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:
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:
Michael Hill, CBW Co-Chair, opened the business meeting by welcoming everyone! The open business meeting is focused on making sure that we get lots of input from our basic writing community!
1. WELCOME & INTRODUCTIONS
We had the opportunity to hear from colleagues around the country and hear some of the exciting research and scholarship faculty are working on!
Also in introductions, we heard about basic writing issues concerning faculty across the country such as placement, second language learners in basic writing, syllabi, etc. We discussed the importance of networking and the basic writing community coalition building.
2. MEMBER SURVEY:
Michael Hill and Lynn Reid, Co-Chairs, summarized the results of a member survey conducted by Marisa Klages-Bombich.
CBW Membership Survey Responses
(for a Word Version, click here: SURVEYCBW2015)
Institutions with participants in survey:
2 year schools: 28
4-year schools: 26
|Community College of Baltimore County|
|Helena College University of Montana|
|Bronx Community College, CUNY|
|Bishop State Community College|
|University of Wisconsin Madison|
|Kingsborough CC, CUNY|
|University of Wisconsin Colleges|
|Nassau Community College, Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Lehman College|
|Shawnee State University|
|University of Massachusetts Amherst|
|Hawkeye Community College|
|North Shore Community College|
|Central Virginia Community College|
|Prairie State College|
|City College at MSUB|
|Arizona State University|
|LaGuardia CC (2)|
|College of Lake County|
|Southwestern Illinois College|
|College of Southern Idaho|
|Housatonic Community College|
|Heartland Community College (Normal IL)|
|Boise State University|
|Community College of Allegheny County|
|University of Colorado, Colorado Springs|
|Ivy Tech Central Indiana|
|West Chester University of PA|
|Texas Woman’s University|
|Bergen Community College|
|Bristol Community College, Quinsigamond Community College, Roger Williams University|
|The Art Institute of New York City|
|Ivy Tech Community College|
|Northeastern Illinois University|
|Frostburg State University|
|Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd University|
|California Lutheran University|
|Bishop State Community College (2)|
|Metropolitan Community College, Omaha Nebraska|
|Green River College|
|Westchester Community College|
|Salina Area Technical College|
|University of Dubuque|
|Whatcom Community College|
|Joliet Junior College|
|Heartland Community College|
|Lake Michigan College|
|The City College of New York|
|Kingsborough Community College|
Titles of respondents:
Assistant Professor: 11
Associate Professor: 11
Part-time Faculty: 2
Graduate Teaching Assistant: 1
Senior Lead Instructor: 1
Developmental Program Coordinator: 1
WPA only: 2
WPA in addition to above title: 5
Do you consider yourself a member of CBW?
Nearly 63% of respondents consider themselves members of CBW.
(Yes: 34, No: 5, Don’t Know: 11, No answer: :2)
The Council on Basic Writing participates in or produces a number of different resources for its members and for the world of Basic Writing. Which of the following do you use?
A majority of respondents use a combination of CBW resources. Six respondents used only the listserv (3) or facebook (3). The other 52 repondents used some combination of all the tools:
How should people become members?
We offered three pathways to membership:
Nearly everyone believed that all three pathways to membership are acceptable and no one method was strides ahead of the other, most people voted for all three pathways.
What should the duties of membership include?
We asked what the duties of membership should include and offered the following options, respondents could choose more than one option:
Participation at C’s and on the listserv (n=47)
Voting on organization policy and board membership (n=37)
Voting on public policy and pedagogy statements (n=36)
Participation on CBW committees (n=30)
Commitment to regional action on Basic Writing issues (n=38)
Overwhelmingly, respondents found that participation at C’s and on the listserv should constitute member responsibilities.
However, a number of people also believed that voting on organization issues or public policy issues are also important, as is a commitment to regional basic writing issues. The lowest number of people selected participating in CBW committees.
Which of the following information would you be interested in?
