Week 9a (*10*)

(I numbered the weeks in a weird way above ^^^ because WordPress does this stupid thing of putting 10 after 1 instead of 9, as if it’s a word rather than a number. And I want the current week to continue appearing always at the end of the list, so I’ll keep numbering them this way as the weeks go on.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about our discussion last week, and there are a few threads that I want to make sure we keep open as we also venture into new subjects every week.

Among them, I want to note three. And I’m going to describe the lingering questions I think we need to discuss surrounding them, so you can think about your questions/concerns, too, and raise them as you like, either here or when we meet:

  • Faculty absences: What are the policies, procedures, and best practices for faculty who need to miss a class, or who anticipating missing one– or more than one?
  • Faculty ability/disability (this question is latent in the first): As students sometimes need “accommodations,” faculty do as well, but how does that work– through what processes, with what kinds of expectations on all sides?
  • Observations: What role do observations serve in the department/college/GC, and what can we all do to make them as beneficial as they can be? (We only talked about this briefly, so I’m really not sure whether I’m describing the question correctly.)

To ground our discussion in the institutional context at QC/CUNY, I just want to point you toward a few documents with relevant info.

Here’s the statement on absences from The Other Side of the Desk:

If you have to miss class, please notify someone in the English department office and the directors of First Year Writing. If you have to miss more than one class over the course of the semester, please make arrangements to have someone substitute for you and make sure you notify someone in the First Year Writing Program.

I understand that this statement may raise as many questions as it answers, and we can discuss your questions when we meet. Also note this policy that governs our sick leave thanks to the union. And here’s some more information about the observations from the Adjunct Project and the union, too.

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And. As we talk about these ^^^ subjects that can become sensitive for some if not all of us (I think it might be all?) sooner or later, I also want to make sure that we keep coming back to the questions that are pressing for you, and to ask: How can we use this week’s readings become better teachers for our students, individually and together, today and in the long term? 

I am interested to know where your attention rests in these readings, so I’m not going to say too much.

Just that there are some ideas in these texts that have helped me a lot in my research, and I have enjoyed putting some thought into the concept of “the reading class.”

And I always love the work of my friend and colleague, Amy Wan. I wonder how you see her article resonating with the work we’re doing at QC.

There and elsewhere: What passages should we discuss, and what do you think?

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Also: GRADING.

We didn’t even get to the 2 essays and the poem last week. We must do that this week. I would also love to know the grading questions that are on your mind, as you go. If it’s helpful, you could use your blog post to formulate those, too.

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One more thing: I have left time in the final weeks of the calendar to address the pedagogical questions/concerns/enthusiasms that feel the most urgent to us as a group. So, think about it! How should we use this time?

We could have a visitor come talk to us about the offices we work with elsewhere in the college– it could be a librarian, maybe, or Marco Navarro at the Writing Center, or somebody from Student Affairs, or whatever you think would be illuminating for you.

Or we could do some model teaching— practicing on each other things that we will also do in the classroom.

Or we could do workshops, which would give you more nuts-and-bolts practice with things like designing lesson plans, writing prompts, whatever you like.

Or there are a million other possibilities.

THINK ABOUT IT and get ready to convince the rest of us to spend our time together the way you like.

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12 Responses to Week 9a (*10*)

  1. Caleb Fridell says:

    Where my attention rests: global capital. Amy Wan’s article offers a useful historical view of the way in which rhetoric and composition has been politically justified: “often based on that same assumption of contributing to a public,” the presentation of the work rests on “a belief that rhetorical education helps produce citizens” (1, 2). “If post-World War II higher education rhetoric invoked a national public in order to expand higher education,” as Wan writes in her analysis of the Truman Report, “then the global public of today further expands the reach of US higher education and further complicates the ways the institution constructs the public is serves” (13). So, “the institutional goal of producing citizens is now placed in a global context, positioning higher education as a globalized public good, alongside the traditional one oriented around national citizenship,” while retaining, in outward-facing language, “the same values of democracy, citizenship and access articulated in the Truman report” (14). Wan’s purpose in the paper is to note the ways in which these lofty sentiments don’t correspond to university life (“we stumble when we move from ideas and research to policy and practices”––22); two small moments in her article particularly struck me. First is the observation, citing David O. Levine, that the mid-century expansion of enrollment necessarily “connected higher education to market needs” as a degree became “a kind of certification for more prestigious (read: white collar) vocations” in concert with the “belief that higher education was a goal that all individuals could and should meet in order to gain economic success and stability” (7). In other words, ‘producing citizens’ went hand-in-glove with ‘training for the workforce.’ The second moment is near the end, when Wan reminds us that, in light of the history of writing’s close relation to “historical and institutional inequality,” we are “obligated to think about those who are transnational at our own institutions, who have migrated to the United States and are in our classrooms for reasons that are tied to the circulation of global capital” (27).

