Contributed by Kori Hensell
Students will learn how social experience and perspective makes an individual person a key piece in the exchange of ideas. By interacting with each other and with a variety of test subjects (all of whom are experts in at least one thing), students are both exposed to authority and involved in the larger dialogue of academic discourse.
For our Synthesis Unit, students must develop interviewing skills.
- First, we will discuss how the rhetoric of interviewing as a genre of text is valuable to the world and to individuals, particularly. We will discuss how this ties into the concept of authority, and how multiple authorities provide insight and meaning to an area of study.
- In class, we will come up with a set of 10-12 questions that can invite query into a specific topic. For this exercise, students must first consider their own expertise. Once everyone has shared, I will assign random pairs to interview each other. They must ask questions that are valuable to the rhetorical triangle, and they will develop a good idea of each others’ expertise whether it’s baking, art, hunting, or being an excellent story-teller. Anything goes.
- Once students feel comfortable asking each other questions and getting a feel for the interview process, they must spend the next week gathering a variety of interviews from various sources. They must find out what the subject’s expertise is and what qualifies them as an expert in the field. It must include the following test subjects: a family member, a friend, an instructor, and a stranger. They must gather at least 4-5 interviews. Once they have completed the assignment, it will tie into the authority unit and what types of qualities or experiences renders an expert.
This plan is meant to spread over the course of a week to allow students to get a variety of test subjects and social exchange of ideas as described in Roskelly’s essay: “The first work of students in a small group is to understand the content and forms of such knowledge…The group then learns to remake knowledge, pulling together academic or institutional knowledge within the framework of their own…in order to achieve power” (145).