Student Affective Responses to “Bringing the Funk” in the First-Year Writing Classroom by Heather Bastian

“This desire has been and remains productive for writing studies, allowing diverse voices and genres to permeate our classrooms and scholarship, exposing limitations of academic tradition and convention, and inviting students and teachers to flex our rhetorical acuity within public and private spheres” (Bastian, pg 7).

This article, written by Heather Bastian, talks about the goal of having a more diverse way of students write in the classroom and how teachers use more than one method in order to teach various topics. This was very interesting because the article described how thoughts and emotions go hand in hand. They are actually connected to one another. Not only emotions but other things as well. “Currently, writing studies has limited data on student affect-defined by Susan McLeod as noncognitive phenomena, including emotions but also intuitions-because, as many scholars have already observed, the field primarily focuses on the cognitive rather than the affective domain (Brand; Fulkerson; McLeod; Micciche; Richards) (Bastain, pg 9). The reason why I wanted to look further into this section of the article is that if we understand that writing comes in more than one way and in different genres, then there can be process when it comes to first-year writing students in higher education.

The term that was used throughout the article, “bringing the funk”, is something that should be used more in the classroom. My junior year of undergraduate school, Professor Hone told the class, “If school isn’t fun, then what is the point?”. The reason why I relate what my professor said to this article is because he understood that education goes beyond simply having something to write about, handing it in, and then receiving a grade back. More importantly, it is about what did you learn and take away by completing the assignment. However, I do understand that not everyone is like that.

Bastian also talked about how certain students were not comfortable with the atypical way of doing the assignment that was given to them. It all comes down to preference. “Other students found the freedom to move away from academic convention allowed them to express hidden talents…not all students, however, expressed comfort with the freedom granted by this assignment but, instead, found comfort in safety” (Bastian, pg 21). There were some students who preferred typical and some who wanted to the assignment in an atypical way. The point is to try something new and different. Connecting thoughts and emotions and bringing it into the classroom, I believe will truly make a difference.

When it comes to the teachers, I think they should have an open mind when it comes to changing methods of education in the classroom. “As such, writing teachers should be prepared for and not be discouraged or disappointed by the range of effective responses students may have as they move from what they perceive as familiar into unfamiliar genres (Bastian, pg 27). There needs to be room for not only students but teachers as well to be uncomfortable with changing their methods in order to make progress.

Bastian, Heather. “Capturing Individual Uptake: Toward a Disruptive Research Methodology.” Composition Forum, vol. 31, Spring 2015, composition


One thought on “Student Affective Responses to “Bringing the Funk” in the First-Year Writing Classroom by Heather Bastian

  1. “‘If school isn’t fun, then what is the point?'” What is the point indeed.

    I love this Prof’s way of thinking about academia and learning. Too few educators seem to make the connection between learning and fun. Bastian’s idea of “bringing the funk” seems to promote using innovative or “more fun” pedagogy as a way to encourage student learning. In that respect, to me, her work seems to make a valid case.

    For me, as well, I had a Prof in my undergrad who incorporate innovative pedagogy in the classroom and, in doing so, engaged me with the subjective matter–both creatively and academically. Really, the teaching inspired a meshing of the two which I think made the content “stick” better. At least, I still remember what I learned in that course and you still seem to remember what your Prof taught you? Isn’t that a goal of teaching?

    Like you, I agree that educators need to be more willing to embrace innovative pedagogy and approaches to teaching. While not every student may be as responsive to it, for those students that are, it can make all the difference.



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