Basic Writing e-Journal

Volume 6                             Number 1                             Spring 2007

Co-editors: Susan Naomi Bernstein and Kathleen Baca

Basic Writing e-Journal


Table of Contents



Susan Naomi Bernstein,

BWe 2007: Practice, Professional Development, and Favorite Books


Kathleen Baca

A Vision of CBW: Reflections from New Mexico


Thomas Peele

Writing about Faith: Mainstream Music and Composition


Shannon Carter

Graduate Courses in Basic Writing Studies: Recommendations for Teacher Trainers


Sarah Kirk

REVIEW: Conference on Basic Writing Workshop, March 2006, Chicago, Illinois


PREVIEW: Basic Writing Sessions at the Conference on College Composition and Communication, March 2007



Call for Submissions (BWe, Autumn 2007)



Editorial Notes



Basic Writing e-Journal



BWe 2007: Practice, Professional Development, and Favorite Books
By Susan Naomi Bernstein
University of Cincinnati

This issue of BWe offers an extension of local and national discussions on Basic Writing, a reprise and an expansion of our campus conversations in the hallways between classes and other local meeting places, conversations echoed and renewed at our conferences, on our listservs, and in our journals.  In this Spring 2007 issue of BWe, Co-chair Kathleen Baca of Doña Ana Community College reflects on her vision for the Conference on Basic Writing. Thomas Peele demonstrates pedagogical applications of multimedia as he discusses writing about faith and mainstream music.  Shannon Carter examines recent innovations in graduate courses in basic writing pedagogy.  Sarah Kirk reviews the 2006 Conference on Basic Writing Pre-Convention Workshop held in Chicago at the annual Conference on Composition and Communication.  Together these articles suggest how practice and professional development work hand-in-hand to help us reflect on everyday classroom life and to enrich our pedagogy. 


With reflection and enrichment in mind—for our students and for ourselves—I posted the following request to the listserv for the Conference on Basic Writing , <>:


For a feature for BWe, the Basic Writing Electronic Journal, I am seeking submissions in the following categories: “favorite book for students” and “favorite book for professional development.  [Please include] 1-2 sentences that state why this is a favorite book for students [and/or] book for your own professional development.


As respondents enthused about their favorite books an additional category emerged: favorite books for students enrolled in Basic Writing pedagogy courses. Some books appear more than once, often in different categories. The lists include much loved and often familiar texts—and also point to innovative developments in our field.  Comppile, the wiki begun by Glen Blalock and Richard Haswell offers still more resources for basic writing, including a list of relevant texts collected by Lori Rios.  Visit



Favorite Books For Undergraduate Basic Writing Courses
  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
 I was actually surprised to find that students liked the novel so much because its narrator is a teenaged boy from England who has autism--not the profile of our usual student here at New Paltz! However, the novel is easy to read, and the relationship between the boy and his parents was a rich source of discussion and writing assignments. In addition, the students were very much interested in the boy’s autism and mathematical abilities (the novel actually contains small illustration of various mathematical problems/factoids). Rachel Rigolino, State University of New York, New Paltz


A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
The book is moving and challenging to students. It's a favorite here because Gaines taught here and lived in this area. Denise Rogers, University of Louisiana at Lafayette

  Framework by Sandra Mano and Bonnie Sunstein:
This college comp textbook brings together some theories about language, conversational analysis, dialect, and storytelling with ideas about reading critically and writing academically. Barbara Gleason, City College of New York, City University of New York



Lives on the Boundary: The Struggles and Achievements of America's Underprepared by Mike Rose (submitted by 3 respondents):


Students in my Basic Writing courses identify with the students Rose describes and find themselves more willing to engage in an examination of their own high school education once they have read the book.  In addition, students begin to understand that their not being familiar with or expert at engaging in the "conversations" of academia should not reflect on their intelligence.  Like Rose's students, my basic writers come to recognize that it's often a matter of being invited into the conversation.  Angelique Davi, Bentley College


