J. Elizabeth Clark and Darin Jensen led an interactive session on thinking about affective pedagogy & challenging deficit models.
You can see the whole presentation, including small group notes & group sharing notes here:
This is draft text we are working on for a Statement on Basic Writing. We are seeking input into the principles, including action steps, questions, and summaries of information/knowledge/research.
STUDENTS WHO PLACE INTO BASIC WRITING ARE INTELLECTUALLY CAPABLE, AND WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE AND VALUE THEIR HUMANITY AND INDIVIDUALITY, INCLUDING THEIR VOICES, EXPERTISE, EXPERIENCE, LANGUAGES, AND IDENTITIES.
BASIC WRITING IS NOT A PRECURSOR TO LEGITIMATE ACADEMIC WORK; THEREFORE, STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE BASIC WRITING AS VALUABLE IN ITS OWN RIGHT.
BASIC WRITING IS ROOTED IN A HISTORY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE; THEREFORE, WE MUST CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FOR ACADEMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS.
BASIC WRITING IS A RESEARCH-BASED DISCIPLINE WITH AN EVOLVING SCHOLARLY HISTORY, AND ITS TEACHERS MUST BE REFLECTIVE PRACTITIONERS ENGAGED IN PEDAGOGICAL RENEWAL.
BASIC WRITING COURSES SHOULD ENGAGE STUDENTS IN READING AND WRITING AS SOCIAL, CONTEXTUAL, MEANING-MAKING ACTIVITIES.
Suggested Changes In Today’s Session
What is our goal here?
Statement for admins?
Statement for BW instructors?
Best practices for TEACHING vs. Best practices for HIRING? Both? Neither?
Three moves in the polemical preamble–1st claim our origin story as radical democracy and opportunity for students, 2nd to own our own positionality, and to transition to our principles
What do we MEAN by Basic Writing?
The Council of Basic Writing Statement of Ethos and Principles
Basic Writing is a pedagogical program designed to empower students who have been failed by racist and classist structures in education. Basic Writing grows out of the ideal of democratic equitable education–an ideal meant to provide accessible opportunities for all people.
The Council of Basic Writing understands that Basic Writing is a fraught and imperfect enterprise. Given the decades-long underfunding of education and neoliberal logics dominating educating, conditions in institutions, the classroom, and in society are even more precarious. The Council of Basic Writing refuses to capitulate to notion that there is no value in developmental education. Instead, we see the work of teaching underprepared writers as a direct challenge to these structures.
BW is an important way to address generational inequalities and promote access to higher education but we should not that BW can also be used to perpetuate inequalities and limit access to higher education.
We recognize Basic writing as a site with the most vulnerable students with the most vulnerable teachers. Basic Writing students are vulnerable in the sense that they often come from majority minority communities, use varieties of English that are not privileged and are denigrated. Basic writing students are often first-generation students and students affected by adverse socio-economic conditions. Basic writing students face racist and classist structures and assessment practices. Basic writing teachers are vulnerable in the sense that they often receive less professionalization and are frequently contingent.
Basic Writing instruction must include anti-racist and critical pedagogies. Basic writing must be driven by research-based best practices and the mission of these programs must recognize the social justice implications of our work.
Where does BW live? Dual enrollment/ALP/etc.
We recognize Basic writing as a site with the most vulnerable students with the most vulnerable teachers.
Basic Writing students are vulnerable in the sense that they often come from majority minority communities, use varieties of English that are not privileged and are denigrated. Basic writing students are often first-generation students and students affected by adverse socio-economic conditions. Basic writing students face racist and classist structures and assessment practices.
Basic writing teachers are vulnerable in the sense that they often receive less professionalization and are frequently contingent.
Here in the preamble, we need to define BW as opposed to “remediation” and “basic writing” and “developmental writing.” (and developmental English)
CONTINGENT labor–how do we address the labor conditions of BW faculty
Add the adjunct faculty data!
