Most useful textbook and academic posts of the week: September 27, 2019

“I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” ~Isabel AllendeIsabel Allende once said, “I don’t think of literature as an end in itself. It’s just a way of communicating something.” In reflection on this quote, TAA member Caroline Eisner commented on our LinkedIn page, “Allende seems a strong proponent of the idea that writing needs to communicate something TO SOMEONE, a strong appeal to writing with audience awareness. As if, without that awareness, literature doesn’t exist? Just thinking out loud here.”

This week’s collection of articles addresses similar thought, with focus on what publications matter at what stages of your career; the idea that writing is more than technical skill, but rather a capacity to apply knowledge; and the ability to use our skills as examples to others through mentoring or models. As more colleges try classes without textbooks, discussed in our final article, it’s right to consider whether literature is an end in itself or just a way of communicating something.

As you write this week, consider your audience and your form of writing. Are they aligned and do they communicate the ideas you intend to share with those for whom they are intended? Happy writing! [Read more…]

TAA members share their mentoring experiences and advice

MentoringWhat is a mentor? Merriam-Webster defines a mentor as “a trusted counselor or guide”. As writers, much of our efforts are completed individually, and even when contributing to a larger body of work, the relationships are more often collaborative in nature than one of a mentoring type, but few successful authors have reached that level of success without the guidance of one or more who came before them and guided their efforts. Several TAA members share their experiences as either a mentor or mentee and some advice for successful mentoring relationships. [Read more…]

Writing gifts: Blogging about academic writing

Patricia Goodson

Patricia Goodson

Maggie Huerta

Maggie Huerta

Peter Elbow once recommended that authors should try to write for non-evaluative audiences; they should experiment donating their writing as precious gifts to readers who would not judge, evaluate or critique, but would merely enjoy the words and ideas1. For academic writers like us — subject ad nauseam to evaluations and tearing apart of our writing – having a venue where we write merely for the pleasure of writing what others enjoy reading is strong medicine. Medicine that can heal the handicap of destructive feedback, nourish the “writing soul”2, prevent abject loneliness during the process, and restore the hope that, yes, we can, in fact, write something others might actually want to read!

Here is the story of how a group of graduate students and faculty at Texas A&M University began heeding Elbow’s advice. [Read more…]

Learn as you mentor: An interview with Felicia Moore Mensah

Felicia Moore-Mensah

Felicia Moore-Mensah

Felicia Moore Mensah, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Science Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She is widely published in the fields of science and education and serves on the editorial review boards of the Journal of Science Teacher Education and Journal of Elementary Science Education, as well as lead-editor for Cultural Studies of Science Education.

Recently awarded the 2012 American Education Research Association Division K, Early Career Award, Dr. Mensah currently serves as President of Sisters of the Academy Institute, one of TAA’s chapters.

Here Moore Mensah talks to TAA about her experiences with scholarly writing:

[Read more…]