Educators for Equity: Professional Development Series

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Event Description

Despite the prevalence of process-oriented approaches to writing instruction found nation-wide (Applebee & Langer, 2006, 2011) and research suggesting that process-oriented pedagogy provides Black students with skill-based strategies (e.g., Graham & Sandmel, 2011), Black students generally, and Black girls in particular, continue to be found among the least prepared to communicate to diverse cultural audiences and communicative purposes through writing (National Writing Assessment, 2012). Drawing on Street’s theory of “multiple literacies,” and calls for centering the voices of native-born and newcomer adolescent females of African heritage, I share a yearlong research study of an eighth-grade classroom examining how spoken and written talk about race was constructed through writing curriculum and instruction. Based on analysis of curricular artifacts, classroom observations, student writing, and student interviews, findings suggest process-oriented writing curriculum and instruction (a) narrowly constructed the kinds of conversations students could have about race and racism, (b) reflected lines of inquiry situated in the discourse of native-born, white and middle-class backgrounds and (c) mediated textual silences and/or silenced dialogue about race, racism, and processes of racialization among and between native-born and newcomer youth of African heritage. Data revealed students brought interests and inquiry as prompts for writing and classroom discussion about race, but writing prompts, graphic organizers and writing strategies constrained their ability to use those resources for their writing development and/or for the development of their peers as writers and readers.

This presentation provides participants with an equity-centered framework for literacy education instruction that leverages the social and cultural resources students bring to their classroom education and fosters intercultural dialogue about issues of equity among students in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms.