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Through discussion, we hoped that students could bring some of their workplace experiences into the classroom to share with oth- ers. They could talk not only about actual writing formats, but also about the rhetorical contexts of their particular workplaces. Brochure writing at an understaffed and overworked rape crisis center was vastly different for our twenty-year-old male student than it was at a convivial and well-staffed ESL tutorial center for our sixty-year-old female student. In class, students could reflect on these differences with one another. So the course was struc- tured to have students allocate ten internship hours a week to both their work at their sites (nine hours) and to our class meet- ings (one hour, on average). Course Requirements Since we envisioned the course as both highly participatory and highly reflective, we established course requirements that we thought would reinforce both goals. To encourage participation, students were asked to be active and responsible in their intern- ships, to attend class well prepared by doing the required read- ings and writings, and to collaborate with classmates by contributing commentary on their work and ideas. These par- ticipatory requirements counted a full 25 percent of their final grade. To encourage reflection, students were given multiple op- portunities to reflect on their writing, their work experiences, and how their thoughts about future employment might be chang- ing. Informally, students kept a thirty-page course log through- out the course. The log was included in a portfolio of writing along with several other pieces, including reflective memos on two or three samples of writing for their workplaces and a for- mal reflective paper in which they considered what they had learned from their internships. Relevant Writing Internships We arranged for internships mainly in nonprofit agencies, which could provide students :with opportunities to practice genres of writing they might encounter in jobs after graduation. Brochures, newsletters, feature writing, and news releases were typical of the public relations writing most students were asked to do on the job. Annual reports, instruction manuals, and Web site pages were typical of the business and technical writing they were asked to do. Each internship site was, of course, unique, but most were variants of the sorts of nonprofit agencies for which many En- glish graduates eventually work. So, for example, two students write my essay website worked at a sexual violence center, one at Planned Parenthood, and another for a library tutoring service. In other cases, stu- dents lined up their own internships. One English major who was interested in trying out sportswriting found a job writing about sports events in the community. By meeting with each stu- dent ahead of time, we were able to match everyone with a job that pertained somehow to his or her interests. One-on-One Consultations Key to the success of the course were several consultations we held with students before write my research paper free the course began, at midterm, and af- ter the course was over.
Students were asked on written ques- tionnaires and through informal conversations what they hoped to accomplish in the course, what kinds of writing experience they had, and what career possibilities they were interested in exploring. Through these sessions, we were able to give class members write my essay website individualized attention and ensure that they would move forward in their plans. These plans varied considerably, from students vitally interested in grant writing or sportswriting -45 - COURSE DESIGN to those who had virtually no idea what they might do upon graduation. Class discussions in which students traded stories about their internship experiences also gave them insight into the discovery processes of their classmates.
Speakers on Various Writing Careers Throughout the course, we scheduled many outside speakers from a variety of writing careers, including a online essay services technical writer, a pro- posal writer, a campus publications writer, and several writers for nonprofit agencies. These speakers were themselves former English majors, many of whom had graduated from our depart- ment. They spoke candidly about the often circuitous paths that led them to their current jobs and why they took them — tales in which the students had a vital interest. And they described the kinds of writing they did, passing out samples of their work and indicating the features of their particular work culture that af- fected the writing. Relevant Readings and Writings We write my essay website required students to read about different applications of writ- ing, such as strategies for designing a brochure, and to bring in samples they had written during their internship or earlier or ones they had write my essay website seen or received elsewhere.
These samples, along with their reflective analyses, stimulated class discussion. In this way, class members were prepared for the many kinds of writing they were asked to do in their internships. Students also worked throughout the semester on building a writing portfolio that was turned in at the end of class. Rather, we focused our evaluations on the quality of reflectiveness and active participa- tion through the many venues of formal and informal writing, group work, and discussion. Did it take into account the rhetorical issues we had discussed in class? Did it consider the professional and vocational issues the entire class was wrestling with, that speakers were dis- cussing, and that the co-teacher and I were foregrounding? Much has been written on the key role reflection plays in the service-learning classroom in helping students process their ex- periences through formal and informal writing and through group discussion in which students collaboratively work through these issues.
Conclusions In recent years, English departments have eagerly embraced ser- vice-learning, especially in composition courses. Its values and - 47 - 78 COURSE DESIGN aims — encouraging both intellectual and social development — have proved particularly compatible with the sociopolitical em- phasis found in so much contemporary composition theory. In litera- ture courses too, service-learning can provide a site for students to extend their critical textual analyses to those of real-world rhetorical situations (Comstock 1994).
Our application of service-learning to the career development needs of undergraduate English majors, however, reflected cur- rent-disciplinary changes within English departments as we grapple with redefining our professional purposes and ourselves. Our primary goals, in other words, were concrete and practical. The student who worked in a rape crisis center, for example, got a crash course in learning varied cultural constructions for the experience of rape. The stu- dent who tutored non-native speakers came away with great com- passion and respect for her clients.
But though students wrote and talked about these experiences, these insights were still not the primary focus of the course. What did one need to know about cultural con- structions of rape in order to write appropriately about it in a brochure?
Why did the supervisor of one workplace sit down with a student for two hours to help her understand the altruistic philosophy of his organization?