Why this is a favorite: Students are experts on the flaws of our educational system, and they are inspired by the message of hope that comes from an acclaimed professor who (unlike too many of their professors) acknowledges that "we" the professors are not a separate species from "they" the students: for all of us, education is a "developmental" process. The very readable mixture of poignant autobiography and hardheaded, documented analysis shows students the link between real life and imaginative research. William B. Lalicker, West Chester University of Pennsylvania


Narrative of life as a remedial student and of other students' lives. Offers mixed genres, valuable as both reading examples and writing demonstrations, and challenging diction and sentence style, which stretch students' sense of language. Karen S. Uehling, Boise State University



A Hope in the Unseen by Ron Suskind
 1-2 sentences that state why this is a favorite book for students:  This is the story of Suskind's friendship with Cedric Jennings, an inner-city teenager from Washington, DC, who is ostracized for being the "brain" at his high school but, after getting accepted at Brown University, has a difficult time getting used to the expectations and cultural differences found at the university.  I've found this book an interesting read for basic writing students because they see themselves and their struggles in Jennings AND in the high school students he leaves behind.Brenda Tuberville, University of Texas-Tyler


Montana 1948 by Larry Watson
Unpredictable and provocative "coming of age" book—almost all students state that this is their favorite book, and many state that this is the first book
the have read all the way through (sad, and exciting, comment). Ruth L. Copp, Saginaw Valley State University


Favorite Books for Faculty Professional Development


 Facts, Artifacts and Counterfacts: Theory and Method for a Reading and Writing Course by by David Bartholomae and Anthony Petrosky (editors)


Facts, Artifacts and Counterfacts is a book I did not  appreciate earlier in my career as much as I do now. I appreciate it  now because I am teaching autobiography to upper division undergraduates and I have done some of the same sorts of acitvities as the ones mentioned by B an P in Facts. I also realize that they have written out some carefully conceptualized assignments which even now can be helpful to me as I continue to teach autobiography to upper division undergrads. The assignments have been carefully thought through and clearly articulated and most importantly, I believe they will work in actual teaching situations.

Barbara Gleason, City College of New York, City University of New York

Rhetorics, Poetics, and Cultures: Refiguring College English Studies by James Berlin


Why this is a favorite: While several other books come to mind when I think of practical development (titles by Shaughnessy and Delpit, for instance, as well as Bernstein's Teaching Developmental Writing), Berlin's book explains for faculty why composition in general and basic writing in particular have been ghettoized; how class-based fears have operated to stigmatize writing generally and basic writing in particular at every stage over the last 130 years of the history of English studies; and why writing, including basic writing, should be seen as central to the profession of English. Teachers of basic writing need this bracing, well-argued defense of their disciplinarity and importance. William B. Lalicker, West Chester University of Pennsylvania 

 Teaching Developmental Writing, 3rd ed. by Susan Naomi Bernstein 

Offers a broad spectrum of articles, essays, and even a short story that represent the best of theory and practice. Thought provoking pieces, readable length and style, informed by the classroom: a collection you can actually use day to day when under the reality of intense teaching loads.

Karen S. Uehling, Boise State University


 The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL Teacher's Course 2nd Ed. by Marianne Celce-Murcia and Diane Larsen-Freeman

This amazing tome may be considered the contemporary Bible of Grammar for it provides an exhaustive treatment of English grammar, appropriate for linguists, teacher trainers and trainees, and language arts instructors in any formal setting (ESL, English, Reading) and at any grade level (elementary, middle, secondary and college). Many educators use it as a reference grammar and ongoing training tool, as it offers communicative pedagogical suggestions; contextualizes and illustrates the connection between grammar and discourse; addresses grammar in terms of form, meaning and function; contains a bibliography at the end of each chapter and appendices with answers to suggested communicative activities and exercises that target specific grammar points; introduces metalinguistic terminology to define terms like adverb, aspect and register; and cites a plethora of examples comparing English with many other languages of the world. Judi E. Moy , J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, Parham Road Campus, Richmond, VA


 Beat Not the Poor Desk:  Writing: What to Teach, How to Teach it and Why by Marie Ponsot and Rosemary Deen

This book gives specific classroom strategies for teaching the elemental skills of structuring writing. My students like the challenge of discovering the writerly skills in even the most simple of genres. Pamela Bourgeois, California State University, Northridge


 The Discovery of Competence:Teaching and Learning with Diverse Student Writers by Eleanor Kutz, Suzy Q. Groden , Vivian Zamel

Discovery of Competence is a book that I appreciate because I myself have studied and used ethnography and sociolinguistics as a basis for teaching basic writing and college composition. The authors wrote the book in a way that is accessible to graduate students who are still learning some of the theories referred to in the book and just now learning to teach. Also, as someone who studied Sociolinguistics and Ethnography in grad school, I have a strong appreciation for the possibilities afforded by sociolinguistics and ethnography as frameworks for developing writing curricula. As a matter of fact, Mary Soliday and I developed our curricula for the FIPSE project we co-directed at City College around sociolinguistic principles and theories. And we have both written and published on Basic Writing/College Comp curricula that is informed by S/L and / or Ethnography.

Barbara Gleason, City College of New York, City University of New York



 Classroom Spaces and Writing Instruction by Ed Nagelhout and Carol Rutz (editors)


This book supports the premise that various seating arrangements and uses of open space greatly influence the tone and success of learning/ teaching, a thesis to which I wholeheartedly subscribe and apply in my classes. Further, the book extends my knowledge, by suggesting [for me] new, creative configurations for facilitating student movement in collaborative writing classes and in imagined spaces using geographical metaphors (e.g., the Northwest Passage).

Lynn Quitman Troyka, City College of New York, City University of New York


  Lives on the Boundary by Mike Rose

Rose' own experience as an underprepared college student gives insight into what the students in the CAT (Center for Access and Transition) really need, which is guidance, models, 2nd chances, motivation and new attitudes about reading and writing.  The chapter called, "Literate Stirrings" is especially helpful because it includes great ideas for the classroom and excellent insight about underprepared students. One of my favorite quotes from the book is: "Error marks the place where education begins"(189). Deborah Sanchez, University of Cincinnati


Favorite Book for English Education and Graduate Pedagogy Courses in Basic Writing


Treatment of Error in Second Language Student Writing  by Dana R. Ferris

My students are prospective and practicing teachers of English as a second language. Ferris' book provides them with a firm foundation regarding when and how to offer error correction and feedback to their second language writers. Deborah Crusan, Wright State University



The Discovery of Competence: Teaching and Learning with Diverse Student Writers by Eleanor Kutz, Suzy Q. Groden, and Vivian Zamel, (editors).


This book reports the editors’ collaborative 10-year journey as teachers of writing to a diverse student body. With solid attention to theory, many candid stories, and copious examples of student writing, the editors explain how students who lack confidence in their writing can evolve into assured writers.

Lynn Quitman Troyka, City College of New York, City University of New York





Basic Writing e-Journal


A Vision of CBW: Reflections from New Mexico


By Kathleen Baca

Doña Ana Community College

As current co-chair of the Conference on Basic Writing (CBW), I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself and to present a vision for CBW, which serves as a professional resource for Basic Writing educators and researches.   We meet annually at the Conference on College Composition and Communication and communicate throughout the year on our listserv.


I have taught basic writing at Doña Ana Community College since 1989 and am part of a small community of English faculty who believe in a rigorous but humane curriculum for our diverse student population in southern New Mexico.  Prior to this position, I worked part-time in junior high and high schools while my husband worked with high school students as a counselor, and the youngest of our four children is now a junior in high school, so I have a pretty good idea what students have faced before they come to DACC.  I entered college after my junior year of high school armed with a GED and almost no preparation for what faced me.  One huge advantage that I had was my love of reading.  That, and many generous faculty members, led me to my career in community college teaching.  My interests lie in access to and opportunity for success in post-secondary education, the reading/writing connection in basic writing courses, and service learning as a tool for life-long learning.