We asked members what information they’d be interested in having related to CBW. (n=52)
Most people are interested in Official CBW literature and an Official Website.
On which of the following committees would you be interested in serving?
We asked people which committees they would be interested in serving on. People could select more than one committee. There is interest in serving on CBW committees, though the interest is not entirely robust.
Professional Development (29)
Affiliations and Outreach (18)
Social Media (17)
Elections to Executive Board/Steering Committee (6)
Executive Board/Steering Committee (16)
Policy Task Force (17)
Would you be willing to pay CBW membership dues to help the organization grow? If so what would be reasonable? (people could select more than one option)
The majority of respondents favor a sliding scale dues schedule; however, $15-$25.00 was the most popular dollar amount. If we consider the 24 respondents who consider themselves members and set a $20.00 membership fee, that would have given us an annual operating budget of $680.00.
Other comments-see below.
Any other comments, questions or suggestions/and or concerns regarding the CBW?
Since most of the people that would benefit from a more active CBW are probably NOT tenure-track faculty, charging for membership at this time seems inappropriate. Once we build a more visible and more participatory organization that works THROUGHOUT THE YEAR on Basic Writing issues, then paid membership could be reconsidered.
Indeed, participation seems more crucial than “membership.” Building committees and other opportunities for participation could be crucial for helping to create the main issue that CBW has now: participation outside of CCCC. Committees that stay active throughout the year would help to increase CBW visibility. Membership– especially PAID membership– with not much to offer in return other than CCCC-related pursuits — would not have as much impact.
Please plug BWe more. I intend to check it out but forget. Including TOC in an email instead of attachment is recommended because then I see why I need to leave email-land right now and check out X article.
P.S. I’d also like to help with the pedagogy statement that was started at CCCCs, and, um, while I’m suggesting things…what are the possibilities the CBW workshop could be a half day instead of the marathon 9 to 5 session? I sort of get burned out 2 days into CCCCs when I start it with such a lengthy day right after traveling and then try to hit the SIGs and otherwise do all the things. This might just be me though.
I might consider serving on a committee, but it would depend on the time commitment involved as my role on campus and my system-wide committee work leaves me with limited time for meaningful work serving my professional organizations.
The survey was created from the desire to learn more about how CBW could serve the Basic Writing Community. This survey was released on March 21, 2015, shortly after CCCC 2015. It was open for over 1 month and the link was posted in multiple online venues. We received 54 responses. Forty-eight responses were NOT from current executive board membership. Most questions had 52-53 respondents.
3. Discussion of the Survey:
There was general agreement that the survey was very useful! This is a summary of the group discussion in response to the member survey:
How do we adapt to changing notions of basic writers? How do we support them? How do we support the work of supporting those students?
How many people do we have in the CBW?
Susan Naomi Bernstein raised the issue that categorizing students as “basic writers” essentializes the students.
How might we identify the populations that we serve? How might we identify the work we are doing in the world? The work our students are doing?
We need to make sure that people know what resources are out there (and to provide a central place for those resources–like an expanded resource share). Because of language: “basic” writers, “developmental” writing, “remedial” writing, etc. it’s hard to know where to start.
It would also be helpful to have a library of resource and position statements (e.g. course caps, budgets, etc.).
How do we talk about our work so that other people can find it without being reductive? (again, how do we talk about our work)?
We need keywords in Basic Writing (and something like an Amazon recommendation: if you like this… you’ll like this…).
We need more ways for people to participate actively and feel an important part of the CBW. We would like to create opportunities for people to consider themselves members of CBW by doing.
We also discussed ideas for next year’s workshop.
4. What is the work of CBW when we are not at CCCC?
How might we think about committee work and the work of CCCC?
We recently lost funding for our travel award. This was one way that we were able to help participants.
We discussed ways to support the scholarship of graduate students; contingent faculty, etc.
Should we find ways to connect to NADE? How do we participate in NADE discussions about basic writing? A connection point might be some of the larger politics around developmental education.
