Sociopolitical Contexts of Writing Instruction


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Sociopolitical Contexts of Writing Instruction

  1. 1. 1 ENGL 640: Sociopolitical Contexts of Writing Instruction Professor: Todd Ruecker Course Description: Over the past few decades, political decisions at the state and federal levels in the form of federal mandates like No Child Left Behind and the recent adoption of the Common Core have increasingly impacted writing instruction in K-12 English Arts classrooms. With encouragement of influential lobbying organizations, state and federal legislators are increasingly turning their attention to bringing an accountability system to colleges and universities. This class is based on the realization that what goes on in a writing class, whether in elementary school, high school, or college, is situated in a larger sociopolitical context. The course will begin with readings from selected critical theorists such as Bourdieu and Foucault in order to build a theoretical framework with which to approach the readings and discussions throughout the semester. We will then read and discuss research conducted by scholars in education and rhetoric and composition along with looking at government and foundation policy statements to gain a better understanding of how writing instruction in both the U.S. and abroad is situated in larger contexts and how we as educators may respond to these discourses. Alongside these readings, we will explore how broader societal factors such as poverty rates, access to health care, and immigration policies affect students’ abilities to be successful in writing classrooms. Course Readings: Since this is a doctoral seminar, the reading load will be demanding, averaging the equivalent of 4-5 academic articles weekly. Unless otherwise stated, all readings will be provided in electronic form. We will look at additional sources, such as news reports and U.S. Census data, not listed here. Required Books (I did not order these through the bookstore so expect to find them online): • Grenfell, M. (Ed.). (2008). Pierre Bourdieu: key concepts. Stocksfield: Acumen. • Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. Grading/Assignments: 20% - Participation: As this is a seminar, participation in weekly in class and online discussions is a vital component of the course. 20% - Weekly Responses: These 2+ page weekly assignments will ask you to synthesize and respond to the readings of the day, geared to preparing you to discuss them in class. 15% - Book Review: This will involving reading a book relevant to the course topic, targeting a specific journal that might publish this review, and write a 1000-1500 word
  2. 2. 2 review based on the expectations of your target journal. This should be submitted to the selected journal by the end of the semester. 15% - Policy Analysis: For this paper (6-10 pages), you will select some kind of state or national government policy, which may or may not be explicitly connected to education, and analyze its impact on students in writing classrooms at the K-12 or postsecondary level. 30% - Seminar Paper/Project Proposal: Outside of weekly readings, this will be the largest assignment of the semester. You’ll be expected to focus on a topic related to the course, producing a 15-20 page paper that approaches publishable quality. We’ll have smaller projects throughout the semester connected with this larger paper, such as an annotated bibliography. This will also include a presentation. Semester Schedule: • This schedule is tentative and subject to change. • Except for those from Grenfell and Foucault, all readings will be provided electronically. Also, I will be supplementing some of the readings here with online articles and websites. Week 1 – 1/23 Introduction to Course/Overview of Topic Bourdieu Casanave, C.P. (2003). Looking ahead to more sociopolitically-oriented case study research in L2 writing scholarship. Journal of Second Language Writing, 12, 85- 102. Grenfell, M. (Ed.). (2008). Pierre Bourdieu: key concepts. Stocksfield: Acumen – Chapter 1 Week 2 – 1/30 Bourdieu Read Grenfell Chapters 3, 4, 6 Read Bourdieu, P. (1977). Outline of a theory of practice. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. – Chapter 4 Week 3 – 2/6 K-12 Contexts Ambrosio, J. (2004). No Child Left Behind: The case of Roosevelt High School. The Phi Delta Kappan, 85(9), 709-712. Booher-Jennings, J. (2005). Below the bubble: “Educational Triage” and the Texas accountability system. American Educational Research Journal, 42(2), 231-268.