I have been a member of the board of CBW for six years and began attending CCCC in 1994.  I came to CBW with fragmented knowledge in composition and rhetoric and in basic writing.  Attending CBW workshops and special interest groups, as well as panel presentations on basic writing, I have learned how’s and why’s and where to go for more information, and I have been mentored by a long list of colleagues whose kindness and friendship have enabled me to become better at this calling of mine.  I see my service as co-chair of CBW as a way to give back to this organization that has nurtured me so generously. 


I am pleased to represent community colleges on the board, inasmuch as anyone can represent such a varied group of institutions, and I value the conversations that occur among community college folks and between university and community college individuals.  We have much to learn from each other, and CBW is doing its best to broaden the opportunities for discussion.


Susan Naomi Bernstein is an ideal co-chair, and I am grateful to her for her creativity and knowledge, and especially for the thoughtfulness with which she attends to any task.  Susan and I want to continue the practical and theoretical basis of the CBW workshops.  This balance of theory and practice has been in place since the first CBW session in 1996 and is due to the CBW board, past and present, and the excellence of the previous co-chairs.  We are honored to follow them.



Basic Writing e-Journal



Writing About Faith: Mainstream Music and Composition


By Thomas Peele

Boise State University


Writing about faith and religion in the composition classroom is implicitly and explicitly frowned upon. Instructors' resistance to faith-based arguments is understandable if they continually receive  research essays whose claims are backed by faith rather than reason. However, many students identify strongly with the teachings of their religion and it is in the context of their religious values that they develop much of their social identity. In some regions of the United States, one's status as an outsider of the dominant religion creates an equally strong context for social identity. Since many of us in composition argue that we should value our students' knowledges and experiences, and contextualize our study of writing within the various discourse communities that students inhabit, I propose that including the subjects of faith and religion in our curricula offers many students, both religious and non-religious, powerful rhetorical and affective grounds from which to write.

By introducing these subjects and foregrounding the difference between writing about religion expressively as opposed to using faith as a form of evidence, we give ourselves the opportunity to help students distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate uses of faith based writing in some academic contexts, and we invite students to exploit their areas of expertise. Writing about these subjects allows us the opportunity to recontextualize knowledge about religion and faith, and to emphasize the ways in which belief is socially constructed. At the same time, because of the demands of the writing assignment, students are engaged in textual analysis that demonstrates critical thinking.

In order to provide a recontextualized examination of faith, I ask students to look at expressions of faith in mainstream music. In the context of popular music,  most traditional students and non-traditional students have access to a medium with which they are familiar. Listening to that music for its representations of faith, however, recontextualizes both popular music and faith. In other words, students look to popular music for entertainment rather than for expressions of faith; finding expressions of faith in popular music gives them the opportunity to re-evaluate both their views of music and of religious representations of faith. They have the opportunity to articulate disparate ways of knowing.

The essay is separated into three sections: Writing About Faith, Music and Defamiliarization, and Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). The Assignment Media page contains links to the PowerPoint file that I use to present to the assignment to a basic writing class. It also contains links to samples of the music and to excerpts from a film version of one of the songs ("The Origin of Love") and a televised performance of another ("God Give Me Strength"). I have also included a conference presentation version of the essay in Real Player format.




Basic Writing e-Journal



Graduate Courses in Basic Writing Studies: Recommendations for Teacher Trainers


By Shannon Carter

Texas A&M-Commerce

The Scholarship
The Students/Teachers
The Politics
The Classroom
Course Materials



A review of graduate courses in Basic Writing Studies reveals a number of interesting trends: (1) basic writing is as intensely a political and personal activity as it is a pedagogical one, (2) basic writing teachers need access to the larger BW community and the scholarly conversation it produces, and (3) the scholarly conversation in BW Studies must always include scholars who are, first and foremost, teachers and advocates of at-risk writers [1]. Though the number of graduate courses in this subject appears to be increasing [2], I will focus here on only three representative examples--Linda Adler-Kassner’s “Teaching Basic Writing at the College Level” at Eastern Michigan University, Karen S. Uehling’s “The Theory and Teaching of Basic Writing” at Boise State University, and my own “Basic Writing Theory and Practice” at Texas A&M-Commerce--and draw from them several recommendations for how we might best train basic writing teachers and tutors to grapple with the complex activity of teaching--to use Adler-Kassner’s terminology--“these students-called-basic-writers” [3].