    The question these observations raise for me: Can we reclaim the Truman-report language of the ‘producing the democratic citizen’ as an accurate description of what we are doing in whatever small way as composition instructors, or even of what we ought to be doing? Wan writes that in institutional discussions, “the global citizen is a US citizen, usually white, always figured as affluent, who will be engaged in a global public that is oriented, whether in the spheres of business or service, toward individualized engagement that will enrich the student” (15). But it seems to me that this non-universality is inherent in the contradictory idea itself of the ‘citizen.’ As Etienne Balibar argues in “Propositions on Citizenship” (1988), the idea of the citizen cannot be thought in isolation, but only as bound to a state with some principle of public sovereignty, which is to say a state that allows citizens to exercise their political rights by participating in political decisions. In this granting of political rights, there is a “contradiction between the formal autonomy and the actual subjection of the worker-proletariat” (724). Further, binding citizenship to the state makes an inseparable equation between citizenship and nationality, so that the decision-making by citizens for the public good refers only to a collectivity defined by national interests. Nationality must define itself as an essential relation of a people to a land, yet in every modern nation there live non-citizens; therefore citizenship must also be defined in relation to these internal frontiers separating disenfranchised minorities. To be a ‘citizen,’ more than being born or living within the borders of a nation, one must be recognized as being authentically of the nation. At the same time, there has been an accelerating “financial and even legal internationalization of economies and centers of political decision making” (729). These supra-national, so supra-political structures are unaccountable to democratic will, yet greatly shape those ‘collectivities’ for which the citizen is nominally responsible. “As a matter of fact,” Balibar writes, “the ‘ruling class’ of modern society, with its internal hierarchies, is multilingual, multicultural, and migratory. It studies at Harvard, works in the airplane or with transnational data banks, and spends its vacations between Morocco and the Seychelles. The national passport has changed its meaning (at least for the dominant nationalities); it no longer expresses (except no doubt in the United States) allegiance to an autonomous power but, rather, a conditional right of access to the ‘cosmopolis’ of communications and modern financial transactions” (729).

    Global capital is multilingual, or ‘translingual,’ as was colonial administration, part of the lasting imperial project that imposed the English language as the lingua franca of the globe and the cost of doing business. (I think this ought to trouble Theresa Lillis and Mary Jane Curry’s argument, too.) On the other side are those who will never be allowed to be ‘global citizens’: those suffering through what we call the ‘refugee crisis,’ denied free movement on the basis of their nationality, on their not possessing the documents of citizenship. I note all this only to suggest that borrowing the illusory democratic appeals in the Truman report might lead to a similar self-delusion in academics. We are asked to constantly justify our work to indifferent administrations and their instrumentalization of ‘the public,’ to market ourselves to the neoliberal university as path-breaking revolutionaries, and it seems to me there is some danger in believing in those self-justifications; in believing that to speak of our own work, the texts we analyze, with the patina of radical language means, mutatis mutandis, to charge our own activity with political, social purpose. Maybe this is only my own preoccupation. I’m sorry, in any case, for this length.