Principle I: STUDENTS WHO are PLACEd INTO BASIC WRITING ARE INTELLECTUALLY CAPABLE, AND WE SHOULD RECOGNIZE AND VALUE THEIR HUMANITY AND INDIVIDUALITY, INCLUDING THEIR VOICES, EXPERTISE, EXPERIENCE, LANGUAGES, AND IDENTITIES.
[trying to take a less defensive posture for Principle I?) → We should recognize and value the humanity and individuality–including their voices, expertise, experience, languages, intelligences, and identities — of students who enroll in basic writing courses.
Principle II: BASIC WRITING IS NOT A PRECURSOR TO LEGITIMATE ACADEMIC WORK; THEREFORE, STUDENTS SHOULD BE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE BASIC WRITING AS VALUABLE IN ITS OWN RIGHT.
Principle III:BASIC WRITING IS ROOTED IN A HISTORY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE; THEREFORE, WE MUST CONTINUE TO ADVOCATE FOR ACCESS TO HIGHER EDUCATION FOR ACADEMICALLY DISADVANTAGED STUDENTS.
Principle IV:BASIC WRITING IS A RESEARCH-BASED DISCIPLINE WITH AN EVOLVING SCHOLARLY HISTORY, AND ITS TEACHERS MUST BE REFLECTIVE PRACTITIONERS ENGAGED IN PEDAGOGICAL RENEWAL.
Principle V:BASIC WRITING COURSES SHOULD ENGAGE STUDENTS IN READING AND WRITING AS SOCIAL, CONTEXTUAL, MEANING-MAKING ACTIVITIES.
Notes from Today’s Session on these proposed principles–from our discussion
- Should principle 4 be a subset of principle 2?
- Preamble: thinking about having it be a political preamble–should we do this work / continue this work — we need to take on those preconceptions and the basis and foundation for basic writing as a radical part of open admissions pedagogy–also issues of dual vulnerability–students and faculty
- Preamble: claiming and enacting principles based on this
- Question about language: can we say democratic, access inclusive
- Principle 2 is defensive (as written): suggestions for writing it more positively–see photos below.
- Focus: we should not be defensive in our language
- Principle 4 should be a subset of principle 2
- Discussion of adjunct/contingent labor/non-tenure-track labor–need to make sure that we are supporting fair labor conditions AND pointing to adjunct/contingent labor/non-tenure-track–question about linking it to this work that already exists: https://cccc.ncte.org/cccc/resources/positions/working-conditions-ntt
- Principle 5: justification of how basic writing studies should proceed / how basic writers make up a large component of what we do, but it makes up a smaller amount of the scholarship
- Principle 5: basic writing research should not be to fix students. It should be to understand who they are and how they compose
- Principle 5: we need to be aware of the social cultural that the research must be ethically bound to address
- Principle 5: students should be actively engaged in the research and design
- Principle 5: where could basic writing of the future lend a hand? Distance learning; recognizing how mental health is playing a role; tracking basic writers in their lives beyond the classroom and supporting them beyond the composition classroom
- Clarify that students who place into basic writing might still benefit from additional types of support
- Economic arguments around courses
- Principle 1: students who enroll instead of place
- Principle 1: “intellectually capable”–name the way students are capable
- Principle 1: look at WPA statement
- What types of calls for research?
- They are basic in a particular way
- Deserving of equal scholarly attention
- These writers operate from a different knowledge base
Additional Notes & Edits (from the wall)
Small Group Work
We will circulate this on the Facebook page, on the Blog, and on CBW-L for comments and feedback.
Brenda Brueggemann, University of Connecticut
Our afternoon keynote began with Brenda Brueggemann telling us a little bit about this history of disability studies at CCCC. She shared that CCCC’s history has moved from offering no sessions to the 2019 conference features 30 sessions with over 105 speakers focused on disability studies.
She began by asking us to think about the word “level” and the concept of leveling as it often applies to education. Brenda said that often, she’s asked how to work with students at “different levels.”
