The 203 Reader
The American University of Beirut (AUB) released the first edition of its custom published Reader for Academic English in 2007 to adapt the teaching of the course to our students’ needs and interests. Now, eleven years and four editions later, we continue with this valued tradition of custom publishing a home-grown reader springing from the knowledge and experience of the Communication Skills Program. Following When Silence Speaks, Shades of Gray, After Words, and Shifting Narratives, is this fifth edition of the Reader: Pages Apart.
With seven chapters and sixteen overarching themes, Pages Apart challenges the reader to think through current issues. The primary aim of the editors was to question myths and reshape fantasies by presenting texts that illustrate or elicit challenging political, social, economic, and humanitarian conversations.
The process of creating this book involved harnessing the work of six editors, Abir Ward (Chair, Reader Committee), Heba Hodeib, Kathryn Lincoln, Emma Moghabghab, Rima Rantisi, and Zane Siraj Sinno as well as the talents of student photographers from the Department of Media Studies who directed their final semester projects to complement texts with corresponding photographs. At the same time, and in addition to the requisite questions and activities, the texts are supplemented with scannable QR codes that link to related materials, activities, and videos. Additionally, texts have been labeled with their associated genres, which in turn have been indexed in a glossary of terms at the beginning of the book.
Faculty reading groups bring together CSP instructors in an ongoing effort to develop in their teaching of writing. The bi-weekly reading groups are also a core constituent of mentoring new faculty. During meetings, instructors discuss scholarship, connect with colleagues, delve into research on writing, reflect on their classroom practice, and share practical strategies for making the teaching of writing more effective. The reading groups strive to reflect and enrich the diverse disciplinary expertise and teaching experience of CSP faculty.
The Reading Group on Timely Issues in Composition gives space to writing instructors with experience or diploma in rhetoric and composition to read about and discuss vital issues in composition studies such as accessibility, choice of genre for first-year writing courses, reading in the composition classroom, adaptive transfer, and post-process pedagogy.
The Reading Group on the Teaching of Writing introduced writing instructors at the beginning of their teaching career to important aspects of teaching in the CSP such as preparing lesson plans, creating assignment prompts and writing-to-learn activities, giving feedback on students’ writing, and facilitating student-centered classroom instruction.
The Theme-Based Reading Group explored issues in the teaching of Academic Writing and ways in which theme-based pedagogy can address those. After looking at the history, background and theory of theme-based writing courses, the reading group explored the idea of community, critical thinking, and transfer in relation to this pedagogy. Instructors also looked at practical aspects of this approach, created themes for their own courses and developed course descriptions.