Posts

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

Blogbook -- The Language Race War in the Literacy Classroom

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Entry 26 Whether we like it or not, whether we want to admit it or not, we are in a language race war. I know, that sounds awful, but I don’t know how else to put it. The way we use our language standards in literacy classrooms is one front -- a very important front --  in that language race war that we’ve been fighting for at least 150 years. This becomes most obvious when students of color are in large numbers in schools and colleges. When this happens, perceptions of falling or low literacy standards among students begin to circulate. One way to see this war is in the rising number of so-called “remedial” students. In gentler circles, we refer to these students as “underprepared.”  But we might ask ourselves what is the racialized nature of preparedness for our schools and colleges? Knowing our histories of schooling should tell you the answer: The nature of preparedness for school is gauged by a student’s proximity to and experience with Habits of White language (HOWL).  As an alt

What does a labor-based grading system afford you as a student and learner in a writing course?

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This is a series of blogposts  meant for students  who are in courses using grading contracts of some kind to determine their final course grades, or those who just want to understand better what grades are, what they do in classrooms, and how they effect learning. This is the  fifth  post in a series of five blogposts  meant to address questions about grading and grading contracts. If you're a teacher (or an inquisitive student), you might look at my  Labor-Based Grading Contracts Resources  page.  This series is a collaboration with the really awesome podcast,  Pedagogue   ( @_Pedagogue_ ) with Shane Wood. You can listen to  me reading this blogpost at Pedagogue , or use the widget below. But maybe you just want to read it on your own below, or follow along.  Pedagogue · Pedagogue & Infrequent Words: What Does a Labor-Based Grading System Afford You as a Student? *** Q5. What does a labor-based grading system afford you as a student and learner in a writing course? What