What Does Level Mean?
She asked the participants to think about:
- What images, metaphors, associations, objects, phrases come to mind?
- How is this word/concept used? And where?
- How does this apply to your classroom and the various “levels” your student-writers occupy in the work of that classroom?
Small Group Work in interpreting levels ( participants were invited to interpret the word “level.”)
We noticed that some groups focused on words, some groups focused on images, some groups worked together, some groups worked individually. We also noticed that stairs were a repeating metaphor, but the stairs always go UP.
It was also clear that everyone was struggling with the idea of levels: both positive and negative connotations with levels.
Next, we focused on the students and “the student frame of mind.”
- WHY? Are your students working at certain/different levels?
Participant responses: family backgrounds, ESL, working full-time, underprepared high schools, inaccessibility, what technology is doing to student brains, learning differences, different learning styles, differences in student district interpretation of standards, co-curricular and extra curricular activities, anxiety, trauma, depression/anxiety, connection to the teacher
2. WHAT are the factors that produce those “levels”?
Participant responses: money, geography, structural racism, religion, trauma, traumatic events–both physical and mental, lack of appropriate role models, spouses, social unwillingness to invest, lack of universal health care, state standards aren’t aligned with college expectations, lack of childcare and elder care
Strategies for Universal Design for Learning
Brenda next introduced us to Universal Design for Learning (for a great introductory video, see the CAST Website: http://www.cast.org/our-work/about-udl.html#.XIlQ9C2ZPOQ )
UDL focuses on: representation, engagement, action & expression (see Brenda’s slides for a full definition of each)
Next, we were asked about the kinds of things that happen in a writing classroom. We brainstormed this list: Peer review, journalism, brainstorming, outlining, group work research, class discussion, drafting, editing, revising, critical reading, identifying evidence, visual work, movement in and out of individual and groups.
Tables were asked to think about designing an activity that incorporates UDL and shared strategies and assignments.
You can see the whole presentation here, where Brenda has generously shared her slides:
The next session highlight the 2018 INNY Award Winners: Robby Nadler and Lindsey Harding presented the work they did with Christy Desmet, Kris Miller, & Kimberly Brown’s work on curriculum development at the University of Georgia in helping introductory biology students learn to write for science.
The presentation examined the collaboration between UGA’s Division of Biology, First-year Composition, and the Writing Intensive Program. They examined writing gaps in transferring writing skills between the humanities and the sciences, specifically biology, developing a specific curriculum to address the gaps they discovered.
They focused on teaching for transfer, peer review, citations, the use of source material in science (different from in the humanities), writing abstracts, word banks, with students. With faculty and graduate learning assistants, they focused on five minute mini-lessons (5MT).
Participants were invited to sketch out a 5MT and share it in small groups. Group one focused on integrating sources into student writing. Group 2 focused on understanding the conventions of the genre.
More about the INNY Award
Daniel Heath Justice’s Why Indigenous Literatures Matter (Indigenous Studies)
Kelly Ritter’s Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960 (Studies in Writing and Rhetoric)
John Warner’s Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities
Asao B. Inoue’s Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies: Teaching and Assessing Writing for a Socially Just Future
Zoom, Screencastomatic & Jing for screen casting
Key Articles Referenced During the Day
Beam, Sara N. and Holly Clay-Buck. “Low-Spoon Teaching: Labor, Gender, and Self-Accommodation in Academia.” Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, vol. 37, no. 1, 2018, pp. 173-180.
Brueggemann, Brenda Jo. “An Enabling Pedagogy: Meditations on Writing and Disability.” JAC, vol. 21, no, 4, 2001, pp. 791–820.
Elbow, Peter, “A Unilateral Grading Contract to Improve Learning and Teaching [co-written with Jane Danielewicz]” (2008). College Composition and Communication. 3.
