From the Editors
 

Perfecting our Craft: The Need for Professional Growth and Continued Learning

Laurie Bauer ~ University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College
Deborah Kellner ~ University of Cincinnati


When we introduced last year's volume of JCLL we encouraged readers to have a "mindfulness of [the] future direction" (Kellner & Bauer, 2014-2015, p. 1) of college literacy and learning. As postsecondary educators, we remain passionate and mindful of the experiences our underpreparared students have - both in and outside of our classrooms. Because the last decade has seen profound shifts in how education is viewed and taught, we propose the necessity for professional growth and continued learning in order to perfect our craft. With the push for more inclusion of technology and multiliteracies (e.g., Kress, 2003), classroom practice is constantly evolving to meet the current demands of society. For many educators, these changes call for new learning and experiences in order to successfully meet the needs of all students.

As we introduce this volume of JCLL, we take into consideration the future direction of college literacy and learning and focus on how we, as current educators, learn to navigate through and with these changes. An underlining theme present in each article in JCLL volume 42 is to acknowledge our role as not only educators but as learners who are perfecting our craft through research, experimentation and self-reflection. Each article present, includes the opportunity for professional growth. Whether its growth as a novice educator, growth through implementing a new approach to learning, or growth through the revamping of a course and its outcomes, the articles present push the reader to begin to rethink current teaching methods and practices.   


Doctoral students, Erin Doran, Rebecca Stortz, and Thomas Porter recognize that a graduate course on utilizing multiliteracy pedagogy played a significant role in their overall growth as educators. Their article '"Why Don't You do Something Innovative?': Becoming Multiliterate Educators" utilizes analytical autoethnography to help deconstruct and redesign their identities as students and teachers. Stepping back into the role of students, they experienced a transformative process as they became more aware of the ever-changing scope of education, especially in regards to technology, literacies, and access.


In "The Impact of Multimodal Composition on First Year Students' Writing," Jeffery Kirchoff and Mike Cook reveal the results of an empirical research project that examined how students in a first year writing course responded to multimodal composition projects. Specifically, students were required to create a website on the same topic as their research paper. They focused their attention on how the creation of this website influenced student perception of writing and if this multimodal addition impacted their writing skills.


Nannette Commander, Carol Ashong and Yali Zhao compare the metacognitive awareness of college students in the United States and China in "Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies by Undergraduate U.S. and Chinese Students." Reporting on their metacognitive awareness of reading strategies when reading academic material in English, U.S. and Chinese students revealed similar patterns of awareness and usage. Commander, Ashong and Zhao emphasize the need to focus explicitly on metacognitive awareness when teaching reading strategies.   
In "An Examination of College Students' Reading Comprehension and Study Strategies: A Case Study of a Hospitality Management Course," Kathleen McGrath and Youngsoo Choi examine the comprehension and study skills strategies undergraduate students utilized when completing course readings and preparing for class and examinations. Their results emphasize the predominate use of strategies that were considered surface learning approaches. Although time-consuming, such strategies offer little in regards to comprehension and knowledge application. In contrast, deep approaches to learning, which were used less often by students, provide students with more opportunities to build connections between course material and real industry applications.   


Lisa Bosley's "Integrating Reading, Writing, and Rhetoric in First-Year Writing" offers insight into the perceptions instructors have on the role of reading in a first-year writing (FYW) course. In order to make reading a more prominent component of the FYW courses, a departmental change in course title, description and student learning outcomes was made. It was determined that instructors, particularly more novice instructors, would benefit from professional development that would help promote a rhetorically-based, integrated reading/writing pedagogy.


The aforementioned authors provide opportunities for professional growth and offer ways of being more mindful of the future of college literacy and learning. It is our intention to provide scholarship on current trends and effective pedagogy that continues to encourage you, our readers, to perfect your craft and offer opportunities for professional growth and continued learning. As always, we appreciate the authors for allowing JCLL to share their work and are grateful to the many JCLL reviewers who took the time to offer useful and efficient feedback and suggestions to those present in volume 42.
 


References


Kellner, D. & Bauer, L. (2014-2015). From the editors: Promoting a mindfulness of the vision of college literacy and learning. Journal of College Literacy and Learning, 42, 1-2.

Kress, G. (2003). Literacy in the new media age. New York, NY: Routledge.