Ian Cleary- Engl 14- Final Research Project- Dr. Voss
Intended Publisher: Young Scholars in Writing
“Individuals inhabiting transnational contexts learn, take up, and use digital communication technologies to extend their communicative reach, to maintain their social and cultural identities, and construct their worlds.” -Gail E. Hawisher
Horner’s discussion of the “Translation Model” concludes that “Code Meshing” increases the academic’s knowledge of new contextual environments and cultural narratives, which invariably leads to better informed, educated citizens who are capable of respectful discourse in society. It is the pedagogical institution’s obligation to engage students with new contextual literacies to broaden their knowledge. This paper examines three particular literacy environments and their importance in occupational, local, and global environments. Contact with these environments diversifies and innovates the curriculum and increases the student’s skills in both writing and verbal communication. Specifically, understanding the modes of writing and rhetoric within widely different contextual environments of the modern world is imperative in the process of acquiring literacy. In order to properly contextualize potentially new forms of interaction in the curriculum, these three respective literacy environments are recognized as eligible for integration into the academic world for the purpose of better engaging the student and increasing the value of the institution.
In summation, I am arguing for a curriculum which trains students to be consilient thinkers through the use of code-meshing in global, local and occupational environments. Particularly, students ought to be equipped with the skills necessary to use Horner & Zu’s code-meshing to increase their aptitudes with different literacy environments, and the social practices arranged therein. Academics are obligated to expose students to the varying literacies of these environments. I originally conceptualized my research when pondering the multitude of insights I had at University as a result of teachers who explored new concepts in writing studies and taught with consilient backgrounds. In junction with innovative writing studies teachers, I noticed teachers with multiple credentials in different literacy environments taught multiple codes without intending to, hybridizing the education process and gifting the students with a greater span of knowledge. Literacy environments, in this context, are somewhat enigmatic and interchangeable. They may provide insights into the literacy transaction between student and teacher. Furthermore, mixing the curricular pot not only engages new literacy environments but also enhances the probability of innovative thought.
Moreover, the occupational, cultural and local literacy environments use multimodel mediums in distinct ways. Code-meshing, in this light, has both a multicultural and multimodal application. Therefore, Horner & Zu’s Code-meshing enhances communication across social, cultural and geographical environments as well as through multiple mediums. Non-verbal, image based communication through technological mediums is best demonstrated in transnational literacy environments.
There is an ethical code about illuminating the complexities of these literacy environments; by engaging with these diverse narrative environments students are empowered, reshaping the heavy burden of historical narratives which induce tyranny and injustice upon those excluded by them. Conceptualizing the social and cultural borders that make up the world is imperative to the educated student in this digital age. That is, being exposed to new literacy environments enables students to be empowered, rather than rigidly commanded by those whom have greater knowledge of these competitive literacy environments. Diversifying canonical narrative scopes assuages previously impenetrable fixed codes and allows for code meshing. Thereby, knowledge is shared rather than controlled.
Before explicating the importance of Horner & Zu’s concept of code-meshing and its application to multi-environmental literacy, it is imperative to understand the evolution of curricular theory and re-examine the term literacy. Literacy is not to be looked at as singular, but rather one ought to “consider literacy in the plural, as a set of social practices (Horner & Zu, 113).” The broader scope of literacy in complex contextual environments enables a better visual of how code meshing can generate interaction between socio-historical and cultural systems currently unengaged with in academia. Horner & Zu contextualize code meshing as an integration of new cultural, social, and environmental codes. Grounded in writing studies theory, literacy becomes a more fluid, rather than fixed, concept.