Objective: At once complicate and simplify our understanding of the “basic writer” and the basic writing classroom, drawing attention to the many tensions associated with questions like those listed on Adler-Kassner's course syllabus: "Who are students called "basic writers"? . . . What is basic writing? . . . How are basic writers determined? . . . What are classroom strategies used for working with students in basic writing courses? . . . What is the public discourse about basic writing and students in basic writing courses? . . . What can you/we do about basic writing? . . ."


            Recommendations: Choose readings that reveal the complex political, curricular, programmatic, and sociohistorical issues embedded in the questions listed above.


The readings assigned in all three courses situate basic writing by drawing attention to its richly politicized history (Soliday’s The Politics of Remediation, 2002; excerpts from James Traub’s controversial City on a Hill, 1994; Tom Fox’s Defending Access, 1999; Shirley Lauro’s play Open Admissions, 1982 [4]), the complexities of curricular and programmatic development (Kutz, Groder, and Zamel’s The Discovery of Competence, 1993; Bartholomae and Petrosky’s Facts, Artifacts, Counterfacts, 1986), the politics of difference (Zhan-Lu and Horner’s Representing the “Other,” 1998; Mutnick’s Writing in an Alien World, 1995), and the way literacy education lives within the lives of writers enrolled in BW courses (Sternglass’s Time to Know Them, 1997; Gilyard’s Voices of the Self, 1991; Rose’s Lives on the Boundary, 1989; Villanueva’s Bootstraps, 1993). All three also included much discussion of Mina Shaughnessy and her influence on the field of basic writing. But the most significant readings—the ones that appear to have the greatest impact on teachers--may be the ones that emphasize the people most affected by BW: the students and their teachers.





            Objective: Draw attention to the people marked as “basic writers” or “at risk” (and their teachers)


            Recommendation: Consider readings in genres that extend beyond the traditional, nonfiction, scholarly texts we usually read in graduate-level classes—perhaps Shirley Lauro’s play Open Admissions (1982) or Ann E. Green’s “My Uncle’s Guns” (1997)


Karen S. Uehling’s choice to include Shirley Lauro’s short play Open Admissions is particularly savvy as this 30-minute drama reveals the complex yet subtle ways institutionalized racism and classism affect even the most well-meaning among us. Professor Alice Miller and Calvin Jefferson are the only characters in this drama that takes place in “a cubicle Speech Office at a city college in New York” (242). Alice is an overworked Professor of Speech Communications who “started out to be a Shakespearean scholar” (242) but finds herself—12 years later—“teaching beginning Speech” to “35 Freshman a class, 20 classes a week” (251). Calvin—an 18-year-old first-year, first-generation college student in the Open Admissions Program--catches Alice in her office as she is rushing off to a late meeting and demands to know why he got a B on the last project, in fact why he always seems to receive Bs. Describing the last speech he gave in her class, Calvin tells Alice, “I stood up there didn’ hardly know the sense anything I read, couldn’t hardly even read it at all” (249). “I don’t even turn no outline in? Jiss give me a ‘B.’ [He rises and crosses R of ALICE]. An Lester a ‘B’! An Sam a ‘B’! What’s that ‘B’ standin for anyhow? Cause it surely ain’t standing for no piece of work!”  (251).


Alice has no evidence to offer Calvin for his grade, and neither the time nor the training to help him “know the sense in” what he read. Calvin asks, “How come you don’t sit down with me and teach me which way to git my ideas down instead of givin me a ‘B’?” (251). Rather than teaching him what he requests, Alice spends several minutes talking about Calvin’s “Speech Syndrome” (245), his “Harlemese. Don’t you remember? I called everyone’s attention to your particular syndrome in class the minute you started talking” (247).  


