One of the most difficult literacy evolutions for my grandpa to grasp is texting. His response, every time I re-teach him how to send a text, is always the same, “Can’t I just pick up the phone and talk to them to get an answer right away?” Andrea Lunsford in Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies presents an interesting point regarding learning new writing practices. She says, “When writers can identify how elements of one writing situation are similar to elements of another, their prior knowledge helps them out in analyzing the current rhetorical situation. But when they simply rely on a strategy or genre or convention out of habit, that prior knowledge may not be helpful at all” (55). Because there is nothing quite like texting in my Grandpa’s past, it is a more difficult concept for him to grasp. If he percieved texting as a faster alternative to writing someone a note in the mail, he may begin to understand texting’s purpose in the world today.
Adler-Kassner, Linda; Wardle, Elizabeth, Naming What We Know: Threshold Concepts of Writing Studies, Utah State University Press, 2015