chapter  2
40 Pages

The Beginnings of Change: Learning and Teaching Undergraduate Academlc Literacy Games

Every now and then I am reminded of how wretchedly difficult my first writing experience was in college. I didn’t know how to play any of the academic writing games, not the textual ones or the social and political ones, nor did I imagine the existence of the latter at the time. I had to write a 5-page paper on some topic in ancient thought and history about which I clearly knew little and in which I had no interest. I sat up all night (I am not a night person) in an armchair in our dorm study room, pulling out sentences and phrases so slowly and painfully that I thought I would never finish. The night seemed endless. I turned in the paper, such as it was, at 7:55 A.M. the next morning, 5 minutes before it was due, and got a C-as I recall. Luckily my imperfect memory has saved me from a lifetime of recurring nightmares about this experience, but even without the details, the sensations still haunt me.