Retrieved from https://scholarworks.umass.edu/eng_faculty_pubs/3
Miserando, Christine. “The Spoon Theory.” But You Dont Look Sick? Support for Those with Invisible Illness or Chronic Illness, 26 Apr. 2013, butyoudontlooksick.com/articles/written-by-christine/the-spoon-theory/.
Predecessor’s materials (when you are an administrator): what can you learn? What can you reuse?
ALP: Accelerated Learning Program (there are many models, but Community College of Baltimore County is the model and program that generated the ALP model and trained many of the campuses using ALP in the U.S.)
UDL: Universal Design for Learning
The amazing Sara Webb-Sunderhaus generously made her entire keynote presentation, “Lean on Me: Self-Accommodation and Teaching with Disabilities” available on Scribd (link below).
I hope you’ll read her full talk. This is an amazing story and journey. Sara’s brave story touches on: mindful teaching, abundant self-care, questions about identity, changing identity, the role and load of writing program administrators, disclosing impairments to students, feminism, the whole self, vulnerability, and a call to think about how to structure work in ways that allow you to do your best work–whatever that means at a given time in your life.
A few quotes from Sara’s talk that really spoke to me:
“I vividly remember thinking that one moment had changed my life in ways I did not yet understand…”
“Over the past year and a half, I have struggled to come to terms with a changing identity, sense of self, and expectations.
Today I’d like to talk with you about what this process has been
like. Specifically, I will discuss the impact of my disability on my teaching, the types of resources I have needed and continue to need, and how I have learned to practice self-accommodation as I continue to come to terms with the ways my life has changed over the past 18 months.”
“If I had been an adjunct, with no health insurance, there is no doubt I would have had to declare bankruptcy. But I was not an adjunct—I was a tenured associate professor, with a great deal of sick time, supportive colleagues, and a caring chair. All of these factors were critical resources as I adjusted to my new reality.”
“What I have had to learn this academic year — and what I am still in the process of learning — is how to implement low-spoon theories of writing program administration and teaching and make use of the resources available to me. I refer here to Christine Miserandino’s spoon theory, which uses spoons as metaphors for energy.”
“Self-accommodation is an intensely important and woefully overlooked academic practice, especially for women,” adding that “it is directly at odds with America’s culture of ruthless self-reliance and ‘toughing it out,’ with women’s perceptions of self-worth being tied to usefulness, with expectations of female availability, and with our own (often founded) fears of appearing ‘weak’ or less capable than male colleagues” (173).”
“It forced me to become comfortable with accepting help and relying on others when appropriate, and it made me explore why I had such a fear of being a burden to others. I have learned — and am still learning — that it is okay to ask for help when I need it. That does not mean that I am over-reliant on others or not doing my job. I do not have to constantly prove to myself that I am strong or independent, because I know that I am all of those things; accepting a dear colleague’s help does not lessen me in any way.”
“I’ve now reached a place where it feels like a responsibility, not a burden, to disclose my disability to students. I want all students to know that people who at first glance may appear “able bodied” may not be. I want students— both those with disabilities and those without — to know that being born with or acquiring a disability may change someone’s life, but it doesn’t necessarily have to change their goals and ambitions.”
“I will never be able to work in the same ways I did before, because I live in crip time now. That is okay — more than okay — to admit. I still sometimes feel embarrassed to have these conversations with students, but without exception they have been kind and generous. I hope that sharing my vulnerabilities with them has led to a classroom environment in which they feel can be vulnerable, and I know I feel closer to this particular group of students than I ever have by this point in a semester. My students have helped me reach a point of self-acceptance, and I am grateful to them for that.”
During the Q&A Session, participants shared experiences, strategies, and questions such as:
–it’s difficult to file for accommodations; many people don’t file for accommodation
–invitation to join the CCCC Standing Group for Disability Studies
Please read the full text of Sara’s talk here:
We began CBW 2019 with the CCCC 2019 Land Acknowledgement. CBW also recommends Daniel Heath Justice’s 2018 Why Indigenous Literatures Matter for additional reading!
