Revolution Lullabye

February 8, 2009

Mutnick, On the Academic Margins

Mutnick, Deborah. “On the Academic Margins: Basic Writing Pedagogy.” 183-202.

How to teach and understand basic writers has developed from studying them through their errors (Shaugnessy), to in-depth cognitive research to understand how their thinking and writing practices, to finally seeing them in the larger political and social context, analyzing how they learn to appropriate and use academic language, and how academic language affects their home language and culture. Basic writing pedagogy is interested in how students from diverse cultures and backgrounds come into and work in the university, the relationship between language and meaning, linguistic theories of error, and the writing and learning processes of adults. New pushes in basic writing pedagogy include mainstreaming basic writers in “regular” first-year composition classrooms and developing competency requirements that aren’t tied to a particular university course.

Notable Notes

First forays: Mina Shaughnessy – CUNY Open Admissions; Horner “Discoursing Basic Writing”

Cognitive process studies: Perl “Unskilled”; Sommers; Lunsford “What We Know” – showed problems in analysis and synthesis

Social and rhetorical theories: Bartholomae Facts, Artifacts, and Counterfacts and “Inventing”; Gilyard Voices of the Self; Students’ Right to Their Own Language; Bizzell biculturalism; Tom Fox “Standards and Access”; Alice Horning “Teaching Writing as a Second Lanuage”

students on the social margins change through education but must develop their own consciousness, the new discourses they learn affect their home ones. Basic writing courses can transform the students, teachers, administration, and institutions

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Hobson, Writing Center Pedagogy

Hobson, Eric H. “Writing Center Pedagogy.” 165-182.

The writing center provides a space and a place for a unique pedagogical experience that cannot be replicated in the writing classroom: it is an individualized, collaborative learning relationship between student and tutor that can last beyond one semester and does not have to worry about a final evaluative grade. The early writing centers were considered labs designed to handle remedial students and non-native students – those students that no one knew how to “deal with” in the writing classroom – but has since transformed to a university-wide service that is often on the forefront of instructional technologies and collaborative principles. Writing center pedagogy is based in social constructivist theories, and the one-on-one peer tutoring relationship emphasizes how knowledge and learning emerges out of soical relationships.

Notable Notes

foreground individual development and goals, not grades

institutional space and place of the writing center: physical location, where it is administered from, how it is staffed and administered

OWL online writing lab; Hobson “Wiring the Writing Center”

Stephen North “The Idea of a Writing Center”; Kinkead/Harris, Writing Centers in Context: Twelve Case Studies; Petit, “What Do We Talk About;” Ede, Hemmeter, Hobson, “Maintaining Our Balance”; Bruffee “Peer Tutoring”; Harris “Talking in the Middle”; Ede “Writing as a Social Process”; Gillam “Writing Center Ecology”; Lunsford “Collaboration”; Murphy, Law, and Sherword; Wallace/Simpson; Murray; Harris “Teaching One-to-One”; Clark, “Writing in the Center”

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