  3. 3. 3 Enright, K. A. & Gilliland, B. (2011). Multilingual writing in an age of accountability: From policy to practice in U.S. high school classrooms. Journal of Second Language Writing 20, 182-95. McCarthey, S.J. (2008). The impact of No Child Left Behind on teachers’ writing instruction. Written Communication, 25, 462-505. Lee, J. & Wong, K.K. (2004). The impact of accountability on racial and socioeconomic equity: Considering both school resources and achievement outcomes. American Educational Research Journal, 41(4), 797-832. Abedi, J. (2004). The no child left behind act and English language learners: Assessment and accountability issues. Educational Researcher, 33(1), 4-14. Week 4 – 2/13 Theory Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison. New York, NY: Pantheon Books. Week 5 – 2/20 K-12 Contexts Allison, H. (2009). High school academic literacy instruction and the transition to college writing. In M. Roberge, M. Siegal, & L. Harklau (Eds.), Generation 1.5 in college composition: Teaching academic writing to U.S. educated learners of ESL (pp. 75-90). New York, NY: Routledge. Common Core State Standards Initiative (2012). In the states. Retrieved from Goldstein, D. (2012). The schoolmaster. The Atlantic. Retrieved from Johnson, Kristine. 2013. “Beyond Standards: Disciplinary and National Perspectives on Habits of Mind.” College Composition and Communication 64(3): 517-541. Additional Websites (to be provided) Week 6 – 2/27 K-16 Transitions Kirst, M., & Venezia, A. (2001). Bridging the great divide between secondary schools and postsecondary education. The Phi Delta Kappan, 83(1), 92-97. Addison, J. & McGee, S. J. (2010). Writing in high school/Writing in college: Research trends and future directions. College Composition and Communication, 62(1), 147-179. Adler-Kassner, L. (2012a). The companies we week or the companies we would like to try to keep: strategies and tactics in challenging times. WPA: Writing Program Administration, 36(1), 119-140. Horn, L., Cataldi, E. F., & Sikora (2005). Waiting to attend college: Undergraduates who delay their postsecondary enrollment. Washington, D.C.: National Center for Education Statistics.
  4. 4. 4 Kurlaender, M. (2006). Choosing community college: Factors affecting Latino college choice. In C. L. Horn, S. M. Flores, & G. Orfield (Eds.), Latino educational opportunity (pp. 7-16). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Achieve (2013). The college- and career-ready agenda. Retrieved from Week 7 – 3/6 K-16 Transitions Harklau, L. & McClanahan, S. (2012). How Paola made it to college: A linguistic minority students’ unlikely success story. In Y. Kanno & L. Harklau (Eds.) Linguistic minority students go to college: Preparation, access, and persistence (pp. 74-90). New York, NY: Routledge. Astin, A. W. (1997). What matters in college: Four critical years revisited. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Lay, N. D. S., Carro, G., Tien, S., Niemann, T. C., & Leong, S. (1999). Connections: High school to college. In. L. Harklau, K. M. Losey, & M. Siegal (Eds.) Generation 1.5 meetscollege composition: Issues in the teaching of writing to U.S.-educated learners of ESL. (p. 175-190). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. Kanno, Y. & Varghese, M. M. (2010). Immigrant and refugee ESL students’ challenges to accessing four-year college education: From language policy to educational policy. Journal of Language, Identity & Education, 9(5), 310-328. Week 8 – 3/13 Postsecondary U.S. Department of Education (2006). A test of leadership: Charting the future of U.S. higher education. Washington, D.C. TYCA (2006). Guidelines for academic preparation of English faculty at two-year colleges. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 7-19. Myers, J. C. & Kircher, C. (2007). Teaching without license: Outsider perspectives on first-year writing. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 396-404. Olendzenski, M. (2008). CONNECT: Breaking down barriers in public higher education. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 186-190. Klausman, J. (2010). Not just a matter of fairness: Adjunct faculty and writing programs in two-year colleges. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 363-371. Sullivan, P. (2005). Cultural narratives about success and the material conditions of class at the community college. Teaching English in the Two-Year College, 142-160.