Also, we need to continue the TYCA connections. These were useful to promote the work of CBW and a gathering of figuring out who is interested & who wants to be connected to this work. If we are strategic about it, it’s a starting point to build panels together and to take concerns and translate them into action in a particular geographic area.
Also, we discussed how we are defining ourselves and how we represent ourselves in our outreach.
There was a discussion about funding and how to get funding (to be continued).
We discussed several new possible committees to continue the work of CBW outside of CCCC:
We’ll continue this discussion in the SIG tonight at 6:30 p.m. Looking forward to seeing you all there!
Many thanks to everyone who attended!
We look forward to seeing you at the other CBW events at CCCC this week!
Here’s the presentation for those of you who were asking.
It should be downloadable as a PDF file.
This session, chaired by Hannah Ashley, focused on public and institutional discourses about Basic Writing and Basic Writers. The emphasis was on rewriting the narrative of Basic Writing as part of shaping the public and institutional policies that affect Basic Writing programs, Basic Writers, and faculty and staff.
Karen Uehling presented on “Assessment, Placement, and Access: Framing Arguments from Local and National Histories.” She provided a very comprehensive overview of the history of Basic Writing by examining the trends and history in Basic Writing. I’m going to ask if she’ll share her bibliography for her paper because it’s a treasure trove of the history of trends in Basic Writing and because it was hard for me to keep up with all of the references. [Update: the bibliography appears at the end of this post AND is a separate post on the blog].
Uehling outlined the current language of a “literacy crisis” in our society. She posited that we do not have a literacy crisis. “There was never a golden age when students could write better than they can now,” she asserted.
She then moved to discussing the strand in Basic Writing scholarship of looking at the human costs of the decisions that we (and policy makers and administrators) make about basic writing. “Story is one way that we make sense of the world,” she said, emphasizing the importance of returning to the practice of including student stories and human narratives into the discussion of Basic Writing. Focusing on numbers and data alone do not paint the picture of what’s at stake, for whom, and why. As a side note, this has been a trend at CCCC 2013: looking at a return to the importance of narrative & story. I think much of this was influenced by Malea Powell’s address to CCCC 2012 where she dramatically demonstrated the power and importance of story.
William Lalicker explored “Agency through Assessment: Developing a Basic Writing Program Strength Quotient.” He was focused on the question of “How is our work as basic writing professors interpreted, understood and valued?” He suggested that programs engage in a 12 point program strength quotient analysis. It includes questions such as:
Each of these questions had a set criteria linked to a point system. For example, question #2 looks at who is teaching Basic Writing. The first criteria is “If your Basic Writing sections, or other learning situations for basic writers, are taught completely by unwilling non-tenure-track instructors assigned due to minimal seniority in the course-choice hierarchy, or by student peers alone, or by lit professors who couldn’t get jobs teaching Chaucer, or other uninspired or unempowered placeholders, assign 0 points.” There are multiple criteria for each question.
Lalicker’s point is that if you assess your writing program, you are able to talk about how you are serving Basic Writers with administrators and stakeholders.
Michael Hill addressed “The Work of Philosophical Argument in an Age of Mechanical Assessment.” Hill began by observing that mechanical grading software is something that perhaps all of us have wished for when facing a stack of papers. An administrator suggested that the college adopt e-Write software because it would solve all of the college’s issues with placement.
Hill focused on the importance of Basic Writing faculty authority. “I am Basic Writing,” he said. As a teacher of basic writing, he understands that it is important to . The data that e-Write is effective, something that influences administrators and politicians, is corporate-funded research. That matters. And, it’s a critical piece of the conversation.
As we think about writing, writing to an audience, and writing for expression, Hill argues that it’s important to remember that writing as an expressive act is transactional: between writer and reader. What happens when that transaction is removed?
