References Discussing the Institutional Ideologies of Basic Writing Programs
Fox, Tom. “Ideologies of Access and Exclusion: Basic Writing and Cultural Conflict” Defending Access. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1999.
This chapter mainly demonstrates the problems inherent in a rigid structure of standard maintenance. When new literacies were given access to college campuses, standard were once again brought to the forefront, but, as this chapter illustrates, the convenient enactment of standards is really only the intrusion of the past onto the events of the present. While this chapter chooses to focus on the effects of cultural situations on African American students. This premise rests on the idea of enabling a negotiation of the minority of the complex culture of majority-dominated institutions. However, during its discussion of initiates, the chapter reads as if all marginalized students are forced to attain access to the complex culture of the university. One important point of emphasis in this chapter is the desire to convince students that they don’t need initiation, since they already are members of the community, which can enable a more democratically redefined university.
Rose, Mike. Lives on the Boundary. New York: Penguin, 1990.
This book offers what it considers to be the salient points regarding the use of, damage done by, and the possible ineptitudes of basic writing and tutoring programs in universities. Rose, though, does so through leaps of induction from the anecdotes he gathered during his time in the tutoring program at UCLA. Between his autobiographical ethnography and the details provided concerning actual students, his ethos is never a question. His conclusions offer insight into the problems associated with students who do not fit into the academic discourse as it is imagined by the professors of UCLA (and presumably around the country). For Rose, certain issues with writing are never as simple as dividing the students into literate and non-literate, and his analysis leads to an interesting conclusion. If we are to expect all students to enter college with these specific set of analytic skills and they are not getting these skills while in high school, then when, presumably, are these types of skills going to be taught to the students? This idea seems to be underlying point of all of the anecdotes and teaching moments he presents.
Shor, Ira. “Illegal Literacy.” Journal of Basic Writing 19.1 (Spring 2000): 100-112.
Shor offers a follow up to his previous statements concerning the state of basic writing on college campuses, deepening his distrust and contempt for practices that produce illegal literacy. By this, he discusses the ways in which “bogus testing, tracking, correct usage, skill-based dead-ends, and exploitation of adjunct labor” are Conspiring to uphold 100 year old notions about who should and should not have access to the standard literacy needed for FYC. His rationale for eliminating basic writing rests on the wide-spread and systemic practice of downwardly managing students so as to continuously discourage real progress towards a college degree. This Marxist interpretation of the current system gives way to a truly open pedagogy for FYC in which students are immersed in real action contexts.
--. “Our Apartheid: Writing Instruction & Inequality.” Journal of Basic Writing 16.1 (Spring 1997): 91-104.
In this essay, Shor lays the groundwork on his thoughts concerning the inequalities inherent in basic writing and university testing procedures. He remarks how the programs are merely the ways in which linguistic control is exerted in an effort to control and confront societal disruptions both on and off campus. Top down methods of thinking and acting with the bureaucracy of higher education is also a means by which students are reaffirmed as members of the already existent inequities of society. Shor also views the basic writing classroom as part of a vast containment track which stands as an impediment for students. In order for the basic writing classroom to exist, new methods need to introduce critical classrooms as an important part of the curriculum, a part that attempts propel students, not impeded with linguistic domination.
Soliday, Mary. “Ideologies of Access and the Politics of Agency.” Mainstreaming Basic Writers: Politics and Pedagogies of Access. Ed. Gerri McNenny. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2001: 55-72.
This chapter’s intent is to point out the fallacies being circulated concerning the usefulness of remediation at CUNY. Soliday discusses the ideological changes—changes that reflect the new attitudes of the middle class towards the urban working class—are actually affecting the ways in which remedial programs at different schools come under attack. However, Soliday offers valid information concerning the economic ways by which these politics are fueled, illustrating how blame is clearly misplaced. The politics inherent in the privatization of public institutions has lead to ideological shifts that reify issues of access.
Stuckey, J. Elspeth. “The Violence of Literacy”. The Violence of Literacy. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1991: 97-124.
“The face of illiteracy is less and less linguistic” (101). This chapter addresses the important question all teachers need to ask: who is not in my classroom? The statistics indicate that, by the time students start high school, the population has already been winnowed to the elite students. Students who do not fit well with the teachers and high school system seem to go away, at least eventually. In complete opposition the commonly held notion that literacy actually enables greater freedom, this chapter demonstrates, then, that literacy, which is overtly considered standard English, is actually the weapon by which freedom is withheld. The violence enacted by literacy is ironically its inability to end the practices of an unfair society.
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