  2. Elaine Housseas says:

    I first want to comment on some of the phrasing I found problematic in the two policies we were provided to look over for this week. In the Notice of Non-discrimination, the phrase “genetic information” following disability slightly discomforting. I know we discussed in class last week, the debate in disability studies regarding the social model of disability vs. the biomedical model of impairment. As I shared in class, I have an issue with a pure social constructionist approach to disability, beliving it doesn’t consider the lived experience and embodiment of impairment/illness/conditions/sickeness/etc. However, I don’t think this term that follows directly after disability is a successful way of negotiating the lived experience of impaired/ill/sick/etc individuals. By using the term genetic, it feels as though a negative label is being put on an individual and their family. I don’t know how I’d amend this, but I do think it is troubling and very diagnostic. Next, I’ve always had issues with the phrase “sexual misconduct”, believing this connotes a feeling of subjective judgment. What one considers sexual misconduct, another may not and this just becomes a very dangerous gray area that may be harmful to an individual. I may not be wording this correctly, but this is why I’m not a policy maker. Lastly, the phrase “reasonable accommodations and academic adjustments” screamed out to me as if often does. Rather than consider alternative methods of education or pedagogy, we have “academic adjustments” and accommodations. Then, I once again run into the brick wall that is the judgement reasonable. Who or what decides what is reasonable? Is it one individual, an office, a medical professional, an educator, a lawyer, a college president, or a budget?
    As you all know, the second document is something that is very relevant to me in this moment. There was some phrasing here I found blaringly alarming. First, the term depression should not be under distress signals. This is a medical, diagnostic term. We as educators, who do not have the expertise nor place to make such judgments. This kind of usage is responsible for the underrating, disregard, and lack of respect the condition depression receives within our society. Also, putting normal in quotation doesn’t make it better. Second, I believe drug and alcohol abuse is a condition or action that should be judged by a professional not myself. I understand wanting me to perhaps take not of alcohol and drug use. However, what happens when a student’s medication leads to symptoms that mirror those of prohibited drugs? A student may not disclose certain conditions they have or certain medications they are using. I guess it is our responsibility to intervene in this situation, and talk to the student and see whether they choose to confide in us if these are the circumstances. Next, this policy made me take note of something I overlooked before reading this. In the section Violence and Aggression, they mention student writing. The student I’ve been speaking about this whole semester submitted a freewrite that was violent; however, I just thought this was just an example of creative writing. My student has shared she very much enjoys playing violent video games, and one of the themes of the text we were reading and discussing (The Tempest) was violence. I overlooked it, noting is a creative expression. Now, this is making me wonder: should I? Or, is this policy making me think too deeply about something I was right to skip over in the first place? Lastly in regards to the Distress Signals section, I find most of these signals are visuals and that concerns me. What if I don’t notice things I should? I’m always scared that my lack of observance will lead to me not observing something I should. As my experience and the policy says, all I can do is listen and hope they will come to me. The last thing I will mention is the part stating signs you are overextending yourself. For me, this has negative connotations. The signs they list as overextensions, are signs I define as empathy or care. In regards to the student I’ve been working with all semester, I do find myself relating my own experience of being a disabled student, I do find myself stressed out, and I do find at times I get angry out of frustration that I can’t get through or communicate successfully with her. This to me is not overextension; I do not want to “adopt her”, but I can’t forget about her when I close my classroom door.

