Amy posting for Ibtissim:
What I like about the readings regarding Basic writing is that they cover the assumptions then they get into what the situation really looks like and how to deal with it. It is difficult to imagine an established teacher or school being flooded with a new population they have never worked with before. It is even more challenging when that population includes students from different educational, cultural and linguistic backgrounds, in addition to their preparedness for college. It is a challenge to take but it is one as the readings suggest where teachers need to be open to experiencing this new situation.
BW is a democratizing force. For example the “No child left behind” project is one that created many of these classes and developmental programs. This kind of project is created mainly due to economic and social pressures. Including and educating more citizens by empowering them through education is a noble goal. Basic Writing classes, therefore, take the role of helping out in introducing these students to the world of academia. I believe that by keeping this goal in mind, teachers would be patient with a population of students they don’t know how to work with and work through understanding their needs and capacities.
As Shaughnessy points out in ‘Diving in”, teachers have to be aware of the influence cultural and linguistic backgrounds may cause different learning situations to occur.
Diving in means getting to know your students and deciding to be open to learn about them and from them. This step understandably is a difficult one to take but it is an important one to start to scratch the surface on working with such classes of writing with a good teacher preparation. It is not expected that a teacher becomes a cultural expert and linguistic expert for all the populations he/she teacher, maybe not even any of them. However, it is expected that the teacher is open to learn and realizes that these backgrounds may influence. From this point pedagogies maybe on how to use that for class purposes may arise.
The definition of a Basic Writer seems to be general on purpose. The definition seems to cover all those who are unprepared for college classes. Maybe this general definition serves the purpose of including the wide diversity represented in such writing classes.