Teaching and social justice One premise of The Everyday Writing Center that we did not explicitly address is that social justice is one of the goals of education.
In class writing What is social justice? How does it relate to education? Do you see your work as a teacher/writer within the tradition of social justice? Please write about the questions above for around five minutes. Then, share your answers with your group. Then, take some notes about how your answers compare/contrast.
Why theory? What does theory have to do with the tutoring of writing? James Berlin Rhetoric and Reality (1987): Our worldviews and our understanding of epistemology shape our views of writing and writing instruction. Consciousness of our worldviews/epistemologies reflective/informed tutoring and teaching practices.
Current-traditional rhetoric: Rational view of the world. Objective view of knowledge. Descartes: I think therefore I am
Current traditional rhetoric: Implications for writing instruction Writing is view as a container for ideas. 2) Belief language errors signal errors in thinking/intelligence. 3) Teachers primarily pay much attention to surface features and errors.
Current traditional rhetoric: Critique and questions It ignores writing as a process of making meaning and the transactional nature of knowledge. Few identify as current-traditional rhetoricians, but, much writing instruction and even more assessment are driven by this view. What issues does this pose for writing tutors?
Expressivism Subjective view of the world. In the tradition of Romantic writers (Wordsworth, Emerson, Thoreau), Platonic philosophy, and cognitive psychology (Rogers, Maslow). Understands reality via introspection, connection with nature, and art.
Expressivism: Implications for writing instruction Attention to creativity. Cultivation of an environment where students feel comfortable expressing themselves. Value authentic voice and process.
Expressivism: critique and questions It fails to acknowledge the social nature of learning; it posits knowledge within the mind; it ignores the transactional nature of knowledge. Peter Elbow, Ken Macrorie, Donald Murray are names commonly associated with this approach, but if you read their work, you will find that the critique of expressivism oversimplifies their work. Like current-traditionalism, few writing instructors today would self-identify as “expressivists,” but, you will observe many practices that appear to fall under this heading.
Question: What problems are created when assessment is driven by current traditional views and teaching practices are driven by expressivist views? Please write about the question above for around five minutes. Then, share your answers with your group. Then, take some notes about how your answers compare/contrast.
Social construction Transactional view of knowledge, which posits reality as created from interaction between people, ideas, and structures. Roots in social learning theories of Lev Vyotgsky and progressive education philosophy of John Dewey. For writing instruction, this means attention to collaboration (social learning), discourse communities (understanding language values as culturally created).
Cultural Studies An extension of multicultural approaches to education. Writing and rhetoric are part of civic education that prepares students for participation in public life. For writing teachers, this means attention to critical thinking and public discourse. The critique- unnecessarily politicizes the classroom and takes attention from writing (Maxine Hairston 1992, Stanley Fish NYTimes)
Postmodern A departure from the modernist project that values multiplicity and ambiguity. (Jean Francois Lyotard, James Berlin, Sandra Harding) Critique- too much jargon, too confusing, fails to provide stable ground for action (Fredric Jameson, Nancy Welch).
Postcolonial Begins with the understandingwestern education was part of the colonial project. As Europeans claimed land around the world, they used western education to undercut local knowledge and customs and to institute systems—social, cultural, and political—that served western interests. Seeks to recapture “native” perspectives and ways of making knowledge.(Franz Fanon, GaytriSpivak, Melea Powell)
Post-process Critique of rote application of uniform writing process. Sees knowledge as contextual, contingent. Thomas Newkirk, Rhonda Grego and Nancy Thompson, The Everyday Writing Center Critique: What does post-process offer writing teachers?
Next steps: What do writing tutors need to know? Pretextual stage Textual stage Posttextual stage