Before the aftermath: a pedagogy for disaster responsiveness

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Carl Paul Schlachte (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Risa Applegarth

Abstract: Before the Aftermath: A Pedagogy for Disaster Responsiveness examines how teachers of writing at the college level can respond to social, natural, or political disasters that interrupt their classes. As disaster becomes an increasingly prominent feature of contemporary life, teachers are encountering it in their work, and being forced to address these circumstances pedagogically. This project extends from that premise to explore what teachers who experience disaster do to address these disruptions, and to offer strategies of preparedness that can be deployed in teacher training efforts to better equip them to respond. From cases including the classroom responses of teachers to Hurricane Sandy in New York City in 2012, and the online circulation of strategies for response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, I demonstrate the complexities of choosing to address disruption, a task that requires teachers to attend to classroom emotions, to the stories of marginalized groups affected by the events, and to embrace the necessary failure of any pedagogical response to disaster. For scholars in rhetoric, composition, and writing studies, this project offers a critical vocabulary for understanding and engaging with unpredictable and often tragic circumstances of teaching by (1) theorizing disaster as a rhetorical situation of teaching and learning, and (2) offering concrete pedagogical strategies and orientations they can use in response. Ultimately, this project asks us to view teachers as a kind of “first responder” in their classrooms, and to view teaching in the wake of disaster as an ethical responsibility in an adversity-laden age.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Composition, Disaster, Disruption, Pedagogy, Rhetoric, Writing
English language $x Composition and exercises $x Study and teaching (Higher) $x Social aspects
English language $x Rhetoric $x Study and teaching (Higher) $x Social aspects
Academic writing $x Study and teaching (Higher) $x Social aspects
Disasters $x Social aspects

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