Davis and Shadle assert that composition is at a crossroads -- a space where invention and composition converge and where culture can emerge (21). To bring this crossroads into focus, Davis and Shadle call for instructors to consider their audience; they suggest that rather than focusing on teaching students to write within the academy, we need to prepare students to “be intellectuals pursuing pressing questions and fertile mysteries, who can engage, and change, the rhetorical and actual situations of their lives” (3). This call to rethink the goals of the classroom are what Davis and Shadle refer to as the crossroads, or “a symbolic setting where new cultural forms can emerge” (15).
Teaching students to engage in such writing encourages this engagement inside and outside of the academy, while further suggesting the importance of lifelong learning. Because most students’ primary goals are to gain the necessary knowledge and then leave the academy, asking them to consider their lives, interests, and passions not only creates a more important learning environment for students, but also a significant writing experience that Davis and Shadle argue leads to deeper learning, engagement with the writing and course, and, ultimately, more interesting projects. Such an approach to teaching writing, thinking, and producing takes student-centered pedagogy beyond the classroom to encourage and excite learning.
The crossroads suggested by Davis and Shadle then is multifaceted. Not only do the authors support finding a common ground between classroom and real-world writing, academic inquiry and writer interests, but also that composing itself is at a crossroads. The projects and assignments referenced and documented throughout the pages of Teaching Multiwriting include multi-genre texts that exercise multiple media, disciplines, and cultures. This crossroads is a familiar and often overwhelming one for teachers of writing, but through the inclusion of activities and student samples, the authors map a path beyond this potentially messy space. They suggest that student choices are the tools to find direction and such choices are transformative for writers and readers. The proposals and suggestions made for considering new approaches is exhilarating for readers, though the truly beneficial and thoughtful inclusion of sample texts – both through discussions throughout various chapters and the selection of twelve images of student and cultural samples in the middle of the book – makes the crossroads seem less daunting and perhaps even conquerable.