Over the years, the curriculum has moved from a rigid Foundationalist model to an Accommodationist model. Today the curriculum is reemerging in a new lens, which is that of the Translation model. These models show the evolution of curriculum, enabling new forms of interpreting codes in literacy environments. The former model “treats academic literacy as a universal, uniform, and fixed set of linguistic and notational conventions and procedures (Horner, 113).” Ideally, this model worked as a “fixed entity,” and asked that students conform to the standard, mono-cultural and linguistic pedagogy. This has traditionally materialized as a lack of diversity within the curriculum; Often important cultural and occupational literacies have been negated by a lack of reciprocity among differing institutions. That is, literacy environments were singular, rather than operating within more complex systems. Canonical narratives, for example, were often limited, thereby granting students only singular perspectives on the outside world. This became an issue when student applicants with complex linguistic, cultural and social backgrounds severely struggled. In fact, the lack of environmental adaptability in the curriculum left many students disconnected from that community. Given that “The task of pedagogy is to somehow bring students into that community,” the pedagogy was forced to reshape itself. Not only were exploring students hindered, but these fixed educational boundaries overwhelmingly lacked hybridized education, leaving even traditional students without essential exposure to the outside world. Widening the scope of exposure and redefining what literacy environments should be integrated into the curriculum is an incredibly important discussion. The Foundationalist model lacks hybridity. Consider an inbred dog, they tend to have health issues as a result of lacking essential survival genes, which are only found in genetic pools outside the one they were bred into. Therefore, hybridized education is most nearly the assimilation of multiple literacy environments, thereby granting the student an aptitude for consilient thinking.
The new model, the Accommodationist model, functions as a “fixed set of entities” rather than the Foundationalist model’s singular “fixed entity” prerogative (114). Curriculum was originally singular and non-conformative to other literacy environments. This negation was lessened by the Accommodationist model, which, at the least, recognized their are multiple narrative environments. Therefore, the transfer of literacy began to expand across more complex environments. As a result of the Accommodationist model, students are able to access multiple codes, training them to “switch from one code to another, depending on the specific discipline (114).” The accommodationist model specifically teaches students to “code-switch (116).” Accessing literacy in different codes rather than keeping with the more mundane, singular model is a step in the right direction. Being exposed to new narratives and literacy environments, therefore, expanded the student’s mind and deepened their capacity to think critically about the world.
While the Accommodationist model is a step in the right direction, the Translation Model takes the concept further. Instead of merely “code-switching”, the Translation Model incorporates “code-meshing” (116). Where the Accommodationist model asks that the student understand how to switch between literacy environments, the Translation model urges students to work as consilient thinkers within different environments. Thereby, the Translation model meshes rather than switches, incorporating hybridized views throughout the varying literacy environments, with the intent on attaining innovative insights and developing new literacy environments. The aspects of critical thinking are far more utilized through the latter model because understanding the specific codes for different literacy environments is only half the battle, the other half is being able to use those codes together in synchronicity. Thus, “Code-meshing” becomes a pedagogical process where students find ways to communicate within and between occupational, social and cultural boundaries. It is not only cultural environments that students need exposure to but also the occupational environments they desire to go into after graduating. The Workplace, as definitively expounded by Deborah Brandt, is a primary example of complex literacy environments outside academia. Furthermore, it is noted that codes are equally embedded within mediums as well as content. Using new mediums allows new types of literacies; engaging with new mediums generates new content and the ability access more people. Cultural environments are better engaged through image based mediums because of overarching language barriers, for example. Lebduska, in greater detail, contextualizes the difficulties of translation with cultural texts and the need for image based content in assuaging these barriers.
The Translation Model of literacy is exceedingly important to the future of education, given the importance of comprehending the many cultural, social and occupational narratives of the world. Without “hybrid discourses”, students will be educated in a stagnant, regressive style (120). To preclude students from engaging in the act of code-meshing is a disservice which leaves them at a substantial disadvantage, particularly in the globalized, digital age we live in today. There is also the ethical obligation involved with sharing knowledge of the varying literacy environments to the student body, thereby breaking down the unequal power dynamic of social relationships. Horner contends that “adopting code meshing reject(s) the monolinguistic of codes in hierarchical relation to one another (121).” Breaking down the barriers of language aids in the student’s opportunity to experience literacy in multiple and often new ways. the Translation model departs from fixed authority and introduces fluidity into education. Ultimately, Horner & Lu’s notion of “code-meshing” engages with new types of literacy environments, but what are these environments made up of more specifically? Exploring three potential literacy environments worth assimilating into the University curriculum may illuminate the answer to this question. The occupational, transnational and local environments are all dominant literacy environments in the world today, one’s students ought to understand before graduating. The objective now is to explore three environments where literacy is interpreted differently and how integrating these contextual literacies can benefit the curriculum.