Hill suggests that we need to explore and engage in a philosophical argument. Although it’s difficult to get people to listen to ideas, it’s also important to be more persuasive, using our authority and experience as Basic Writing faculty.
e-Write software changes the communicative paradigm. One cannot be persuasive, one must follow standards that can be quantified in the software. There are also questions about student authorship and authority: who owns the writing, what does it look like?
e-Write and dialectical materialism: Hill invoked Walter Benjamin and the age of mechanical reproduction. e-Write turns Benjamin’s “glee” in mechanical reproduction into something darker. The only power left in the exchange is a voiceless exchange. Writing becomes simply functional. Why are we promoting the deauthorization of writing? e-Write takes authorship and authority away from students. Student writing is voiced into nothing. It becomes a simple number for placement.
e-Write software can also be analyzed through a lens of : it is a failure of a democratic ethic. Robert Dowell claims that democratic society is based on “intrinsic equality.” In e-Write, individual voices are not equal. Instead, they are assessed by a mechanical arbiter of standardization. e-Write fails to participate in democratic education, preparing students to engage in citizenship. e-Write is a tool that is a failure of democracy by erasing a writer’s voice before she is even done writing.
e-Write is a tool for prescription and correction, not for building and guiding student development of voice. This is not the philosophy of Basic Writing, the pedagogical approach to Basic Writing, nor the best practice in the field.
Hill urges us to consider: what are the ramifications of this kind of software? What is the ramification of ANY product that enters the classroom to affect instruction?
If we do not engage in these discussions and create the scholarship, debate, and policies, then we allow corporations to define Basic Writing, our field, and our philosophy.
Abby Nance presented on “A Tale of Two Classrooms: Practicing Trauma-Sensitive Placement.” Nance began by referencing a previous session (A17) at CCCC when Carla Maroudas asked “How many of your departments use Accuplacer or a similar program for placement?” Most of the room raised their hands. To the second question, “How many of you believe these softwares are accurate?” no hands went up.
Nance focused on a study she did (IRB approved!) about the role of trauma and Basic Writing placement. She was interested in the question of trauma and whether that affected student performance.
She next referenced an ACE Study by the CDC, the work of Jeffery Duncan-Andrade, the work of James Pennebaker, and a 2005 study entitled “Helping Traumatized Children Learn: Supportive School Environments for Children Traumatized by Family Violence” by S. Cole, J.G. O’Brien, G. Gadd, J. Ristuccia, and L. Wallace. These studies suggest that early childhood trauma leads to serious health problems and a shortened life span.
Nance was interested in exploring if there is a relationship between students’ traumatic experiences prior to enrolling in college and their placement in a college writing classroom and is there a relationship between the acknowledgement and expression of traumatic experiences?
She defined traumatic experiences by: traumatic deaths, family upheaval, traumatic sexual experiences, physical violence, illness/injuries, and other.
She asked students “Prior to this semester, did you experience a death of a very close friend or family member? If yes, how old were you? If yes, how traumatic was this experience?” Students were asked to use a numerical scale.
As she looked at trauma as a whole, there seemed to be very little correlation between trauma and placement.
So, Nance examined the kind of trauma. There are “secret traumas” that are not discussed or publicly acknowledged (e.g. sexual violence in a household versus a death or illness which might be more public).
This data suggests that if there is a relationship between trauma and placement, it’s a complex relationship.
Nance suggested a moderate response to trauma-sensitive placement: by developing sensitivity to these issues.
She also suggested a more radical response: to write and talk about these experiences with students. We know about the healing properties of pomegranates. The healing properties of writing as therapy have been documented and explored. So, how do we engage this and document this and create evidence for this?
Hannah Ashley noted a thread of “seize the discourse” across each of these narratives because it’s critical to establishing our authority, the field all in the service of students and student success.
Resources for this post:
Karen S. Uehling provided this incredibly useful bibliography for her talk on “Assessment, Placement, and Access: Framing Arguments from Local and National Histories” as part of her CCCC presentation March 15, 2013.
