How do you pose/wobble/flow?


My colleague Antero Garcia and I have just published a book called Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction. In the book, we offer a framework for helping teachers intentionally take up stances in their practices we call “poses”; work through the difficulties, or “wobbles,” that are sure to emerge in the process; and then develop strategies for working toward “flow,” that always provisional state that marks growth toward, though not once-and-for-all mastery of a given pose. (That’s because in the ever-changing contexts of teaching, there’s always more to learn.) As you might be realizing, this framework pushes back firmly against the idea that there’s a set of best practices out there somewhere that just need to be implemented with “fidelity” (blech) and then you’ll be–presto!–the perfect teacher. Antero would want me to make you repeat after me: A pose is not a best practice. A pose is not a best practice. A pose is not a best practice. (Also best practice.Not a thing.)

Next week, my graduate students who are enrolled in my course “Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age” will be writing a bit about the poses they are taking up (or are aspiring to take up) in the area of critical digital literacy pedagogies. We’re reading Critical Digital Literacies as Social Praxis (Avila & Pandya, 2013) right now, and it’s making our brains hurt. But in a good way.

To work through our wobbles in this area, they’ll be writing to a series of prompts Antero and I include in template form in an Appendix to our book. You can find the template on the Teachers College Press website. You can also see the prompts below.

Then, coming up on Thursday, Nov. 12, 5pm, my students, Antero, and I will also be talking more about the pose, wobble, flow framework for teacher growth on National Writing Project radio.

Stay tuned next week to see what my students have to say in response to the following prompts from our template in Pose, Wobble, Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction.

Pose, Wobble, Flow Template

In addition to taking on the poses outlined in this book, this template will allow you to identify your own poses and set guidelines for areas of your practice that you want to intentionally address and wobble with. While the template will certainly work as a tool for your individual reflection, we also encourage you to work through it col- laboratively with your own trusted professional learning community. Though each of you may take on different poses (or vary the nuances of similar poses), working on this with a group will allow you to hold one another accountable, share strategies for negotiating wobble, and celebrate moments of flow throughout the school year.

Name your pose here: ____________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

(Below, list the 3–5 key principles that are most important to this pose for you.)

• ______________________________________________________________________

• ______________________________________________________________________

• ______________________________________________________________________

• ______________________________________________________________________

• ______________________________________________________________________

On the next page, you will reflect on the importance of this pose to your development as a teacher and will record possible strategies for wobbling with it over the course of the school year.

Below, write a succinct explanation about why this is a necessary pose for you right now in your teaching. How will this pose help you grow as a teacher? What about this pose gives you hope for the powerful work in your classroom?


Write down 2–3 reflective questions that you can revisit throughout the school year that will allow you to evaluate where you are in your stance with this given pose:

1. _____________________________________________________________________

2. _____________________________________________________________________

3. _____________________________________________________________________

Finally, describe some strategies you could try when you experience wobble that may lead toward some measure of flow in relation to this pose:


Keep this template in a visible place so that you can revisit it frequently, maintain your commitment toward your pose, and gauge your professional growth.


10 thoughts on “How do you pose/wobble/flow?

  1. Beth Caplin says:

    Pose: Open dialogue in the “classroom” for writers not familiar with social media as a marketing tool.

    Wobbles: Struggles to act creatively in posts beyond “Buy my book,” struggles to be relational, finding time to spend on social media, difficulties making regular updates and following the “80-20 percent” rule: sharing other people’s work in addition to your own as part of networking and building relationships.

    Flow: Encourage focusing on one aspect at a time, on one tool at a time. Choose to become efficient on one platform before learning another so as not to exhaust yourself, focus on trending hashtags one day, sharing others’ work another day, tweet chats the next day, etc.

  2. Kathleen says:

    In order to provide my students with the necessary tools to enact critical digital literacies (CDL), I will maintain a high standard of researching new and successful ways to implement these skills so that my students are prepared for the global society.

    – The lack of digital means to enact CDL, which might therefore might not reach students full potential.
    – Might feel overwhelmed by the sheer work of teaching, grading, reflecting and attempting to continuously search for possible digital literacy activities.

    – Find collaborators that have similar interests; this could allow for accountability on both ends. This concept of accountability could push the amount of research we collect, practice and engage in.

  3. Devyn Curley says:

    Pose: I want to use my peers and mentors as a new teacher to help encourage my use of critical digital literacies in the classroom by implementing their ideas in my own classroom, as well as share my ideas with those same peers and mentors. I want to create and/or inhibit these peer-supported groups to make important connections with educators that share my same passion for encouraging critical literacies through digital pathways.

    Wobbles: Time. When do we find the time to really sit down and connect with our peers and colleagues in the midst of all of our busy schedules/lives.

    In the (hopefully) small chance that other teachers are not accustom to or are not aware of critical digital literacies, how do I find that common ground to connect?

    Flow: Initiate the meeting times, and the meetings if necessary. Advocate for myself, and maybe even other struggling new teachers who need help at the same school. Make the time, or even set up a google doc or another digital connection tool to start conversations with other teachers.

  4. Seth V says:

    Name your pose here: I want to give underrepresented students the access and resources they need to be successful in school and life.

    (Below, list the 3–5 key principles
    that are most important to this pose for you.)

    • Equal and fair access

    • Communication and collaboration with parent/guardians about resources available in the community
    • College is not the only answer for all students
    • Students need access to book written by people around the world and who are not white North Americans
    Below, write a succinct explanation about why this is a necessary pose for you right now in your teaching. How will this pose help you grow as a teacher? What about this pose gives you hope for the powerful work in your classroom?