Analysis & Implications : Cultural, Multimodal, and Transnational Environments
The articles by Gail Hawisher, et al., “Cultural Designs for Writing Digitally” and “Beyond Literate Lives: Collaboration, Literacy Narratives, Transnational connections, and Digital Media” both argue for implementing into the curriculum diverse cultural narratives through multimodal means. Gail Hawisher demonstrates the importance of transnational literacy in building agency for institutions and the individuals who create the narratives. These cultural, multimodal practices are reinforcing narratives that have not been heard. Hawisher conveys that multimodal “literacy activity” evokes “cultural forms of life saturated with textuality (Hawisher, 138).” This pedagogical approach reflects code meshing with both multimodal practices and transnational narratives. These cultural narratives are a breath of fresh air, which clearly move away from fixed forms of pedagogy previously discussed in favor of the Translation model. Gail emphasises that enhancing the students perspective on varying cultures through multimodal means “demonstrates a dynamic sense of agency…viewing environment as interactive and connected (139).” Therefore, Gail is discussing not only a new way of assimilating content but the ethical framework of widening the canonical narrative therein.
The narratives of Shafinaz, Dewayani, and Yu-Kyung Kang represent new forms of agency attainable through the construction and incorporation of multimodal, transnational, narratives today. In this particular environment, code meshing becomes not only an integration of cultural literacy environments, but also a multimodal practice (Horner & Lu). Shafinaz expressed her own trouble assimilating to U.S. culture and the difficulties of learning through a pedagogical framework as an outsider to that subtly culturally encoded framework. Dewayani conveyed unique cultural motifs which were largely unheard of to her classmates, exposing them to new uncharted global literacies. Gail reaffirms this when she says Dewayani “completed groundbreaking research on the oral literate culture of the Indonesian Baduy (141).” Meanwhile, Yu-Kyung Kang demonstrates the varying cultural barriers in digital spaces through her interpretation of the Korean Yahoo. She also used imagery and audio which blended a myriad of cultural frameworks, embodying in her project the very essence of code-meshing. Access to unique literacy environments such as this broadens the student’s perspective.
The Translation model incorporates narratives such as Yu-Kyung Kang’s in order to diversify the curriculum. Lebduska asserts that cultural narratives are less effective when “a bleached discourse threatens rhetorical agency (Lebduska).” Moreover, non-verbal or visual literacy environments are engaging transnational communicators as a result of their image based applicability. Language and cultural barriers are minimized as a result of implementing unique instruments of communication, such as pictures, music and dancing. Lebduska, in her article “Emoji, Emoji, What for Art Thou?” discusses the complexities of human emotion as barriers in themselves when using written text. However, bridges between cultural environments can be crossed through “linguistic; gestural; audio; spatial; visual and multimodal” mediums (Lebduska). Therefore, multimodal code meshing is an indispensable tool in developing cultural code meshing between transnational environments. Therefore, multimodal spaces engage students to grasp not only complex emotions but new cultural narratives. This is reinforced by Hawisher’s examples of the video narratives of three graduate students. All used image based, audio and spatial content in order to construct their narrative. Music, for example, becomes a basic form of connection even among culturally different individuals. As a result, code meshing is exemplified through both multimodal and transnational literacy environments.
Therefore, by learning from these narrators students can begin to comprehend the vast transnational environments of the globe and the multimodal practices therein. Students from culturally diverse backgrounds can teach new narrative content and exchange ideas transnationally in an academic setting, as exemplified in Gail’s research. Yu-Kyung was exceedingly aware that there are still large barriers between differing cultural environments, ones which make communication difficult. Her own struggle with her cross cultural identity has generated unique insights in regards to the future of academic discourse with transnational student bodies. Yu-Kyung was interviewed and she insightfully stated, “By compelling the students to practice and master the American academic writing format in accordance to its rules, am I forcing them to think like Americans? (143).” It isn’t language which is the only barrier, there are large cultural barriers which may even contain stigmas which immediately occlude constructive communication transnationally. Therefore, she is interested in changing the pedagogical framework to make the cultural barriers less effective in deterring transnational communication. This is done in writing studies courses which assent to Hawisher’s work with transnational narratives. Students must learn there is a great diversity to narrative, and that it isn’t a fixed, singular entity.
