Showing posts from April 5, 2020

How Do You Do Labor-Based Grading In Pre-Existing Curricula?

As many universities go to pass/fail options in their courses to address the COVID-19 pandemic, this may be the perfect time to try out labor-based grading contracts safely. In one sense, our needs to dramatically rethink our classrooms and grading practices can give an opportunity to try the practice now, and allow our students to exercise extra patience with us, which many I'm sure are accustom to in these trying times. Your department chair, principal, or program director may be more willing to let you try the practice in times like these, since it can easily offer students some reduced stress in already stressful times. So, if you feel you can, and you think your students will benefit from your trying, I offer some ideas. What's Labor-Based Grading Contracts For those who may not know about labor-based grading contracts, let me offer a short explanation. If you know already, you can skip this section. While I'm about ready to abandon the term "contract"

A Response to Paul Beehler -- Part 3 of 3

This is part three of a three-part critique of Beehler's article. Read part 1 and part 2 if you want to catch up. What Towers Should We Build?  Photo from Thomas Hawk, Untitled.  In what I read as the heart of his article, Beehler explains why critical pedagogies that use code-meshing can be harmful to students. Vershawn A. Young (University of Waterloo) has done copious work on code-meshing. If you are less familiar with the concept, you can see an interview of him on the topic  from Kentucky PBS, when he was a professor at UK. Or you can check out his co-edited book, Other People's English . In short, code-meshing is the idea that we all already mesh various language codes all the time, and in the literacy classroom, it should be okay to do so. And in fact, the practice offers lots of opportunities for critical work, especially around interrogating dominant English standards. Beehler explains that “other languages and hybridized languages most certainly have a vit

A Response to Paul Beehler -- Part 2 of 3

This is the second of three connected posts. If you haven't, it will help to read the first post, "A Response to Paul Beehler -- Part 1 of 3."   Tricks of Diluted Language  I need to be straight here, but I also want to be compassionate. I think, Beehler means to do good teaching, to help all students. I do not fault him for that. I fault his arguments for what they lack. Beehler makes several arguments about teaching writing and language today that ignore the histories and politics of language and its judgement, and this makes his arguments white supremacist in their outcomes among diverse students in schools. Beehler claims that Theoretically speaking, a common, or standard, language can be the gateway through which all individuals can fully participate in society because participation occurs through the nexus of a common language, whichever that language may be , as Smitherman noted in her reflection of the 1960s and 1970s debates. (166, original emphasis)  He’

Is the Assessment of Language Colonialist?

Dr. David Kirkland My friend, David Kirkland  (@davidekirkland), who is the Executive Director of NYU Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools and Associate Professor of English and Urban Education at NYU offered me a great question recently on Twitter. David tweeted: "the concept of assessment is always racist, or at least emerges from a set of colonial logics." Then he asks his question, "Would anti-racist ideas hold onto the practice of assessment, or would they search for another paradigm for communicating lessons and praise?" I think, when David tweeted, he knew I'd agree with his premise about the origins of assessment (especially in schools), since we've talked about this subject when I invited him to speak at a previous institution of mine, the University of Washington, Tacoma, several years ago. What I really love about David and his scholarship is how quickly he gets to the core of a problem. Is all asse