Who Taught Your Teacher and What Was Taught?

        Taking a class with a teacher is like taking a drug they have prescribed.  Their teaching is intended to alter your mind's operation.  Before you settle in to absorb what they have to offer, or decide to resist it, you ought to investigate who taught them and what they were taught.  Using the Library's online search engines and their databases of peer-reviewed scholarly work, you should be able to look up the publications of any instructor you have at Goucher, including me, which will give you clues about the kinds of research they specialize in.  The Goucher College Catalogue lists all of our college degrees,the degree granting institutions and the year of our degrees in the faculty list at the back.  From this, you often can work backward to locate your teachers' teachers.  I wear two scholarly "hats" because I specialize in medieval English literature and I was trained to teach writing in a major center of composition research.  As a medievalist, I completed my doctorate studying with Elizabeth Kirk (Brown University, 1986) who was the student of E. Talbot Donaldson (Yale University, 1964), a fact that marks my medieval literature classes quite clearly.  As a writing teacher, I am the student of Gary Lindberg, Tom Carnicelli, and Tom Newkirk of the University of New Hampshire (M.A., 1980), an early center for the scientific study of the composing process and of children's entry into literacy.  I urge you to spend fifty minutes listening to Tom Newkirk explain the significance of the research of Donald Graves, his teacher and colleague.  They did something that, at the time, was considered audacious in composition research: they listened to what children were saying and watched carefully what they wrote.

        Tom Newkirk, Professor of English at University of New Hampshire, was selected as the 2010 recipient of the Lindberg Award, the highest award in the College of Liberal Arts. He delivered the 2011 Lindberg Lecture: "Tale of the Tape: Donald Graves and the Revolution in Children's Writing."  This link will take you to the talk, itself.  If you skip the Dean's congratulatory blah-blah, it's around 50 minutes, and includes raw footage (about 5 minutes) of one of Graves' young research subjects learning to write, including an example of "scaffolding" in action.  A thousand thanks to Tom Newkirk for: 1) remembering who I was after 31 years!; and 2) rapidly responding with the link to the video of his talk.  (Comp researchers are often this supportive of each other's work.)  As Writing Center tutors who read my latest "How I Write" essay will guess, the lecture series and award are named for Gary Lindberg, the teacher who re-taught me how to write in 1977.