towards images… What will the world read like in five hundred years.


Amelia Bedelia for L2

by Dr Davis on December 13, 2015

True Confession Time:

I have always loved the Amelia Bedelia stories. That is not what I need to confess, though. Everyone who loves words should love those books.

What I have to confess is I didn’t know that words that mean the opposite of each other are called contronyms.

dust contronym Amelia Bedelia

Dust is a contronym.

So are

For when I am teaching linguistics or my ESL bridge class.


How to Write an Essay

by Dr Davis on December 7, 2015

Basic rules for how to write an essay, with some inappropriate language.


Quick Edit Guide

by Dr Davis on November 28, 2015

improve writing 3 minutes or less


The Netherlands Policies

by Dr Davis on November 10, 2015

I have had several students write on the Dutch government’s physician-assisted death and was looking for a source recently. This is one that I need to remember.