  3. Amy Wan’s article was a very interesting read with thorough historical documentation. It was also interesting to find out that already in 1956 educators were concerned about how foreign students could be taught in regular Freshman courses (13). I didn’t think that this kind of idea would be even broached until the more liberal times of the 1970s. Wan’s ideas to solve the issues “by finding ways to reform institutional barriers, like financial aid, teacher training, placement policies, course sequences, and other policy issues that strive to be blind to linguistic diversity in the service of a standard of monolingualism [and by using ] globalism as part of the argument to administrators in order to create an ethical imperative to address language diversity and to direct resources toward implementing these policies,” (24) is, I believe the best argument. And Wan’s specific idea to create two categories of “international students and domestic multilingual students—in order to contribute to a global experience for all students,” (26) is the most specific idea that should be put into practice. Has this been implemented anywhere yet and if so, how exactly?
    I couldn’t agree more with Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis’ article “The Dangers of English as Lingua Franca of Journals.” English became the Lingua Franca in the same vein that the dollar became the currency in 1944 as agreed by World War II Allied Nations (with currently almost 40 percent of the world’s debt is issued in dollars) after Europe, Japan, China, Korea and the Soviet Union laid in shambles. Smacking of financial imperialism the dollar’s power continued English as the language of finance (whereas officially French is the language of diplomacy). In terms of academia, I personally know several foreign speaking scholars who have to pay for translations of their conference papers, journal articles, and book reviews so as to just be able to submit these to conferences and academic journals (and then pay again if accepted to journals that each have their own formats to follow and editing changes). Many of the scholars have themselves spent their time, money, and energy obtaining their Phds in the United States but still need help with writing in English because it is not their first language. This seems to me to be some sort of language discrimination.
    Regarding grading, I was curious as to what others thought about how grading a really good paper first might influence the rest of the pack of papers on our desks, or vice-versa. I found myself grading one paper and giving it a good grade then reading a much better paper (eight papers later) and realizing that I should go back to that first one and re-reading to see whether it actually deserves that good grade. In what order then would I next start grading the other essays with a bias toward the more advanced writer first or the least advanced?

  4. Kate Bryant says:

    I found it useful to read Amy Wan’s article this week, both for the ways that it resumes a conversation we began at the beginning of the semester about multi and translingualism, and for the way in which it contextualizes what we are doing– historically, politically, materially.
    She describes an idealized “legacy of access” that she traces to the Truman report, along with the attendant limitations and complications that were always inherent in the goals articulated by this report. And then it was useful in furthering my own theoretical and practical thinking about the issues she raises.
    I was struck by a few passages in her article, especially because, though she is speaking generally about public institutions, she is referencing Queens College in particular. She says,“What is disturbing about the situation at my own institution is that even in a place where linguistic diversity is the norm, with linguistic diversity rising everywhere we in higher education are failing these students quite miserably…and failing them while simultaneously touting the importance of global citizenship and diversity” (25).

    This is basically how I feel when it comes to several of the multilingual students in my classroom. As best as I can tell, this feeling, and experience, has to do with a lot of these specifics Wan names, and I’m going to quote at length:
    “A complex web of financial aid, placement, program and curriculum design, even class size limitations, channels students into different categories, eventually deeming some to be “proficient” enough to be part of the general population, often without support systems in place for students once they are past the initial writing sequences. Compounding these issues of attrition and retention are other structural issues including teacher and tutor training, professional development for a mostly contingent faculty, the ways existing student support systems are or aren’t trained to address emergent bilinguals, and the ways curriculum can actually segregate or integrate linguistic diversity. (20-21)
    Perhaps in other semesters these students of mine might have been placed into the preparatory classes that precede our class (though my understanding is that those classes aren’t treated the same when it comes to receipt of financial aid) instead of into a section of 110. Perhaps if I had a frame of reference based on experience I might have known if, when, and how to intervene early on to suggest that they switch into those classes. Perhaps they would not have been open to that, as is their prerogative, and we’d be here anyway, where I still have no experience designing lesson plans in general, let alone ones that can effectively “integrate linguistic diversity.” Perhaps as Wan notes, these students have taken placement tests that do not necessarily measure proficiency, and have resolved to take “required writing classes with default English-only approaches, often repeating these courses until earning a passing grade” (20). Or perhaps they’re right where they should be– both of them are capable writers– and the difficulties are in communicating assignments and the limitations of the classroom. I have no idea, I just know that it feels frustrating not to know, and to suspect that they may be frustrated (or overwhelmed) as well, although of course it’s also possible that I’m projecting.
    To make this clearer, I have one student who turned in her final draft of the first essay, but nothing else, and has basically stopped coming to class and attempting to engage with any of the work. And I have another student that has been at every class, and submitted a final draft and a formal draft with large chunks of text drawn from other sources, and (I think) summaries of unrelated articles. I wrote to tell him non-punitively but clearly that he’ll have to find a new strategy. Then I have several other students, both multilingual and not (as far as I know) who have diverse linguistic strategies that I don’t necessarily know how to engage.
    Then there’s the fact that, as Wan notes, “The faults in the Truman report are ones that mirror the complications we see today—a desire to support individual achievement rather than the larger system of inequality at work that includes the economy, legal structures, and politics” (23).
    I could keep going, since there’s so much more there, and also ways to connect this to Mad at School, which I’m catching up on. But I just wanted to bring this back to the classroom explicitly, since that’s where the policies are enacted, and that’s where I’m trying to figure how to plan, and how to be.
    Relatedly, and with an eye towards the time at the end of the semester, I think it would be very helpful to have more guidance on how to plan lessons. Some activities and ways of structuring class periods must obviously work better, and some must also be more inclusive of a wider range of students, but I don’t necessarily know what those are.