Assessment, Placement, and Access: Framing Arguments from Local and National Histories
A Bibliography by Karen S. Uehling
Adams, Peter, Sarah Gearhart, Robert Miller, and Anne Roberts. “The Accelerated Learning Program: Throwing Open the Gates.” Journal of Basic Writing 28.2 (2009): 50–69. Print.
Adler-Kassner, Linda, and Susanmarie Harrington. Basic Writing as a Political Act: Public Conversations about Writing and Literacies. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton P, 2002. Print. [See Chapter 5, “Looking Outward: Basic Writing and Basic Writers in the Mainstream Media,” for information on newspaper coverage of the General College of the University of Minnesota at Minneapolis in 1996 and City University of New York in New York City in 1999.]
Bartholomae, David. “The Tidy House: Basic Writing in the American Curriculum.” Journal of Basic Writing 12.1 (1993): 4–21. Print.
Buber, Martin. I and Thou. 2nd ed. NY: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1958. Print.
Collins, Terence G. “Basic Writing Programs and Access Allies: Finding and Maintaining Your Support Network.” CBW Newsletter 13.3 (1998): 1–6. Print. [Available as a PDF through the CBW archives.]
———. “A Response to Ira Shor’s ‘Our Apartheid: Writing Instruction and Inequality.'” Journal of Basic Writing 16.2 (1997): 95–100. Print.
Glau, Gregory R., and Chitralekha Duttagupta, Eds. The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing. 3rd. ed. NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2010. Print.
Gleason, Barbara. “Evaluating Writing Programs in Real Time: The Politics of Remediation.” College Composition and Communication 51.4 (2000): 560–88. Print.
Greenberg, Karen L. “A Response to Ira Shor’s ‘Our Apartheid: Writing Instruction and Inequality.'” Journal of Basic Writing 16.2 (1997): 90–94. Print.
McNenny, Gerri, Ed. Mainstreaming Basic Writers: Politics and Pedagogies of Access. Mahwah: Erlbaum, 2001. Print.
Otte, George, and Rebecca Williams Mlynarczyk. Basic Writing. West Lafayette, Indiana: Parlor P, 2010. Print. [Also available as open access book on the WAC Clearinghouse: http://wac.colostate.edu/books/basicwriting%5D
Ritter, Kelly. Before Shaughnessy: Basic Writing at Yale and Harvard, 1920–1960. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois UP, 2009. Print.
Rose, Mike. Back to School: Why Everyone Deserves A Second Chance at Education.
NY: New Press, 2012. Print.
—. Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America’s Underprepared. New York: Free, 1989. Print.
—. Possible Lives: The Promise of Public Education in America. Houghton Mifflin: 1995. Print.
—. The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker. NY: Penguin, 2004.
Shor, Ira. “Our Apartheid: Writing Instruction and Inequality.” Journal of Basic Writing 16.1 (1997): 91–104. Print.
Soliday, Mary, and Barbara Gleason. “From Remediation to Enrichment: Evaluating a Mainstreaming Project.” Journal of Basic Writing 16.1 (1997): 64–78. Print.
Soliday, Mary. The Politics of Remediation: Institutional and Student Needs in Higher Education. Pittsburgh: U of Pittsburg P, 2002. Print.
Sternglass, Marilyn S. Time to Know Them: A Longitudinal Study of Writing and Learning at the College Level. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1997. Print.
Traub, James. City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College. Reading, Mass.: A William Patrick Book/Addison-Wesley, 1994.
Uehling, Karen S. “The Conference on Basic Writing: 1980-2005.” The Bedford Bibliography for Teachers of Basic Writing. Ed. Gregory R. Glau and Chitralekha Duttagupta. 3rd ed. NY: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2005. 8-22. Print.
This session featured Peter Elbow, “Multiple Versions of Written English: In Our Past—and Also in Our Future” and Sheridan Blau, “Vernacular Eloquence as the Foundation for a Vital Academic Discourse.”
