Academics can Augment Authenticity

“We get to choose our own film, our own character?  We can write what we want?!”

This response is typical in my Composition classrooms.  As a writing professor, this reaction alarms and worries me.  These young adults learn to construct effective arguments, while simultaneously, they untidily sprinkle their personal opinions and passions all over the internet.  Here is the gap.

My students appear disturbingly detached from themselves.  If I synthesize my own process of identity construction with what I witness in my students and my own goings-on online, I fathom that the path toward a crystallized version of selfhood, has multiplied.  One path runs online, and the other runs in “reality.”

Structured, effective, persuasive argument writing is powerful and elite.  Students perform as if trained to suppress their selves in academic/professional writing, while they express their selves freely online.  If students continue to practice writing in a divided and contained way, their professional more ‘impressive” writing will exclude their irreplaceable, innovative selves. This carries the potential to oppress authenticity in leadership roles, colleague communiqué as well as in the work force— the power source behind society and social progress.

Authenticity like literacy can be encouraged in Writing and Literature classrooms by including the following elements in writing assignments:

choice of content, choice of genre, tone, development of the writer’s voice, opinion coated in effective argument, personal anecdote as example, student conducted surveys and interviews as research  etc.

Please comment if you have any more ideas for how to encourage authentic academic writing!


2 thoughts on “Academics can Augment Authenticity

  1. I really enjoyed this post! What you’re saying is so, so true. Though this doesn’t pertain to the classroom, I had an interesting conversation with a young girl about why I deleted my Facebook account a few years ago and restarted. The premise was that we are constantly reminded of who we used to be rather than who we are now and where we’re going in the future; that it can be very difficult to move forward in maturity and self-acceptance with reminders of hurts, hang ups, etc. bombarding our news feeds. Regardless of how you feel about that, there was a concerning disconnect between reality and online life in her responses.
    She vehemently disagreed with me, which was fine, but her reason was that “what people see on Facebook is who she is and that she never regrets anything that she’s done.” She couldn’t fathom disconnecting from social media. Her online persona seemed to trump any amount of personal feelings attributed to her experience in real life.
    Should the day come that my passion is separated into “church appropriate”, “community appropriate”, “online”, “family”, and so on…take my pen or laptop away! I stand by, “let not one more child be cast into the world’s adventure with a sense of tedium”.
    Teach on girl and cheering as you send forth world changers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much! It really is impacting identity development in all sorts of ways; it’s so interesting too how different people perceive their own online personas differently from the way others do.


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