Use this space to post whatever you wrote as your book club "journal"
I will share mine:
I’ve worked with this poem a lot for this very exercise for a lot of years. Students always think I know the answers. But I don’t. Each time I read the piece, If feel like I come away with a different idea. I feel like the speaker is a woman because woman have historically been the people who cook. And I feel like they are running--stream of conscious, the way you might talk inside your own head--running through a meal--perhaps it is the end of summer (she talks about eyelet, a fabric I associate exclusively with women and with summer), and there is a feast, and end to the summer. But there is a kind of sadness, a kind of nostalgia to the piece--I get this because I feel like that’s why she is always saying something is or isn’t. It’s trying to get at a feeling or a precise language aroudn what she is thinking thorough. I keep focusing in on that line “a rested development”. The idea of being rested, of being ready. The idea of a development--or something that has developed over time. That also feeds into this idea of nostalgia for something not necessarily lost but something passing, something done. A feast, a summer feast after a harvest could feel that way. I know some things about GS, and so I sometimes wonder if this is about the passing of a time of fertility. Food standing in for the production and care of something. Don’t know. Just thinking through. When I read the material on Stein, I think about the stuff about cubism--how this feels like a verbal kind of cubism--it makes a picture of something, but it can be difficult to determine what. It demands we look at each individual cube, and here I think her language does that. It forces us to read both the sentences that make sense and the ones that don’t. This for me makes it possible to imagine this as stream-of-consciousness, a review, perhaps while cooking, of a life, perhaps a life in middle age, which would correspond to an end of summer.
We started class together talking about your experiences as a student. And that's important. I can't say this enough times: we teach the way were taught and so it is important that we interrogate our student experience so that we are the best teachers we can be.
Now we are moving towards thinking about the culture for teachers in the US classroom. This is tougher because, for most of you, you've never been in the position of teacher--never had to talk to a parent, master new teaching technology, learn the curricula, design and implement lessons to teach that curricula, or suddenly move all of that to the zoom sphere because of a global pandemic. This asynchronous post is a snapshot of what the experience of the teacher is based on the very unscientific work of finding a bunch of mainstream articles on teaching.
For your asynchronous post today: Please summarize your two articles in 200-300 words. Be sure to identify the major issues as they related to teachers, teaching, and the classroom.
Once you've posted, respond to a colleague: Please identify another classmate who has an article that agrees with, contradicts, or expands/adds to the point your article is making. Respond to that person with the ways you see the article agreeing, contradicting, expanding/adding to your article. You have between 100 and 200 words to do this.
A NOTE: Why did I ask you to locate two articles? You probably know the answer. Any article written after March 2020 will be about teaching in the pandemic. Because that has dominated the classroom, it's important to capture that moment. However, it's not like everything was perfect before we all went online. And so it's important to capture other aspects of what it means to teaching in a classroom, which is why I asked you to locate an essay written before 2020.
REMEMBER: Asynchronous posts are due by Midnight tonight--so 11:59 PM on Thursday, 27 May 2021.
During our first class together, we looked at the iconic essay "Why Johnny Can't Write." Written in 1975, if came at a very particular cultural moment--the article calls it "the political activism of the past decade" by which the author means the civil rights movement. We tend to think of civil rights exclusively through the lens of race and racism--as we should, but we need also to think about it in terms of gender, class, and language, and immigration status.
1970 is an important moment in post-secondary education. The era of "Open Enrollment" began in the wake the Civil Rights movement. It demanded that colleges and universities make a college education available to a wider and wider segment of the population. As a result, the rules that governed how one should talk and write (a middle-class, white "habits" as the writer Asou Inoue calls it in a text we will read this semester), met up against students new to the university that challenged the value and effectiveness of this rules.
We can understand "Why Johnny Can't Write," in 1975, as a backlash to the kinds of pedagogies that were embraced as part of the work to include these students in the benefits of having a college education--which means, as well, that the article was also, at least in part, backlash against those students as well.
Situated this way, the article feels very different. Let us now turn to the "Why blank can't blank" articles you found.
For this post, please identify the following:
BE PREPARED: Once folks have posted and we have spent some time reading each other's posts, I am going to ask you to talk in small groups about what this says to you about literacy instruction today. You'll have some time to talk in small groups and then I will ask you to come back to class and share what you talked about.