• Casual video that discusses the reading. 
    • My general reaction to the text + critical analysis and examples 
  • Tone: Inviting to the audience 
    • Leading a conversation. Viewers can respond in the comments. 


  • Hi, I’m Madeline Welcome to my channel! Today I have something super fun for you – a Reaction video to Concept 1 of Naming What We Know which is titled “writing is a social and rhetorical activity. (Hold up book) 
  • Before we dive into things, I just want to say that this assignment is awesome because its super open ended so I’m going to take a risk and see how this goes! 
  • Let’s get started! 


  • Okay so the chapter is divided into sections by threshold concepts which can be explained as the core concepts of a subject. Decided on these concepts by getting 45 experts together then narrowing down their ideas regarding the best defining qualities in an attempt to define concepts of what we know about writing studies.
  • I think defining aspects of writing studies is extremely important, especially as the field continues to develop because there are so many avenues that an “English” major can take but they are extremely clear. 
  • For example, when I tell people that I’m an English major, I often get stared at and people are like “okay? What are you going to do with that?” This isn’t exactly the best response. 
  • That’s why I like this chapter so much because it begins to use threshold concepts to define writing studies with the goal of making it clear what the field entails, paving the way for future students, and I think a better definition will help people understand the importance of writing and help it get a little street cred. 


  • Okay, so I’m going to go through the chapter for you guys. The chapter is divided into sections and each is by a different author. I am going to talk about threshold concept’s 1.0, 1.9, 1.6, 1.4, and 1.7.  because there are a few that really stand out. I changed the order of discussion because I think they can overlap with each other and flow. 
  • I want to start with 1.0, right at introduction which states that “writers are always connected to other people,” meaning that there is always an audience 
    • I know some of you may be thinking “what if I’m just writing for myself? Nobody will ever see that so how am I connected?” 
    • Well, I believe this is correct when it explains that writing is always for an audience, and this could even be just yourself. Writing is done to serve a purpose, even if this is just for yourself to explore personal thoughts. 
  • Because you’re always connected, this means that your thoughts create a forum for discussion where your audience can participate to continue the conversation. 
    • Especially now that so much of writing is available online, the audience can become the writer and contribute to the work, not only by adding comments, but taking ideas from the writer and building off of them. 
    • This leads to the generation of new ideas that now widely available to anyone who wants to view the work. 


  • Technology also gives us a new way to use various platforms to get ideas across. Writing is everywhere but the way it is presented determines its importance. Platforms are used for very different reasons and can change the meaning and tone of the work.
  •  For example, even though you can send messages on Venmo, you probably wouldn’t use it to say “Happy Birthday” to your mom. Might be a little weird right… however, if you wrote the exact same thing in a card, it would be much more appreciated. Even though the words written didn’t change, the response from the recipient would be extremely different. 
  • Because of this, Technology “shapes what we can express.” These constructed platforms with specific purposes limit our ability to convey information because we have to adhere to specific standards. 


  • One thing that makes writing limited, is concept 1.6 which states that writing is not natural.
    • I love the example that is used. Even though I have been writing since I was little, I am reminded that writing is not natural when I use my left hand to try to write my name (DO THIS- a comparison). See … horrible. 
  • In comparison to spoken word, writing is more challenging to develop because it requires constant revision to make the meaning clear, and time to formulate ideas.
    • Unlike speech, writing is relatively new and should be viewed as a type of translator for speech because in reality, it is just symbols that we have come to understand as combinations that represent words. 
      • I think this concept because really clear when you think about writing in Chinese Characters without speaking the language. To you, they don’t mean anything and may even appear as artwork, but those who have learned how to interpret the translation, could speak the words. 
      • Speech also has aspects of multimodality. When thinking about making this video, I wrote a speech to follow. However, now that I’m talking to you about it, you can see my facial expressions and body language which helps give context to what I am saying. If I just posted my speech, there would be a lot more confusion and it is likely that my writing would be interpreted differently than how I intended it to. 


  • This leads me into concept 1.4 which is words get their meanings from other words
    • Because speech has aspects of multimodality, it is easier for the audience to understand the context. Writing is a little more challenging to understand what the author intended because words mean different things to each person, depending on their past experiences.
    •  For example, if someone from LA used the word, cold, they might be referring to weather that is about 40 degrees but if someone from Antarctica said “cold,” they could be referring to weather that is -40 degrees… very different. Even though the same word is used, one word can mean many things and it is ultimately the reader’s background that informs the interpretation of the writer. 
  • I interpreted this concept as the reader and author having conflicting goals. The writer intends to get their message across clearly to the reader, whereas the reader is determined to understand the work in their own terms in attempt to understand the purpose which could lead to a very different idea of what is being said than the author intended. 


  • I want to end with concept 1.7 which is “Assessing writing shapes contexts and instruction”
    • This is a good one to end on because it has a call to action – which is the need to change how writing is taught in schools. 
    • The book claims that “writing assessments reflect a set of expectations” and this is extremely limiting to writers who are not forced to write with the goal of meeting all standards of what is considered “good writing”, rather than exploring their ideas and expanding the boundaries. 
    • This is why for this assignment, I wanted to stray away from traditional writing boundaries. 


  • Thanks for watching guys! I hope you liked my interpretation of Concept 1. 
  • Leave your comments below and don’t forget to subscribe! Bye! 


Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Elizabeth A. Wardle. Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2016.