To open our session, I as the chair of this session and our panelists would like to recognize and acknowledge the indigenous people of this land: the Lenni Lenape, Shawnee, and Hodinöhšönih (hoe-den-ah-show-nee) — the six Nations, that is, the Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca, Cayuga and Tuscarora. We are gathered today on Jö:deogë’ (joan-day-o-gan’t), an Onödowa’ga (ono-do-wah-gah) or Seneca word for Pittsburgh or “between two rivers”: the welhik hane (well-ick hah-neh) and Mënaonkihëla (men-aw-n-gee-ah-luh). These are the Lenape words for the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers, which translate to the “best flowing river of the hills” and “where the banks cave in and erode.” While a land acknowledgment is not enough, it is an important social justice and decolonial practice that promotes indigenous visibility and a reminder that we are on settled indigenous land. Let this land acknowledgment be an opening for all of us to contemplate a way to join in decolonial and indigenous movements for sovereignty and self-determination. Lastly, I am grateful to Melissa Borgia-Askey and Sandy Gajehsoh Dowdy for valuable etymological and pronunciation help. Also, we thank Andrea Riley Mukavetz and the American Indian Caucus for helping with this land acknowledgment.
The first session focused on small groups. We began working in small groups with vignettes about access & inclusivity; basic writers in the classroom; teaching with disabilities; affective issues in the classroom; and basic writing studies. Each group was asked to create a scene to share with the group that highlighted student experiences in these areas.
In one small group, we began by sharing the different definitions of Basic Writing, demonstrating the range of participant experiences and one of the inconsistencies in the field: institutions define Basic Writing differently.
One of our participants discussed teaching basic writing in Chile and Argentina. There, there was an assumption years ago that first you need to learn to write. Basic writing was something you did before you entered the university. More recently, this perspective has changed to something that has moved into the university and is included as part of the curriculum.
Another participant shared that at her former university, Basic Writing was a credit-bearing course. Students self-placed based on an online assessment, high school GPA, math SAT score, a test that measured test anxiety. Basic Writing was a course where students
Another participant shared that Basic Writing is an “empty signifier” because the placement test is inaccurate and student preparation is wildly different. The course is also not credit-bearing.
At another institution, Basic Writing is not credit bearing unless students take a version of ALP, the accelerated learning program.
At still another institution, Basic Writing is not credit bearing at all and there is no ALP pathway into the credit bearing course (so students have to pass non-credit bearing Basic Writing before moving into first year composition).
In general, no matter how Basic Writing is structured on different campuses, Basic Writing serves to prepare students to be successful in first year composition.
The Accessibility group then focused on definitions of access and inclusivity. One participant shared that in Latin America, access means social class. Around the table, other participants shared that in the United States, this means race, social class, physical and cognitive ability, underperforming high schools, students with GEDs, financial aid, and more.
In our next installment of CBW excitement, we continue our focus on what CBW Board Members are most excited about this year!
Sara Webb-Sunderhaus says, “The feeling of kinship I have with my colleagues who are also passionate about the teaching of writing.”
Barbara Gleason says, “Attending sessions focused on writing centers, basic writing, and adult literacy. Meeting colleagues and friends from all over the U.S. “
Erika Johnson says, “Learning from and with peers to work on my pedagogy.”
Darin L. Jensen says, “The first national TYCA conference!”
Leigh Jonaitis, our co-chair says, “The CBW workshop, of course! Also, connecting with friends and peers.”
(for the previous list, see here).
Please join us for an exciting day discussing Basic Writing and composition. We look forward to this annual gathering to network, share ideas, and explore Basic Writing pedagogy & theory.
This year, CBW is featured as a strand in the all-day TYCA conference. So, if you have registered for the TYCA conference (or just for the TYCA lunch), you can attend CBW sessions or—better yet—join us for the whole day!
If you prefer, you can also register for CBW all day long, just like you have in the past!