Teaching Critical, Empathetic Reading in the Post-Truth Era | A Conversation with Ellen C. Carillo

In the past few years, Dr. Ellen C. Carillo, associate professor of English at the University of Connecticut, has emerged as a leading voice on teaching reading within writing studies—a topic that should be of interest to teachers of any discipline involving reading, writing, and critical thinking.

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Why We Don’t Read

In a culture with few serious readers, professors belong to a privileged reading class. We are literate to nth degree. When we read the scholarship on teaching and learning, we put our high levels of literacy to use for immediate and practical good. Unfortunately, too often we do not do this as much as we might want or as much as we should, for a variety of legitimate and not-so-legitimate reasons. Why not? Obstacles abound.

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Why Professors Are the Perfect Readers

That many of us read the scholarship on teaching and learning may largely be explained by its utilitarian value, i.e., we read because doing so may prove useful in improving our teaching. However, beyond its “use-value,” many of us read because doing so fits the ethos of professorship. To wit, we value reading, curiosity, lifelong learning, critical thinking, evidentiary reasoning, capacity for sustained effort, and quality.

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