    I also have a question about grading. I had been grading/commenting all of my students work and then sending it back all at once, because that seemed fairer, especially for earlier drafts. But I also find it stressful, as I’m still trying to figure out how to complete these quickly. Then I had a conversation with someone who said they never expected to get work back at the same time as classmates when they were in college. What’s the deal?

  5. In Amy Wan’s article, she discusses global citizenry and the proclamation our college, like many others, makes for inclusion. However, multilingual students are often marginalized or viewed as a problem rather than to adding to the possibility of engagement with someone who might enrich the college experience, as is the case in the Curry and Lillis article on scholarship. As Wan notes, however, “multilingualism is more common than monolingualism” (25). Speaking more than one language is not outside the norm. Despite the university politics and “points of exclusion operate at both the university-wide policy level and at the level of student experience,” (19) I am at least encouraged that the First Year Writing Program is aware of the obstructions students encounter and of the possibility of making the change at the point where do have agency. “We can despair about our lack of agency and power in the globalized economy or even at our own institution, but we should also remember that, to students and to faculty in the first-year writing program, we have the power, however modest it might seem” (25). I think the question we must constantly ask ourselves is how and what do we implement in our own classrooms to remove those obstructions for my students on a practical level?

    The statement on student intervention is one of those documents that I’ve read since I began teaching in which, as I read, my eyes widen and my stress level increases. The gray areas concern me. I’m not sure where my responsibility lies, and like Elaine, my concern for my students doesn’t go away because I close the door to the classroom or leave the campus. However, I also don’t want to overstep my bounds or be deficient in my reaction in a way that negatively affects that student or other students. Again, the how and when question.

    On grading, I would like to know the practices others have implemented in their own grading. Our conversations always spark ideas, so I welcome anything I can glean from Gloria and others on how to make it an efficient and fair process.

  6. Tyler says:

    I have a bunch of questions. I wondered about some of the premises of the Wan piece. One example: contained within the Higher Education for American Democracy report is “the explicit connection between the nation’s social engine and the achievement of a just and democratic society by growing higher education into a public good.” This is simply the author’s attempt to rephrase the language of the report itself, but I have to wonder about the author’s interpretation of a “democratic society” and how the creation of community colleges can be seen as enabling or propagating such a noble – maybe ethereal – entity.

    Does a federal suggestion of the expansion of higher education promote democracy? Equality? How? What is democracy, here? What was this report a response to, and what does “democracy” mean in the context of its pages? How similarly might this word have been used in the Truman years (amid growing concerns of a radicalizing left, for one thing) as it is used today – to incite warm feelings of exceptionalism, jingoism, etc.? Higher Education for American Democracy was commissioned in 1946, followed by the Truman Doctrine in 1947. When you’re in the business of convincing the world you create superior citizens, global interventionism feels like a welcome inevitability.

    I bring this up not to avoid Wan’s discussion of making education “global” – and the phrase “global citizen” is truly everywhere present and everywhere undefined – but to question the function of buzz words as beliefs. For example: did the advocation for the creation of community colleges not have in mind the cementing of hierarchies (as opposed to shattering them)? In what naively imagined future did the power of an Ivy League education even remotely fade in the wake of the suddenly accessible associate degree? And today: who are these global citizens we intend to create? For the purpose of which (and what kind of) society? And what does this actually mean in the practical contexts of our individual classrooms – what kinds of answers would we give if forced to address the vagueness of this kind of language?