Where are we in terms of the use of “multiple versions of written English” and “vernacular eloquence” in Basic Composition? I found this session to be delightfully controversial. Elbow’s advocacy for the vernacular is about making the sounds that the mouth likes to make and the ear likes to hear. It sounds poetic, like a song. Elbow argues that the best critics use the language that is pleasing. It is not about using a different, awkward academic language.
The shared theme from the talks is that mimicry does not work, and students should be allowed to use their own voices. Instead student voices evolve as their learning emerges in communities.
Blau offered workshop that teachers could reproduce in their classrooms–a rare practical application of a theory. The workshop went like this: students write a “commentary” in response to a text. In this case, Blau used the poem “Nineteen” by George Bogin for the workshop. With ongoing tensions between Composition and Literature, this seemed like a somewhat controversial choice. Nevertheless, in his workshop, he indicated that students write weekly commentaries throughout the semester. They post their work online. They also have to reply to at least one peer each week.
After explaining the assignment, the teacher asks the students, “Are there any questions?” As the questions emerge, the teacher indicates that s/he does not know what the final product will look like. Blau encouraged teachers to respond with “We’ll see.” Do we need a thesis statement? “We’ll see.” How long does it need to be? “We’ll see.” The idea being that students will discover the genre of the commentary as it evolves in the academic community.
After students write their commentary, in small groups of three, they decide together what a commentary might look like–what it’s features might be. It is not a list of what the commentary must look like or what the commentary must *not* do, but rather a list of possible characteristics. In this way, students discover the genre as they create it. They practice naming the features of this particular genre.
In the end, Blau encourages us to notice important points about sharing the commentaries and working together to determine the features of the assignment. Blau notes that each possibility (reading each other’s commentaries) actually opens up new insights for the listeners, insights they would not have had if they had only read their own commentary. In this way, a thesis emerges in a community and as part of an ongoing conversation about a text. The thesis is something that lives when it emerges from discussion and argument from the class. Blau states, “We are constructing the genre of the commentary on the basis of what we do and who we are.”
As part of the classroom practice, Blau selects commentaries to share in order to generate class discussions and raise issues. Blau reads commentaries in class to acknowledge real contributions to knowledge making. Students learn from each other and the teachers. Questions are important. The work is published online.
This practice acknowledges the value of multiple perspectives. Students acquire a more critical literacy. Students see themselves as part of an academic conversation. They start to write in their home language. The language in which they speak and think and serve them well in their role as speakers and thinkers in this context. Students learn that they can expand the resources of their home language without having to abandon it, and they take on new terms and phrases that emerge in the learning community. Students learn that academic discourse is about the construction of knowledge and ideas. Students extend and expand their “language competence.” This practice offers a way of interrogating text and illuminating it. Finally, Blau says that the practice allows us to “witness students as intellectuals.” ~ Sheri Rysdam, UVU
Scott Lyons began by confessing that he does not consider himself an expert in Basic Writing. Interestingly, his work seemed absolutely crucial to the conversations we’ve been having all day on teaching basic writing students.
He writes about his experience teaching at a tribal college in Minnesota. He was the first PhD to be hired at the college to teach writing. There were four full-time instructors. There were three Ojibwe teachers and one white teacher. Because of his degree (and not his experience, he assures us), Lyons quickly became the head of the department. One day, the white teacher, one of the best at the school, came to him in tears. She said that she felt like a bad person. She wanted students “to be themselves.” She wanted them to be “the sovereign people that they are.” The teacher said she “did not want to be a part of their assimilation.”
Lyons acknowledges this teacher’s concerns and does so by showing some of the black and white images of assimilation that many of us are familiar with. Lyons included a “before and after” picture of American Indians in schools of assimilation. The “after” photo has been noticeably lightened. The clear message is that assimilated students actually have lighter skin.