Often fixed entities in pedagogy inhibit innovative growth, whether by precluding the teaching of new cultural narratives or by educating in a stagnant style. It can also be a powerful tool for tyranny, given the lack of open mindedness involved in fixed, singular educational parameters. This can refer to both the lack of transnational, cultural narratives and the lack of multimodal application to these literacy environments. Widening the scope of cultural narratives in the curriculum will teach students to be global citizens, not just American citizens. Consider Gloria Anzaldua’s reconceptualization of the Mestizaje, and the importance of building the hybrid narrative based on Vasconcelos’ original philosophy. It isn’t a fight to change the language, but it is a fight to welcome and integrate cross-cultural literacy narratives in the academic community, merely for the purpose of being exposed to the world and its changes. Academia can teach innovatively by engaging in transnational environments and integrating these insights into the curriculum. This process is fruitful in that culturally diverse students may feel empowered and American students may extend their literacy to global levels. Gail’s research demonstrates there is an expansive world full of undiscovered insights outside the rigid Foundationalist curriculum, embedded in diverse and often unheard cultural narratives. Consilient thinking and examination of these transnational narratives is an opportunity for insight and exploration. Moreover, Hawisher commends the digital space as instrumental in developing transnational communication, it even contains diplomatic aspects. Digital technology has exponentially enhanced the ability to communicate transnationally. It is up to academic pioneers to discover new digital and transnational environments which are worth teaching to enhance the student bodies conceptualization of literacy, and to build bridges of communication between different cultures, generating harmony rather than hatred. Gail Hawisher adds depth to this argument in her article “Beyond Literacy Lives: Collaboration, Literacy Narratives, Transnational Connections, and Digital Media”. She states that in order to understand literacy on a global scale we must understand “the complex social and cultural ecology, both local and global, within which literacy practices and values are situated (Gail 188).”
When viewing a cultural text, it becomes imperative to grasp at the deeper socio-historical and geographical origins of it. Gail describes these emerging narratives as “culturally constituted (193).” Hawisher has discovered that there is an unconscious flow of transnational literacies, especially within emerging digital spaces. The historicity of a text has a great deal to do with how it fits in the transnational environment, or a larger, global context. Cultural narratives are widely interconnected, given the historical transactions of ideas throughout the centuries. Often, cultural narratives share ideas with one another, a brief look at historical context reinforces this. Early texts share multiple cultural homes, and the ideas are exchanged between transnational barriers. How the academic community traces these texts is precisely how sociologists can begin to understand cultures better. Therefore, code-meshing in a transnational setting can be reinforced by engaging with the historical context of a text. Engaging with multiple literacy environments enhances the unifying aspect of differing cultural narratives, it is also a natural process. With code-meshing through the Translation model, students can assimilate combinations of cultural narratives, and create new ones as well.
An example of transnational, multimodal narratives coming to fruition is seen in Japanese film director Kurosawa’s “Throne of Blood”. Kurosawa works as a consilient thinker, using code meshing to express commonalities between varying cultural narratives. He could be considered the Shakespeare of film. It is ironic because in the film “Throne of Blood” he demonstrates the similarities between Scottish tribal society, as depicted in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, and the tribal societies of feudal Japan. This parable hardly deviates from Shakespeare’s original story, yet the cultural aesthetic is completely rearranged, delving its viewers into the heart of feudal Japan. The film shows that transnational communication can build bridges between different cultures, and that there are innate similarities among humans, even between widely geographically and culturally differing people. This type of multi-modal, transnational communication reinforces both Gail’s research and Yu-Kyung’s video narrative. Hawisher states, “Individuals inhabiting transnational contexts learn, take up, and use digital communication technologies to extend their communicative reach, to maintain their social and cultural identities, and construct their worlds (193).” Film, much like a stage play, engages with its audience far differently than text alone. Lebduska states, “no human society has ever existed without the creative externalization of internal images (Lebduska).” Moreover, imagery can build relationships among different nations, such as Kurosawa’s film does. While Multimodal presentation is the new way to build a narrative, cultural hybridity is the new way to harmonize and diplomatically build bridges transnationally. Code-meshing alters the focal point from looking for differences between cultures to looking for similarities. It is a diplomatic act, one that is ethically enriching for globalized citizens. Transnational literacy environments are important because the more nationalities communicate and identify, the better their relationship will be. This is better grounded in multimodal communication, given the importance of subtitles and acting in hindering language barriers further.
