English Teacher as Dungeon Master: Game Design Theory Meets Course Design in Rhetorical Education

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Traditional pedagogical practices—lecturing, standardization, product-based quality grading—do not promote deep, critical learning. Addressing the deficiencies of traditional pedagogy, gaming pedagogy is a branch of critical pedagogy that identifies the effective design principles of games and then applies these principles to course design. In doing so, gaming pedagogy reproduces the experience-based, autotelic, intrinsically-motivating properties of games within the classroom, making education more fun and effective. In this document, I apply gaming pedagogy specifically to rhetorical education, which is uniquely advantaged to benefit from game design principles. In what follows, I present an objective definition of play and game, identify the overlapping design goals of games and education, identify the useful experiential qualities of games and explain how they apply to rhetorical education, summarize and analyze useful course design praxes from the perspective of gaming pedagogy, and conclude with an application of gaming pedagogy to my own first-year writing classroom.