Posts

Blogbook -- A First Look at the Common Core State Standards

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Entry 30  Let me turn to the first of my two central examples, the CCSS and OS . Consider the first anchor standard in the CCSS ( CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.11-12.1 ) in Figure 8. It is the first standard in the “Language” group for all grades. It states, “Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking” ( note 193 ). This anchor standard is the larger standard for language learning that all students are supposed to meet or demonstrate, so it is the same for all grade levels, but it means something progressively different as one moves up grade levels. This is why it is called an anchor standard, but it really acts as an outcome in the way I described it in the last post ( entry 29 ). The anchor is broad in scope and is meant to be defined more specifically for each grade level. But what is this anchor standard actually measuring in student performances in classrooms? The anchor standard 11-12.1 assumes English language as a unified and un

Blogbook -- What's the Problem With Most Standards and Outcomes

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Entry 29 In the first half of this blogbook ( entries 1-28 ), I’ve offered a history and theory of racism that might be helpful to literacy teachers. In that theory, I discussed race as a concept and set of structures that have infiltrated every aspect of our lives and education, including language -- that is, how and why we talk to each other, and who we talk to. I ended that section of posts by offering twelve habits of antiracist teachers ( entry 22 ). I then provide a discussion of white language supremacy, what it is and how to confront it in our literacy and language classrooms. I ended this section by offering six habits of white language (HOWL) as a reflective heuristic ( entry 28 ). Now, I’d like to try to put this all into a kind of practice. That is, I’ll apply these ideas to something we all have contact with as teachers: literacy standards and outcomes.  One way to see the ways that racist discourse and white language supremacy in secondary schools and postsecondary educat

Toward Antiracist First-Year Composition Goals

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We are finally ready to offer the FYC goals statement that my colleagues and I worked on. If you are unfamiliar with the history of how this document came to be, you can read about it in my past blog posts on the subject:  "Why I Left The CWPA (Council of Writing Program Administrators)," Apr 18, 2021 "UPDATE -- CWPA Response to My Call for A Boycott," Apr 24, 2021 "First-Year Composition Goals Statement," Jun 11, 2021  Here's the full version of the goals statement. We hope it helps writing teachers and programs think through their own student learning goals with their students.  https://tinyurl.com/FYCGoalsStatement   peace  --- This blog is offered for free in order to engage language and literacy teachers of all levels in antiracist work and dialogue. The hope is that it will help raise enough money to do more substantial and ongoing antiracist work by funding the   Asao and Kelly Inoue Antiracist Teaching Endowment ,  housed at  Oregon State Un

Blogbook -- The Habits of White Language (HOWL)

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Entry 28 To really understand what White language supremacy is exactly, and how we might decenter and counter it in our classrooms, we have to understand what the habits of White language, or HOWL, are. Their use and circulation is an important aspect of White language supremacy. HOWL can be used as a heuristic to help students identify these habits and critique them as they decide what they wish to take on as their own habits of language.  All people have habits of language, ways of seeing, saying, and judging things, ideas, and other people. These habits afford our ways with words. They also, when understood from a thirty thousand foot view, constitute the dominant rhetorical moves that are considered appropriate or preferred in any given context. That is, when we pan back and look at the long view of history and the wide view of who controls language practices in schools, universities, professions, and disciplines, this long and wide view of language habits reveals that elite, White

Blogbook -- The White Supremacy of Grades in the Literacy Classroom

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Entry 27 If you’ve been listening carefully to this blogbook, you may have figured out that I understand the practice of grading literacy performances by a single standard as racist and White supremacist. In short, grading in the literacy and language classroom participates in White language supremacy if we use the dominant singular standards for language that the White supremacist system has given us. Unfortunately, those are usually all we have as teachers. That condition is on purpose.  Now, I’m not saying that your own habits of language that you’ve acquired as a teacher, and the expectations they provide you as a reader, are inherently racist, or that you can’t use your habits to read and respond to student writing. I’m saying how we typically use our habits of language in our classrooms as singular standards for grading is racist.  Please understand that what I’ve just said is NOT calling any teacher racist or White supremacist because they grade students’ writing. I don’t believ