Transnational environments are increasingly important to understand for university students, given the ever changing “Global Eduscape (192).” During high school I lived in a dorm with people from many different nationalities. There was a school event in which we were told to prepare a for what they called the “STJ Olympics”. Our first task was to decorate our dorm according to the olympic theme, which materialized as a celebration of our differing nationalities. The different dorms on campus were evaluated and awarded for their decorations. One of the students, whom is a friend from the dorm, made a video of our creative process. Here are three pictures from that film:
While students paint the mirrors with the olympic rings and contending athletes, they are sharing in a culturally unifying act, deriving image-based materials from many cultural codes, rather the one. It can be seen that a Korean student is painting with a Chinese, Taiwanese and American student. The Germans are helping out, and the painter of the olympic rings is from Brazil. Meanwhile, two Americans paint the American flag. The film has French music playing in the background as well. It is not seen in the video, but later a Chinese student put together a powerpoint on the main hall television which showed the flags of all our nationalities and played our national anthems in synchronicity with each picture. These small presentation techniques to decorate our dorm for the event showed in a diverse setting how many cultural narratives can build bridges and work together. In particular, this is cultural and multimodal code meshing at its finest. The use of video, sound and other nonverbal forms of communication, such as drawing, assents to Lebduska’s evaluation of the effectiveness of multimodal transnational literacy practices. The video shows how visual mediums can connect cultures transnationally in communicative acts. No matter how different cultural narratives are, the theme of these examples are unification of multiple cultural narratives. Rather than using cultural narratives to differentiate, we should be using them to integrate. Code meshing becomes a form of literate hybridity through these varying mediums, whereas Code switching is merely a way to build exclusive narratives. This shows the key difference between the Accommodationist and Translation model.
Therefore, it is imperative that the curriculum adapts to these new uses of transnational communication, engaging the student body in a new form of pedagogy which discovers that which is culturally diverse, rich in content, and technologically advanced. Furthermore, code-meshing has the potential to build cross-cultural relationships and identify similarities between different cultures. The Translation model enables code-meshing between cultural environments and multimodal ones.
Analysis & Implications : Local Environments
After looking at the importance of transnational environments in the pedagogical curriculum in order to develop literacy, one can further discern the equally compelling need to incorporate the local environment into the curriculum. Code-meshing between the academic and local community can embody new forms of agency for the institution and enrich the student’s understanding of his/her local environment. Building relationships with the community and developing projects therein is a beneficent, enriching act. Goldblatt’s article “The Unintended Consequences of Literacy” demonstrates that projects with the community bolster the ethical dimensions of the institution and empower the local community.
Goldblatt’s “The Unintended Consequences of Literacy” supports the conclusion that a harmonious relationship is important to construct between the institution and its local community. Goldblatt further supports the idea of sharing literacy with the community in order to generate creativity and provide the underprivileged with opportunity. Local community projects also provide an ethical component which addresses the issue of Sponsors who “regulate, suppress and withhold literacy (127)” by sharing knowledge outside the academic institution. Providing opportunity within the local community helps to alter the catastrophic effects of structural literacy, potentially providing educational opportunities for those who have nothing.
Goldblatt’s research is particularly interesting when viewing the interaction between Academic and local environments and how that brought about new insights within the pedagogical process. The Inside/Out program, created by Lori Pompa of the Criminal Justice department “educates undergraduates alongside incarcerated students at the penal institutions in the Philadelphia area and trains instructors (Goldblatt, 130)…” Programs like this one have “attracted millions of dollars of foundation and donor funds to address social issues (130).” It is discerned that there is a large ethical framework to work from. Moreover, sponsors can enhance their own agency by participating in beneficent communal programs, possibly receiving new networking opportunities to stabilize the institutions presence within the local community.
Underscored in the local community context is the stalwart acclamation that sharing knowledge and literacy must be the university’s priority. The fluid exchange of literacy is an important component in reshaping the local environment, just as much as it can enlighten the institution. Goldblatt mentioned how at Temple University, just outside the campus walls, there were high volumes of crime and poverty. The local programs attempted to rehabilitate the urban infrastructure, proving to the community the academic institutions worth, thereby asserting their role in that community.