  7. Jacqueline says:

    Part of what these readings get me thinking about is the range of ways that monolingualism has been enforced in this country since colonization. A lot has gone into the façade of the US as a monolingual country when the reality has always been very much linguistically diverse. Undoing that systemic falsehood must be addressed from its many sides in order for there to be any hope of changing language ideologies in US culture. If languages other than English are not openly represented in less segregated ways, in both written and spoken form, in society at large (the classroom from an early age, music, mainstream as well as independent media, etc.), how can the university classroom and university policies and curriculum challenge notions so deeply ingrained about language hierarchies, for both mono- and multi- lingual students? In my research, I constantly come up against the fact that multilingualism as a lived reality is not valued in larger US culture for any other reason than its ability to facilitate business relations globally. So, it’s terrifying to think that what is implemented in US higher education has ramifications the world over, which is one of the implications raised in Mary Jane Curry’s essay. As Caleb mentions, the impact of global capital should be a part of that conversation. But I must admit that acknowledgment makes me fearful that English will not only continue to wipe out other languages, but will also continue to homogenize and anglicize other languages as it becomes more and more necessary to use English in the workplace the world over.

    I was interested in Wan’s criticism of the term “translingual.” It seems like it runs a similar risk that Elaine brings up in the biological versus social argument about disability (and the WTF is going on with queer theory question we brought up in class last week). If we acknowledge that all speakers of languages, whether monolingual or multilingual, are to some extent “translingual,” what risk do we run in overshadowing the real and pressing needs of multilingual students across a spectrum of knowledges of English and their other languages?

    Wan points to a desire to ethically educate multilingual students and I’m wondering about those ethics and how it might be possible to work within the troubling framework we are dealt. This question inevitably points back to larger societal issues of language ideologies, where multilingualism is either seen as too high brow or too low class. Perhaps that is a crude way of putting it, but the same typified subject that Wan discusses, the global citizen who is “a US citizen, usually white, always figured as affluent” (15) is taught implicitly and explicitly through many means, including education, the media, etc., that not only is it of little value to pursue learning a second language for their future careers as democratic citizens, but that it is only a skill which comes easily to a select few. There’s a lot more to say on that, hopefully we can discuss tomorrow.

    Like Kate and others, I’m wondering how to combat what Wan critiques in my classes. One simple but hopefully not insignificant way that I hope to be broadening the conversation is by drawing attention to how US-centric and how-stuck-in-English a lot of the readings are, which has created opportunities for discussion. I would be interested in the future to incorporate texts that are translations in order to bring a conversation of linguistic diversity into the classroom more directly. I am planning to take the questions of multi-/trans-lingualism in the writing classroom further for my seminar paper.

    I also would love to discuss lesson planning and grading more in depth. While there is definitely a core set of priorities that I’m keeping in mind as I grade (and I’m keeping my eye on the rubric), I find that the kind of feedback I give is so dependent on each paper. Of course, that’s to be expected to a certain degree, but I would like to consider ways of streamlining my feedback and the practice of grading. Looking forward to tomorrow’s discussion!

  8. Weiheng Sun says:

    Curry and Lillis’s article discusses the issue of English as a lingua franca in a scholar community. This concern is mostly on research. I’m not sure how this relates to the teaching and pedagogy, perhaps as Rachel spoke about how “multilingual students are often marginalized or viewed as a problem rather than to adding to the possibility of engagement with someone who might enrich the college experience, as is the case in the Curry and Lillis article on scholarship.” As an undergrad student in China with the major of translation, I noticed that in other departments, history, philosophy, social sciences, there are many professors who would reach out to our students and ask them to do translations for their scholarly essays with certain payment. Scholars have much pressure to publish journals/articles in English in influential magazines, especially in big universities, which is closely relating to their promotion, salary, etc. I’m wondering how to balance the relation between teaching and research under such circumstance.
    Griswold, McDonnell, and Wright wrote about reading and reading class in the 21st century, in which they mention that Internet as an electronic media and how it interacts with reading. As this article was published in 2005, I’m wondering to what extent this change has influenced our way of reading after thirteen years. Many students work and read articles in front of the screen, sometimes in the class. What are the pros and cons of such habit? Should I ask them to print out all the materials?
    I feel the most challenging part is grading. I spent four whole days reading, commenting and grading my students’ first essays. It was exhausting. I wrote comments of five hundred words on average for each student. How can I do it more efficiently and at the same time benefit my student most?

