The great thing about a place-conscious approach to first-year composition is that it can slide into just about any curricular model, even right alongside many existing approaches to FYC, like Yancey et al.’s Teaching for Transfer, Downs and Wardle’s Writing About Writing, or even a Writing in the Disciplines-based approach. This means that your programs can become more place-conscious without need to revamp, reconsider, or abandon anything you’ve already developed. Instead, a place-conscious approach can inform what Yancey et al. (2013) call the “content of FYC,” or the “stuff” through which you teach the concepts, themes, ideas, or skills that are important to your program. A place-conscious approach can even be adopted into courses teaching disciplinary writing in a WAC or WID program.
Curricular changes toward a place-conscious writing program can vary greatly, from small changes to existing curricular models, to complete revision to something totally new. A place-conscious approach largely informs the content of a composition class, especially when it is used in conjunction with an existing model. As such, these are some areas for consideration when pushing any curricular model toward place-conscious:
- What topics are students reading about?
- What sources or authors are represented in reading selections?
- What genres are students writing and exploring?
- What audiences are students writing for?
- What counts as an appropriate text for use in class (physical spaces, social media posts, nonacademic genres)?
You can review the materials available in the Resources for Instructors pages to get an idea of some assignments, projects, and readings which are informed by a place-conscious approach. These materials might provide some inspiration for developing your own new assignments, or they could serve as material for discussion, evaluation, criticism, and reflection in professional development meetings.