Interaction with local environments can enhance the understanding of the local narrative. Much like pedagogical interpretations of transnational narratives such as Yu-Kyung’s video, local narratives are equally unique and significant. Goldblatt discussed how a group of students from the University of Arkansas participated in “local literacy / local history” projects which engaged them in this pedagogical environment (132). The results of this project were “astounding”, they consisted of a “narrative video about the Mississippi flood of 1927; a set of poems, with water-color illustrations, a short story about the writer’s parents’ participation in the civil rights movement; a documentary film about the first substantial farm ever run by a woman in the Delta (132).” The process becomes mutualistic, where students can share with the community their presentation tools and the community can share with the students the local narrative. The two environments have a great deal to benefit from one another.
This project was a major success in that it engaged the student body in local narratives, bringing to fruition new insights, innovative perspectives, and enriching forms of literacy. The students were able to work through multimodal means to present cultural information which enhanced their knowledge of local and academic environments. This mutualistic act brings harmony between the community and the institution, and helps the students better understand their local environment.
While new narratives can be accessed in local environments, so can the pedagogical institution interact with that environment out of ethical obligation. Santa Clara University implements into their curriculum the “Community Based Learning” programs, which are strikingly similar to Goldblatt’s examples. I worked with a community garden program in San Jose, we spent a great deal of time with the students, among whom very few were likely to attend college as a result of the poverty they were entrapped in. The low income area and the violence surrounding this impoverished elementary school was catastrophic. However, the program acted as a beacon of hope within the community, and as representatives of Santa Clara University, we were able to offer these students our time. The community programs at Santa Clara University are incredibly insightful for the students; they are able to learn a type of literacy in the local community thus strengthening their relationship with that community. Moreover, students increase their gratitude for the institution they are a part of.
Local community literacy environments are important to integrate into the curriculum because they are unique, there is an ethical component for any institution, and it further grounds the institution in that community. Code-meshing is an enriching act between these distinct academic and local communities. Community service projects are beneficial to university students, the community, and the academic institution.
Analysis & Implications : Workplace Environments
We have looked at how code-meshing is used in Local and Global literacy environments, and even how multimodal practices engage in new forms of communication. Yet, the occupational environments that students intend on going to after graduating university are equally important in assessing uncharted literacy environments. Horner’s Translation Model and code meshing is applicable to Brandt’s workplace literacy environment; In order to enable code-meshing and hybridized forms of literacy the workplace environment ought to be assimilated into the academic curriculum. The literacy environment of academia operates distinctly apart from the occupational environment a student intends to move on to after graduation, closing this gap is imperative. For example, writing classical essays and using powerpoint may differ greatly for the occupational writer who needs to write an article or business memo. Brandt’s “Literacy and Labor” and “Literacy and the Knowledge Economy” shows how insights from occupational writers can provide students with better skills for the workplace before they enter it. It is clear, however, that occupational environments indirectly shape educational curriculum, given that employers actively seek and recruit college graduates. In order for a student to be accepted into the occupational community they must develop the skills to do so at University. Brandt calls those whom write for a living “work a day writers (122).” Code-meshing becomes essential for prospective working writers.
Deborah Brandt in her article “Literacy and The Knowledge Economy” conveys that Literacy is a commodity and that specific literacies enable long term success in occupational environments. Her research shows that these specific literacies are often highly contextual to the specific job. Understanding the varying audiences and mediums in this environment are essential to the job. Writers, in an occupational context, serve as “tools of production, transforming complex organizational histories and interests, needs, and constraints into textual form (Brandt, 176).” Workplace literacy is complex, as it works through multiple institutionally specific mediums which are riddled with regulation and adaptation of the institutional voice. However, the practice of occupational writing, in all its complexity, merely demonstrates the importance of its need to be integrated into the academic curriculum. Moreover, teaching the standard occupational mediums will enable access to rudimentary skills in occupational settings.
In her article “Writing for a Living”, Brandt discusses the various mediums prevalent in occupational writing such as “Article briefs, business plans, article contracts, cross examinations, business plans, correspondence, editorials and interviews (Brandt, 162).” Brandt conceives that writing practices in the occupational environment are extensive; there are a breadth of regulations involved in the specific occupational writing genre. Within the respective mediums of occupational literacy, Brandt asserts there are particular regulations dependent on the company. While a business plan is one respective occupational medium, there are thousands of ways to write a business plan, dependent on the sponsor for whom it is for. Furthermore, the aesthetic choices for design are also increasingly distinct to the institution. Similar to the way no novel is the same, occupational modals equally vary in content and flavor, which is entirely dependent on the institutional regulations. However, it is clear the only way to become skilled at these varying occupational curriculums is through practice, and the assimilation of an institutional voice.