  5. 5. 5 Week 9 3/20 – Spring Break Week 10 – 3/27 – Away for conferences – online work Postsecondary **Policy Papers Due** [Selection TBA] Arum, R., & Roksa, J. (2011). Academically adrift: Limited learning on college campuses. University of Chicago Press. Friedman, T. L. (15 May 2012). Come the revolution. The New York Times. Retrieved from revolution.html Friedman, T. L. (26 Jan. 2013). Revolution hits the universities. The New York Times. Retrieved from revolution-hits-the-universities.html?_r=0 Horner, B., & Trimbur, J. (2002). English only and U.S. college composition. College Composition and Communication, 53(4), 594-630. Stuart, R. (2010). Influential Lumina Foundation drives higher education change, innovation. Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Retrieved from Powell, P. R. (2009). Retention and writing instruction: Implications for access and pedagogy. College Composition and Communication, 60(4), 664-682. Additional Websites (to be provided) Week 11 – 4/3 Students’ Extracurricular Lives Ishler, J. L. C. (2005). Today’s first-year students. In M. L. Upcraft, J. N. Gardner, & B. O. Barefoot (Eds.), Challenging and supporting the first-year student: A handbook for improving the first year of college (pp. 15-26). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Antrop-González, R., Vélez, W., & Garrett, T. (2008). Examining familial-based academic success factors in urban high school students: The case of Puerto Rican female high achievers. Marriage and Family Review, 43(1/2), 140-163. Torres, V. (2004). Familia influences on the identity development of Latino first-year students. Journal of College Student Development, 45(4), 457-469. Cabrera, A. F., Nora, A., & Castaneda, M. B. (1993). College persistence: Structural equations modeling test of an integrated model of student retention. The Journal of Higher Education 64(2), 123-29. Cabrera, A. F., Stampen, J. O., & Hansen, W. L. (1990). Exploring the effects of ability to pay on persistence in college. The Review of Higher Education 13(3), 303-336. Week 12 – 4/10 Students’ Extracurricular Lives **Book Review Drafts Due**
  6. 6. 6 [Selection] Hossler, D., Schmit, J., & Vesper, N. (1999). Going to college: how social, economic, and educational factors influence the decisions students make. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Ruecker, T. (forthcoming). Difficult but successful transitions. High School to College: The Journeys of Latinas and Latinos Writing Across Institutions. Logan: Utah State University Press. Sternglass, M. (1997). “Effects of complex social histories on academic performance.” Time to know them. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Wiley, D. & Wilson, D. (2009). Just say don’t know: Sexuality education in Texas public schools. Texas Freedom Network Education Fund. Retrieved December 19, 2011 from Week 13 – 4/17 Global Sociopolitical Contexts Cummins, J. (1997). Minority status and schooling in Canada. Anthropology & Education Quarterly, 28(3), 411-430. Kubota, R. (2001). Discursive construction of the images of US classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 35(1), 9-38. Al-Jarrah, R. S., & Al-Ahmad, S. (2013). Writing instruction in Jordan: Past, present, and future trends. System 41(1), 84-94. Cheng, L., Rogers, T., & Hu, H. (2004). ESL/EFL instructors’ classroom assessment practices: purposes, methods, and procedures. Language Testing, 21(3), 360-389. [Selection] You, X. (2010). Writing in the devil's tongue: A history of English composition in China. SIU Press. Week 14 – 4/24 Global Sociopolitical Contexts Norton, B., & Syed, Z.. (2003). TESOL in the Gulf: The sociocultural context of English language teaching in the Gulf. TESOL Quarterly, 37(2), 337-341. Muchiri, M.N., Mulamba, N.G., Myers, G., & Ndoli, D.B. (1995). Importing composition: teaching and researching academic writing beyond North America. College Composition and Communication, 46, 175-198. Reichelt, M. (2005). English-language writing instruction in Poland. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14, 215-232. Leki, I. (2001). Material, educational, and ideological challenges of teaching EFL writing at the turn of the century. IJES, International Journal of English Studies, 1(2), 197-209.
  7. 7. 7 Week 15 – 5/1 Course Review Porter, J.E., Sullivan, P., Blythe, S., Grabill, J. T., & Miles, L. (2000). Institutional critique: A rhetorical methodology for change. College Composition and Communication, 51(4), 610-642. Week 16 - 5/8 **Seminar Paper Drafts Due** **Presentations** Seminar papers and final book reviews to be submitted by the end of exam week.