    Teaching diversity, cultures, and making students aware of what is going on in the world is important. They need to understand how global issues impact them in some way, but also understand the meaning of different people from around the world. They also need to be exposed to books that promote diversity and written by people who they have not heard of.

  5. Lindsey says:

    I would like for students to develop and enact critical literacy skills so that they can interrogate digital and multimodal visual imagery (propaganda, graffiti, advertisements, photojournalism, etc.)

    It is important for my students to be visually literate, i.e. “read” and make meaning of an image especially in an information age when misinformation is prevalent, distilling all forms of rhetoric, written or seen is a key principle driving this pose.

    Critical literacy skills stem from a thorough understanding of intent, audience, message, and meaning, among other components, and I feel that as my students are preparing to be participating part of the 21st century, education aimed to help students disaggregate the more subliminal culture of media manipulation can be explored in the subtleties of reading visual “literature.”

    One strategy I want to implement to help students work through this concept would be through exposure and discussion. In an attempt to explore this domain similarly, I had students independently respond to 3 images of graffiti asking: what is the message? Is it art or vandalism? Why? I then collected the student responses and cataloged a variety of thinking in our digital writing studio so that we can later look at our ideas collectively and further discuss our ideas, helping student deepen and shape their comprehension of these images and their meaning.

    Who’s right? Is my answer wrong? How do I help students understand individual interpretation with relevant support for idea is acceptable when our binary culture focuses on what’s “right” and what’s “wrong” rather than “what could it be?”

  6. skcavend says:

    I would like students to develop and enact critical digital literacy skills so that they can interrogate digital composition, and compose their own digital stories which investigate the dominant power structures underlying community and/or global issues.
    Using digital compositions (YouTube videos, Vimeos, online advertisements) can start a conversation with students about social/community issues, but how much controversy is too much controversy? Are there possible topics that might be off limits (Race, violence, teen pregnancy etc) and heated moments may arise from talking about highly controversial issues.
    What happens when students balk at the idea of conversing about controversial issues with their classmates?
    What happens when parents intervene on behalf of their student? How do we engage parents in understanding the work we are trying to do?
    What happens in a classroom that doesn’t have access to technology?

    Classroom community is always necessary to develop a trusting environment to foster good dialogue between students. Ask students for suggestions about social issues they may want to tackle so dialogue is student oriented, instead of teacher oriented.
    Discuss some past issues that have been worked through in a public dialogue to show how critically examining social issues can lead to change – civil rights movement of the 1960’s, Native American Rights and Columbus Day controversy. Ask: What connections do you see with today’s social issues that are similar or different to those from the past. What changes were enacted by these “conversations?”
    Provide parents with a rationale for teaching critical digital literacies in this way. Invite parents to engage with their students about the work they are doing in the classroom. Invite parents to come and observe the work students created on presentation day.
    Differentiation is always a part of teaching – find alternative digital media to engage with (Magazine ads, movie trailers, political commercials, newspaper articles) that can be accessed without having access to computers or the internet. Multimodal projects can take the place of a digital video composition, when internet access is not available.

  7. Pose: I want my students to be able to use digital critical literacy tools to construct their own knowledge so that they can gain more agency in their education and create mutuality in the classroom.

    Wobble: How can I create a learning environment that is structured but in which I do not take control of the learning?
    How do I get my students to want to create their own knowledge and not expect me to give them all the answers?
    What will I need to teach my students the necessary digital critical literacy skills so that they will understand what it means to create in a digital space?
    What forms of reading will be done in this kind of learning space, and what forms of writing will be produced?

    Flow: I could use more group/peer-workshops, group discussions, and/or independent learning/exploring time to allow students to have more agency with their learning. I could be there more as a guide to help the students along with their learning and discussion, but for the most part remain in the background and let them own their learning. I could also attempt to let students decide on what is being learned in the construction of their own knowledge by shaping lessons more around what interests them.

    I could teach my students the necessary digital literacy skills by creating a “learn by doing” kinds of lessons in which we learn in a contextualized/situated learning experience. This would allow the students to understand the language and practices that digital literacies require and put them to practical use.

    In determining what reading and writing will be completed and created in this learning space, this might need to decided on based on the topics that students are wanting to learn. However, this is hard to put down concretely as this flow might have to occur in the moment.

  8. Hannah says:

    My pose: As an educator, I want to empower my students to use digital media to develop their unique voice and participate in global conversations.

    Potential Wobbles:
    – My own familiarity with the medium, be that GarageBand, iMovie, etc
    – Difficult topics that may come up during the process (topics like race, religion, politics etc)
    – Limited access to technology and the Internet

    Flow (strategies):
    – Talk with and read about teachers who have done what I would like to do in my classroom and note the strategies used
    – Have my students look at and participate in websites like DoNow where teens are using their voice to participate in global conversations
    – Have a list of reliable back-up plans for when technology isn’t working

  9. jane says:

    I would like my students to use digital literacies [such as OneNote and WeVideo] to purse a personal interest that they are passionate about in order to think critically and gain knowledge of that interest. Specifically, I want them to decide on a passion, write a proposal, create a tab in OneNote to record their journey which will include a weekly reflective journal of their learning process, and at the end of the year create a WeVideo documenting the whole process. I imagine many wobbles: How could I incorporate the tenets of social justice into this project? What will eighth graders do with this type of independence? Will chaos reign or will they be immersed in their learning because it is interest-driven? How do I grade something like this? Or should I grade something like this? So as far as flow – I am hoping that the expectations I previously listed will increase flow in the classroom. I am working on other strategies that might help with flow. Do you have any ideas?

  10. […] that is of committing yourself to being a teacher who writes and a writer who teaches. (See this previous post for details on the pose/wobble/flow model and how it can support your growth as a […]

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