The whole story is not just about assimilation though. There were prominent arguments for annihilation as well. Lyons shared newspaper excerpts from notable writers, like author L. Frank Baum (writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz), who wrote that it was “better that they die.” Lyons demonstrates that these writers seemed to simultaneously revere the American Indian culture, while they depicted them as vanishing tragically *but necessarily.*
Lyons makes the distinction between cultural assimilation and economic assimilation. Cultural assimilation usually includes religious assimilation to Christianity. However, economic assimilation is a crucial part of the story too. When it comes to economic assimilation, American Indians have been historically exiled. Lyons argues that progressive pedagogy understands economic assimilation and the role education plays in that process.
Lyons ends this talk by returning to the image of the teacher crying in his office, the teacher who does not want to be complacent in the assimilation of her students. Lyons ends by making the following points. If you want to help Indians engage “settler culture,” you need to not see yourself as a bad person. “Rez English” is not useful because the market that we share does not use that language. Lyons states that teachers should point out that English is an American Indian language now. Finally, he encouraged teachers to emphasize the importance of studying the writing of American Indians.
from the panel “Race, Language, and Access: Possible Futures of Basic Writing”
Moderators: Steve Lamos & Wendy Olson
Featuring: Scott Lyons, Beatrice Mendez-Newman, Min-Zhan Lu, & Shirley Faulker-Springfield
~ Sheri Rysdam, UVU
Here are some of my thoughts on Victor Villanueva’s talk, “Toward a Political Economy of Basic Writing Programs.”
After earning my PhD at WSU with Victor Villanueva as my mentor, I still don’t tire of hearing this work. It is his way of engaging an audience that probably resulted in his talk ending with a standing ovation. He drew chills, goose bumps, and, no doubt, renewed, re-inspired, and motivated his audience to think about their programs and their teaching in new and innovative ways.
Basic Writing programs are almost always in crisis. Sound familiar? It seems like every few years, a basic writing program has to argue for its existence. That is because, Villanueva states, crisis is a necessity of capitalism. Remedial writing programs are also a product of capitalism.
Basic Writing exists because *institutions* too often fail to educate women, people of color, and the poor. Too often, Basic Writing students are viewed as the ones with the problem. Villanueva encourages us to remember that basic writing students are not the problem. The problem is a function of capitalism, which requires an exploitable class of people. Race, class, and gender have been the most exploitable population, and it is not mistake that Basic Writing programs are largely populated with these people.
Villanueva reminds us that BW is not in need of remedies or in need of development. There is no illness. There is no cognitive dysfunction. We must stop thinking about our students in terms of deficit and needing to be “prepared” for classes beyond basic writing.
Instead, writing needs to happen across the curriculum. Teachers and administrators of basic writing need to be in conversation with other disciplines to allow these writers to exist within the larger university—not exiled to their remedial classes. Part of this work means giving these students college credit for the work that they do so that the exploitation of paying for credits that do not count toward a degree does not continue. This is an especially crucial aspect of supporting our poor and working-class students.
According to Villanueva, if Basic Writing is going to move outside of the deficit model, where the teacher/missionary/savior “converts the natives,” basic writing must “enter in to a dialogue across the disciplines” so that students see their community, see themselves as a crucial part of the university, and understand how to gain access.
Of course, Villanueva’s talk was far more nuanced in addressing issues of assimilation, enculturation, and identity. These are some of the quick points and observations that stand out to me.
I cannot think of a more energizing way to kick start CCCC 2013! Stay tuned! ~ Sheri Rysdam, UVU
CBW had 5 small groups to discuss “Race, Locality, and the Public Work of Basic Writing.”
Preparing and supporting students of color
We want to empower students & create a sense of agency in their lives;
There are tensions between expectations like end-of-term assessments (high stakes tests) and preparing and supporting students of color;
Why do these conversations exclude students? Why do we have these conversations without students at the table. How do we navigate this?
