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.