Behind the Textbook: The Question of Questions

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After the headnotes, I’ll work on the “apparatus”—the whole set of questions that go with a reading.  In the next edition of Emerging we these questions comes in five flavors.  First, there’s a set of pre-reading questions, designed both to get students thinking about the issues of the essay and to help them keep an eye out for key terms and ideas.  After the reading, there are a set of questions called “Exploring Context,” which use technology to place the reading and its ideas in the larger context of ideas circulating out in the world.  Then it’s time for writing, with questions that get students thinking about how the reading connects to other selections in the book as well as directed questions for writing about the essay at hand.  My favorite questions (and the hardest ones to write) are “Language Matters,” which use issues of grammar as tools of analysis. That, my friends, is the real work of putting together a reader.  I’m trying not to think about the totality of it or the looming deadline.  I’m just trying to make the best reader possible.
About the Author
Barclay Barrios is an Associate Professor of English and Director of Writing Programs at Florida Atlantic University, where he teaches freshman composition and graduate courses in composition methodology and theory, rhetorics of the world wide web, and composing digital identities. He was Director of Instructional Technology at Rutgers University and currently serves on the board of Pedagogy. Barrios is a frequent presenter at professional conferences, and the author of Emerging.