We just can't get away from Comp/Rhet history. This week we read about Basic Writing, an overview and a critically important introduction from the remarkable Mina Shaughnessy from her text Errors & Expectations.
BASIC WRITING & MINA SHAUGHNESSY
Shaughnessy was a part of the movement at City University of New York that, in the years following open admissions, when new kinds of students (newly immigrated, working class and working poor, women, people of. color, adult learners, multilingual readers and writers) flooded the US college and university landscape.
While Shaughnessy has been critiqued, sometimes unfairly, for her focus on error, her humanity and humane approach that welcomed students into the classroom and made the effort to invite them into the wider literate world is never in question.
WHAT DO I MEAN BY "DEFICIT THINKING"
One of our earliest conversations in our class was about the ways we talk about writing and writers is bound by deficit thinking--in other words, the persistent belief, that has existed for seemingly ever in the US education landscape as traced by "why Johnny Can't" articles and the articles it spawned and continues to spawn, that students are bad writers rather than embracing the idea that writing is simply hard, takes time, requires reasons to do it, that "good writing" is, in many ways, a highly subjective idea.
And, of course, if we think about "bad student writers" it precipitates a whole bunch of assumptions: the student isn't very smart; they aren't trying; they don't pay attention; they don't care, etc.
WHAT TO POST: For this post, as the syllabus said I would ask: How do the theories, practices, ideologies that inform Basic Writing speak to the idea of deficit thinking about student writers. In what ways does Basic Writing champion student writers? In what ways does it potentially diminish their learning experience?
Post your response to this question. Take time to read the posts of your colleagues. Be prepared to discuss what you notice in our class discussion when we talk as a full class.