The group also shared grading practices (basic skills or inviting a conversation in the grade?);
The group discussed the difference between focusing on grammar and engaging in conversations about content.
Preparing and supporting faculty of color
The group discussed tokenism and the importance of avoiding it! (e.g. particularly when faculty of color are recruited for committee work and then don’t have time to publish and other do other work);
The group discussed teaching evaluations, (e.g. students commenting on “accents” as if all faculty don’t have an accent; that if a faculty member of color makes even 1 comment about race, that some students begin to make an issue out of it), so tenure and promotion committees need to be educated about issues like this;
Support: invite collaboration (in publishing, in teaching, etc.);
Support & mentoring: make tenure & promotion expectations clear.
Race and pedagogical practices
The group discussed My Writing Lab & how it’s become a stand-alone module;
CLASP (University of Washington)–professional development for teachers;
The relationship between curriculum & race & pedagogical practices;
The relationship of edited, standard American English and whiteness;
The position of the teacher in the classroom & giving race time and space in the class for conversation.
Basic Writing and Race Nationally and Locally
There was a discussion of the politics of remediation (who do we educate? When? Why?);
How do we address attacks on developmental education?
How do we address politicians and engage them in conversation?
How do we connect with other groups in order to make connections? (even outside of traditional academic groups?)
How do we use social media to raise the profile of basic writing?
Meeting challenges and attacks on basic writing programs:
The group discussed the Complete College America initiative;
Developmental courses have been dropped or outlawed in several states;
Their suggestions include a number of ideas that are exactly the work of basic writing;
Their goal is to end “traditional remediation”;
The group feels that the work attacks developmental programs (as a straw man for what’s wrong with education).
There was a discussion also about ways that we can appropriate the language of programs like Complete College American in order to get funding & recognition for our programs.
Another discussion followed the theme of how much “subversive complicity” is enough? Too much? How far do you go?
The group brainstormed ideas to address this:
Have WPA experts visit campus to discuss and evaluate basic writing programs (from our own colleagues);
NADE accreditation (National Association for Developmental Education);
Collect evidence (student success stories);
Accumulate statistics for success;
Advocacy within our own council. We need to be more like ATTW: we need to create awareness for CBW.
This group also wanted to talk about MOOCs, but ran out of time.
You are invited to join us in a conversation about Basic Writing! We’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, experiences, and pedagogical approaches in teaching Basic Writing!
We hope you will join us to share resources, best practices, and to engage as a national community helping members respond to local issues.
This discussion follows up on last year’s roundtable at CCCC. As we did last year, we invite you to join both the asynchronous and synchronous conversations.
Join the conversation online: February 12, 2013 to March 13, 2013. Online conversations will be held on the Council on Basic Writing Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/50538806660/).
Then, join us in person to continue the conversation at CCCC 2013: Session A.17, Thursday 3/14 10:30 AM – 11:45 a.m. There will also be an online option to join this session if you are not attending CCCC 2013.
THERE’S NOTHING BASIC ABOUT BASIC WRITING ONLINE TOPICS (CBW FACEBOOK PAGE): Everyone is invited to join in the conversation!
WHO ARE BASIC WRITERS?
Facilitated by Elaine Jolayemi, Ivy Tech and & Leigh Jonaitis, Bergen Community College
ACADEMIC SKILLS/WRITING CENTERS
Facilitated by Ilene Rubenstein, College of the Desert
TEACHING WITH TECHNOLOGY
Facilitated by J. Elizabeth Clark, LaGuardia Community College–CUNY
TEACHER PREPARATION & PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
Co-Facilitated by Debra Berry, College of Southern Nevada & Marisa Klages, LaGuardia Community College–CUNY
Facilitated by Carla Maroudas, Mt. San Jacinto Community College
DAY-TO-DAY LIFE IN THE CLASSROOM
Facilitated by Amy Edwards Patterson, Moraine Park Technical College
Hope to see you online or in person!