Brandt conveys that the writer must develop an “institutional voice”, particularly because their writing is not evaluated on an individual level as much as it is a representation of the corporation or company the worker is employed with (175). Consider the writing voice of a fiction novelist and that of a copywriter. The fiction novelist’s style and writing aesthetic would be completely different from that of the trained occupational writer. Transcending voice often becomes a functional tool, while the forms of communication in the workplace function as “complex pieces of machinery that turn raw materials into functional, transactional, and valuable form (182).” How does writing, a human practice, become mechanized? The variation of voice in writing is as extensive as the number of soda flavors there are. In order to develop an occupational voice, one must have endured many winters in an occupational environment. Therefore, the goal of the curriculum is to engage the student body with their occupational voice before their respective career, in order to leave the graduate better prepared for it. Equally, it is essential to gain rudimentary skills on the technical application of workplace mediums, these mediums should be taught as a part of First Year Writing courses. Teaching writers to write efficiently and with brevity ought to be the pedagogical mission to develop better prepared occupational writers. It isn’t just writers who need to be trained in workplace mediums, it is also every student who desires to enter a corporation in the future.
Furthermore, Brandt interviewed various writing based occupants and nearly all had stated that they had “made significant investments in new training and learning beyond their formal degrees (163).” This demonstrates the potential gap between the graduating student and veteran employees in the workplace. Bridging this gap by engaging in occupational skill training at university will help students engage in their work more effectively after graduation, likely challenging even veteran employees. The better the student is prepared for his career, the better they will perform in that career. The question becomes how to integrate the occupational model into the pedagogical one.
Brandt envelopes the reader in a complex world of occupational writing, one that the curriculum cannot ignore when training undergraduate students. It is important that students understand the ways of writing effectively in contextually specific occupational environments in order to function effectively in their careers. While regulations may vary for specific work environments, understanding broadly how these parameters function is imperative to the undergraduate student. It is clear that literacy in one environment may not translate to literacy in another, which is precisely why students must engage with occupational environments early on. It is also the student’s obligation to know what he/she wants to pursue after college, thereby focusing the types of literacy he/she engages with at University. However, it is clear there is a disparity between the literacy of occupational writers and the literacy of undergraduates. This gap may lessen with increased attention in a curriculum aimed at training occupational writers. Literacy must be seen as an organic, living, complex entity that works interchangeably with distinct environments. Therefore, the importance of Horner’s notion of “code-meshing” is without a parallel, particularly in the context that students must develop skills in their respective work environments before they enter them.
Horner’s notion of code-meshing can add depth to the curriculum and engage students with new literacy environments through multimodal practices. Hybridized discourse in education creates more skilled, consilient thinkers. Horner & Zu’s Translation model assents to code meshing between these environments and exposure to unexplored narratives. New cultural narratives allow students to explore more than the fixed canonical narratives of the Foundationalist curriculum. Local environments become enriching relationships for the institution and allow students the opportunity to ethically engage with those communities. There are also unique local narratives which are widely unknown. Furthermore, Occupational literacy environments help students better engage with the job market following their graduation, and teach them how to write in mediums which require specific training for. Moreover, integration of occupational literacy into the curriculum trains students to develop an institutional voice and follow regulation. Engaging students in literacy practices from global, local and occupational environments make for better informed citizens overall. These environments, through code meshing, are no longer fixed entities, but can work in synchronicity. For example, workplace literacy can converge with transnational environments, just as it can with local environments, dependent on the context of the employee. Students can use their understanding of occupational literacy in local and global environments, enabling unique hybridized forms of communication and potentially building entirely new literacy environments. Institutional sponsors have both an ethical and intellectual obligation to expose their students to the varying literacy environments of the world, this is done through engaging them in differing cultural narratives (not their own), the local community, and the work community. As a result, students become well informed and are able to engage in these communities as they leave university. Furthermore, they become consilient thinkers who use code-meshing to develop new innovative insights in their respective careers.
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