  9. Woo Ree Heor says:

    Curry and Lillis article touches on a circumstance that I am extremely familiar with as a Non-native scholar of English literature; English and English academic practices being de facto the standard system for scholars worldwide, perhaps more so for some fields compared to others. I think we can also review critically the particular significance “American” higher education system has in international academic scene, specifically about how the system and practices of US universities are often considered the norm globally (compared to, say, other English-speaking countries). Of course, this goes hand in hand with the linguistic hegemony of English, but it would be interesting to see how the ramifications of American higher ed model becoming acceptable/desirable is understood in this line of thought.

    In terms of grading, I am having some difficulty trying to translate things into “points.” We are not exactly doing exams in which objective (more or less) scores can be translated into grades, so I am aware that our gradings of student essays would require a different grading scale. However, both instructors and students keep referring to the “points” that can be earned or taken off, which is something I am doing as well without much thinking. Few weeks earlier, I asked Amy about how many “points” an extra credit assignment can contribute to the overall grade, during which process I realized that I have no idea how numerical scales like points or scores work not just in terms of essay grading, but also for things like participation. For instance, I’m wondering whether people are calculating grades on a 1-100 scale? Would it mean that a given number of “flaws” (I don’t like to use this word, but in terms of grading we sometimes treat certain elements like this) in an essay or a given number of missed homeworks would translate to objective numerical points lost?

  10. Farrah Goff says:

    Again having read the “How to Deal with Difficult And/Or Disruptive Students” guidelines I am struck by a multitude of different thoughts. On the one hand, I find even the title of this alarming. I am wondering about the students who are not “difficult” or “disruptive” what about instead the good student, the student who always turns in their work on time, but express clear anxious behavior or even borderline obsession with achieving perfection on all of their assignments. I am also concerned because the pamphlet does not make even a slight mention of noticing self injurious behavior. I am curious if this is an oversight or a blatant disregard for a behavior often exhibited by distressed students. Beyond these concerns, I move towards my own reflections on the possibility for being “over interventionist”. I logically understand there is a difficult line we as educators of freshmen students (the first line, in small classrooms, with students who are experiencing what may be a difficult transition) walk a fine line. However, I am concerned that over interventionist actions may be detrimental to students. I am not sure the best way to address this, but it is something I have been thinking about.

    Moving on to Wan’s article, which I myself and several of my classmates expressed a great deal of interest in, I was once again transported back to those very early readings regarding translingual approaches to teaching. Wan performs an interesting task of getting to the “behind” or the political nature that colors or perhaps sparks those earlier conversations. Wan writes “this essay analyzes the policies that have guided two narratives for higher education — the tradition of access and the current moment of globalized expansion. Their convergence underscores how core assumptions about access and engagement with the public are complicated by writing program policies that respond to the growing multilingualism of students; these policies are created and practiced within the context of a history of monolingualism, standardization, and other language equity issues, institutional policies that value a strictly defined (white, Western and English-speaking) global student and citizen, and public policies that shape the force of institutional power” (3). Essentially, she breaks down the different aspects of her article First, the narratives behind higher education, usually colored by ease of access (or privilege) and how a global moment (the GI Bill) redistributed or changed these narratives. Moving beyond this change is how it affects writing programs in colleges and how these writing programs adapt to an inclusive approach beyond monolingualism and the vision of the “stereotypical college freshman.” What I am seeing from my peers is the desire to encourage and respect multilingualism in the classroom, but also where to determine the line is. The question of when comprehension is lost or the inability to write at the necessary level would suggest placement in a different class? How do we encourage our students to do their best in a system that perhaps is designed with them failing (in the sense that financial aid is not offered on the intro to writing course that would precede English 110 and therefore students are discouraged from taking it)? It seems as always these readings and lessons encourage more questions than answers offered.

