Rhetoric of Place: Pedagogy of Sustainability in the Technical Writing Class

By Lilian Mina.

Published by The International Journal of Sustainability Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

In an age marked by huge developmental projects around the globe, and with the paramount increase in global warming, education is expected to play an exceptional and effective role in sustaining the environment for the future generations in addition to its role in producing those who carry out those projects. Since much of the harm done to the ecological systems in our world is the result of engineering projects (Omer, 2008), technical writing classes for engineering students are a convenient venue to adopt the critical pedagogy of place in teaching sustainability writing through community-based research. This paper introduces a four-stage writing model for technical writing classes for engineering students that is grounded in the critical pedagogy (Freire, 1995; Giroux, 1988) and ecocomposition (Dobrin & Weisser, 2002). The model relates the community of students in the technical writing class to the larger community outside the classroom, making the technical writing class an intersection of writing, rhetoric, sustainability, and civic engagement. The paper starts by discussing the effects of engineering projects on the environment and the limitations of the present engineering education that call for changes in curriculum. The paper then presents the theoretical framework of that curriculum and the best pedagogies that are likely to best embrace that curriculum. The paper finishes with the suggested model for engineering technical writing classes. The paper briefly presents the critical pedagogy of place (Gruenewald, 2003) that combines the critical theory and place-based pedagogy to embrace the suggested framework. The paper then introduces the objectives and stages of the sustainability writing model.

Keywords: Sustainability, Higher Education, Technical Writing, Pedagogy

The International Journal of Sustainability Education, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp.41-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 543.438KB).

Lilian Mina

Ph.D. Candidate, Composition and TESOL Program , English Department, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania, USA

Lilian Mina is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Composition and TESOL Program at IUP. She has been teaching English as a foreign language for about 18 years. She has majored in teaching second / foreign language writing for five years with a number of papers published and presentations given. Her teaching and research interests include teaching composition, business, and technical writing, and integrating technology in the writing classroom.