And, consider adding to them!
In the flurry of collecting digital signatures for the Sense of the House motion at CCCC this week, the CBW-L crashed. We apologize to those of you attempting to reach us via the listserv. The listserv has been restored. We are working to increase it’s capacity for daily messages.
Should you need to reach the CBW if the list crashes in the future, please send a message to lclark [at] lagcc [dot] cuny [dot] edu.
Serena Golden of Inside Higher Education wrote this article, “Basic But Vital,” detailing CBW’s work around the Sense of the House motion at CCCC 2011.
The resolution we developed and passed in the CBW workshop and SIG of CCCC was entered into the CCCC business meeting as a sense-of-the-house motion this morning. That resolution is:
“Be it resolved that Basic Writing, a vital field and its students and teacher scholars aproductive force within composition; is under attack by exclusionary public policies; and therefore must be recognized publicly and supported by CCCC as a conference cluster and with featured sessions.”
After a careful explanation and reading of the motion by William Lalicker and words of support by Lynn Troyka, Kelly Ritter and Shannon Carter (Kelly read a statement by David Bartholomae and Shannon read a statement by Bruce Horner), the motion was unanimously passed by the body of CCCC. We received a promise of support by Chris Anson, next year’s CCCC chair, who believed we would be able to cull and highlight BW presentations during next year’s conference.
It’s worth noting that this motion and the movement it has spurred is just the start. Now, we need to inundate the review committees with proposals that show the vibrancy and validity of BW as a field of study within CCCC and as a vital social concern for all compositionists. We also need to start to take a much more vocal presence in journals, in the media, and on the social front. To that end, look for an article on insidehighered.com on Monday morning regarding the motion and (hopefully) the current movement within CBW.
Please join the CBW in moving our issues and our ideas to the forefront of composition studies and to the larger higher education world.
Great conference all. Great movement all. See you back in the classroom.
(Note: I posted this email to the listserv, but I think the listserv is still crashed from our many, many messages that signed onto the motion. If you get this message in your email, sorry for the duplication.)
I know that many of you have been following the Sense of the House Resolution at CCCC over the past two days. We will send a full update later this weekend, but Peter Adams sent this word from the floor of the house.
“The resolution just passed unanimously at business meeting and that Chris Anson, the program chair for CCCC 2012 indicated his support for improving the visibility of BW.”
I cannot thank you enough for all of your support both at CCCC and virtually. It has been amazing to watch this unfold over the last 3 days. I think we are all feeling a collective sense of immediacy in our work around Basic Writing right now and this spoke to our shared concerns.
Again, a full report will follow later, but many folks were involved in seeing this through: William Lalicker, Shannon Carter, Peter Adams, Mike Hill, and Sugie Goen-Salter worked tirelessly behind the scenes collecting signatures, making copies, gathering statements so that those who could not be in attendance were well-represented. Many others came to the business meeting this morning to speak in support of the resolution and to read statements from those who could not attend. (Full list to follow later). We also released a press release to Inside Higher Education (Thanks Mike!). I’m hoping we’ll see that in IHE later today. Also, many, many thanks to William Lalicker, who proposed the idea in our preconference workshop on Wednesday. And, thanks to all of you who took time from your very busy lives to send statements of support!!! I also thought that you would be interested to know that David Bartholomae, Bruce Horner, and Rebecca Mlynarczyk sent in very eloquent statements about the importance of Basic Writing to be read on the floor in support of our motion.
I think this marks an excellent moment in Basic Writing. We need to seize the moment and run with it.
In the coming weeks, we will be posting more information on the listserv about a concerted effort to get BW into CCCC 2012. Please stay posted for this and be thinking of sessions you would like to propose!
Many folks are traveling from CCCC today, but once everyone has arrived home and rested, we will post a full account of the meeting here and on CBW-L. We will also compile a complete list of signatories on the motion. Right now those signatures are in digital and handwritten form.
Finally, I cannot thank you enough for all of your support and your work for our community of Basic Writing faculty, staff, and students!
(J. Elizabeth Clark, posting on behalf of the CBW Executive Board)
Join the Writing Democracy: The Project at CCCC in Atlanta.
When? Friday 8:00 pm,
Where? Suite 3814, Marriott Marquis.
For more information:
Kelly Ritter joined us to present on “The Local Matters: Defining ‘Basic’ in Local Contexts.”
What does “basic” mean in different contexts? Kelly presented 5 different scenarios that illustrated that basic writing is historic and everywhere. There are basic writers in all kinds of different colleges and universities. At one point, she argued, “we were all basic writers.” Basic writing is not a clean and easy label; it is a complex and multi-layered definition. Yet, when we look at the current budget crisis, basic writing (and basic skills) are the first and easiest target.
Ritter argued that as scholars, we need to take on
- public advocacy
- local research and dissemination of information about local contexts for basic writing
Teachers of basic writing should be active scholars and writers of basic writing scholarship. Acknowledging difficulties of time and teaching load, Ritter argues that this is nevertheless an important task for all teachers of basic writing. We need to write the theory, history, and pedagogy of basic writing. Our words and our experiences matter. We need to claim that space and ensure that our voices are present in the larger discourse of composition scholarship. Ritter says we should all focus on the mantra:
“I am a teacher, a scholar, and a force.”
When she polled the room to ask how many people have published an article on basic writing, basic writing pedagogy, and basic writers, 3/4 of the room raised their hands. The other 1/4 of the room was interested in pursuing publication. We need to continue this trend by supporting one another.
Ritter explained her own publication history. She started small, following a question, “Who are basic writers?”
She believes that we all need to take changes to present our experience and authority with basic writing to establish a voice for our students and our communities of basic writing. She suggested a few areas for possible research:
- Local case studies of how basic writers learn put in the context of national trends (students can’t do x)
- Historical studies of basic writing on your campus in conversation with histories nationally (locally, regionally)
- Brief inquiries into (What does “process” mean? What does cognitive research look like today?)
- Reviews of composition textbooks & their approaches to pedagogy
- Theoretical explorations of theory of pedagogy & basic writing
- Comparative studies that position basic writing within discussions about basic math or basic foreign languages. What strengths might we have in common? What would happen if we join forces?
Focusing on these and other research questions, we will establish the importance of our work and the narrative of basic writing as everywhere. Ritter ended with the assertion:
“We are not going anywhere. We are basic writing.”
Read more about Kelly’s work in Before Shaughnessy:Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920-1960 and Who Owns School? Authority, Students, and Online Discourse. She is the incoming editor of College English.
Michael Hill’s presentation today challenged the Council on Basic Writing to move beyond a mission statement to focus on best practice statements, like WPA and NCTE and CCCC have. His call to action included:
Clear & Strong Best Practice Statements on issues like:
- grammar instruction
- placement procedures
- class size
- faculty training
- programmatic support
- contingent faculty
- what it means to teach for student voice & student empowerment