Literacy Autobiography

Your literacy autobiography should tell stories / anecdotes of your literacy experiences, and reflect on / analyze those stories to think about what they might mean about teaching English.

These experiences can include learning to read, to write, to speak publically, to enjoy literature, to learn about culture, multicultural perspectives, and popular culture, to understand language and how it works, to think about images, film, the Internet and modern technologies, to learn the value of your own voice and perspective, to care about and speak out on topics that matter.

You are free to include any period in your life and out of school as well as in school experiences. Given that the course is focused on secondary English, do pay significant attention to middle school / high school.

After telling a story / anecdote, analyze it: write about what you learn about good English teaching; what will you do, or not do, based on what you can learn from this example; how can teachers be effective with students like, or different from you.

I like the way Ira Glass talks about anecdote and analysis:


You may be inspired to look back over old pieces you have written, talk to friends, parents, and former teachers as you return in your memory to your experiences with writing. This can be a "multigenre" paper; you could include samples of your writing or teacher assignments, interviews with teachers, parents or classmates, recreated dialogue, poetic expression/analysis, memories, illustrations, reportage, etc.

One purpose of the exercise is to "know thyself" so that when you draw on your own student experience as you become a teacher of English you will act in a highly conscious way, making careful choices and recognizing the diversity of the students you will teach.

Focus on yourself but also remember/think about/research what was happening to other students in the class or in other classes/tracks or how your social community might have been unlike what others experience (rural/urban/suburban, poor/wealthy/middle class, monoethnic/multicultural, etc.). Exploring the way ability grouping / tracking / labeling effected your education is often one of the best ways to look at the influence of social and economic factors on the way you were taught.

I think you could and should write at length on this topic, yet, given the time and expectations of the course, I would consider fifteen double spaced pages of your writing a satisfactory minimum length. More welcome.

Include a one-page self-evaluation that comments on how you view this assignment as a teacher, what you learned from writing it, and describe the strengths and weaknesses of your paper and proposes a grade.

Created by: allen.webb@wmich.edu
Revised Date: 7/19