  11. Zeli says:

    After the succession of graphs and data with respect to the demographics of readers and the kinds of reading performed by the public, it was nice to arrive at this passage where the writers of “Reading and the Reading Class in the Twenty First Century” address the blurred binaries in a “practice oriented” approach to reading. “…This practice-oriented approach to reading has changed the way we think about the relationship between reading and other media use. Instead of dividing time into a pie chart, a fat slice to watching television, a thin slice to reading,scholars think of media as interwoven with one another and within the context of living our lives”(135). I found this passage particularly comforting because it seemed to be one of the more explicit moments in this essay that highlighted reading as an active practice that can belong to a multiplicity of engagements.

    It seems fair to say that english 210 is as much oriented toward reading as it is toward writing, if not more so. The capacity to read rigorously and generously, after all, leads to more engaged peer feedback. With respect to the aforementioned passage, it interesting to keep in mind the plethora of reading histories that are constantly present in the room. It seems to absolutely shape the way students view narrative, and what the believe in, in terms of the potential for language to shape a story or poem. Certainly too, their reading histories shape the way they grapple with other student work. I hope that I am facilitating a space that is accomodious to convergent and various reading histories & predilections. One of the perks of teaching english 210 is that I kind of get to center my own reading practice r.e. The syllabus schedule of assigned readings. This being said, I have definitely felt myself altering the reading load and making intuitive judgements with response to my class. I’ve changed some readings and detracted some readings. Sometimes I feel like a disheveled mess in this pursuit (though I perform myself otherwise–), but I hope this altering of the syllabus favors this kind of attention to my students own reading interests.

    I am also interested in how our readings & conversations about multilingualism in the writing classroom fit with how we do or don’t address reading practices. Mary Jane Curry and Theresa Lillis touch on the danger of an english lingua franca of academic writing in their piece. They speak about the localisms that get lost in the pursuit of a standard english as a default of publishing and prestige. I’m thinking about localisms and reading practices— how these multiplicitous specificities of writing, reading, and utterance are all braided together.

  12. saba says:

    In “Transitioning to global” Amy Wan draws a seamless history of access in US academia. Access, as initially described in Truman Report, starting off as a foundation for “education in democratic society”(6) is emphasized as central to education in post WWII United States: “the Commission recognized higher education’s growing role in the nation’s social engine and the necessity of explicit plans and national goals regarding structures of access in order to avoid replicating existing inequality” (8). Amy Wan examines these policies that eventually fall short of practicability towards a multilingual academia in face of an ever-changing “public”/ student body:” If a global public is truly the goal of the university, then institutions should have an interest in integrating international and other multilingual students in order for the community to gain the benefits of the presence of international students. “(18). Wan argues we still can “borrow from out inherited legacy of access and democracy alongside institutional goals of global citizenship to effectively and ethically teach and create policies for the changing face of public that universities serve” (22)

    Reading this article, once again I came to appreciate the very fact that I (as a non-native English speaker) have been hired to teach a creative writing course in Queens College. Teaching 210, which is a creative course I try to draw from my own experience in creative storytelling and writing in two different languages and across a few mediums, and I am very grateful that this potential was seen and tested, ending up in a very precious opportunity which I consider my most interesting and fruitful experience of teaching in the past 17 years.

    In Amy Wan’s article, re-defining “public” and discerning ways of multilingual inclusion ties in very well with Curry’s and Lilly’s “The Dangers of English as Lingua Franca of Journals”. It’s interesting to me, how these two articles speak of the same core issues pervasive throughout academic arena in a global scale. If we are to foster global citizenship and dialogue among our students, and we are standing up for inclusion of different Englishes, it would be true that eventually in an international sphere, we must seek the “benefit of individual scholars around the world, their research communities and their geopolitical contexts.”. The example of publishing a research of Hungarian history in English, seems bottomline sad and oppressive to me. As it’s stated in the article it would be great to focus on “what is lost in this focus on English.”.

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