Through Alice and Calvin, we learn the toll these underfunded and highly politicized programs have on the actual people involved. What is happening to Calvin is outrageous, but it’s even bigger than Alice. His disadvantage is built right into the system. The classes are too big, resources are too few, and teachers in the Program are just “hanging on.” From what I can discern from Uehling’s syllabus, Calvin and Alice serve as a starting point for the many complicated questions involved in teaching basic writing. How can we best help Calvin? How can we best help Alice to help Calvin? What went wrong? How might Alice have handled this better? What training and support did she need to be able to handle this better? What did she need to know about Calvin in order to help him? What assumptions led to their problematic exchange? What material, political, ideological, and cultural conditions limited and shaped their interactions (both in that office and in the classroom)?


Lauro’s play has much to offer those of us training basic writing teachers and tutors as it puts a face on the complexities of “remedial” instruction in ways little else can. In Uehling’s own courses, as she explains, “We usually read it aloud as reader's theater and sometimes students bring props, etc. The discussion afterward is dynamite” (email communication, 1/14/07). I can imagine it most certainly is; I had never read this play—now almost 25 years old—before running across the title in Uehling’s syllabus. I will absolutely be making extensive use of it now, following Uehling’s lead by bringing it into the course sequence very early in the term (within the first or second class meeting).


Another piece that personalizes the writer’s dilemma in powerful ways is Ann E. Green’s short story “My Uncle’s Guns” (included in Bernstein’s collection). Much like Lauro’s play, Barbara Mellix’s “From Outside, In,” and Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue,” Green’s creative piece forces readers to confront the impossibility of separating language from identity—something Alice attempted to do in pushing Calvin to rid himself of “that Street Speech” (252). Unlike Mellix and Anzaldua who illustrate these complexities via personal literacy narratives (or “autoethnography”), however, Green offers a first-person narrative from the perspective of a working-class student attempting to develop an essay for a first-year composition class, a personal narrative about a “significant experience.” Interspersed among a safe and largely commonplace essay quite often associated with first-year composition are digressions into the real, complex, and fascinating lifewords and thoughts of the writer (metacognitive moments), things the writer decides not to include because she believes the events and choices that make up her life beyond school are not welcome in the academy—at least not in this particular classroom where she feels certain she’ll be judged as a “redneck” if she shares them. To a great extent, the experiences she narrates through her digressions have been shaped by the gun culture that is so much a part of her rural past yet, as she quickly learned, is in direct conflict with the liberal and urban experiences of her teacher and primary audience.


When our class discussed “My Uncle’s Guns,” one member of the class (“Charlene”) told us—though reluctantly at first--she could really relate. Guns have always been a part of Charlene’s life. Many times she’s ridden in that truck with the gun in the glove box that the narrator in Green’s story talks about. She knows that world of guns and hunting well, and she understands—instinctively—the difficulties the narrator experienced in telling her personal stories in a college context. When she moved from a rural area of Texas to start high school in a much more urban area in another state, Charlene—like the narrator in Green’s story--knew she would have to keep that part of herself out of the schools. As Charlene explained, “They already thought I was a hick, anyway. Why give them anything else to go with?” Later, when she was training to become a teacher, her advisor humiliated her when she used “fixin’” one day in class. He made it seem that her entire career would be over before it began if she didn’t immediately purge that word from her vocabulary. She went on to teach at-risk middle school students in California and later Texas, but she never forgot what her teacher said and she struggled to keep her “hick past” out of every classroom she entered.


I asked her, “As a young student, how did you determine that gun culture was considered ‘hick’ and unwelcome in the classroom, and how did you determine which aspects of your private life would be considered ‘hick’?” She told us she “just knew.” She heard her classmates speak in class and she drew from that. She listened to all her teachers. She, too, “saw how [her teachers] looked at” all things not urban, not “sophisticated.” I asked everyone, “In ‘My Uncle’s Guns,’ what could the teacher have done to help that student find comfort in bringing what she found relevant and most personal into her classroom and this particular project?” Students responded by returning to Adrienne Rich’s arguments in “Teaching Language in Open Admissions” (1973) as Rich asked that same question more than thirty years before: How do we create trust? Of course we pointed to the way her teacher “looked at” her students and why the teacher might be looking at these students as though, in the words of the piece’s narrator, “teaching us . . . won’t help us.” Charlene and a couple other students in the class said they know that look. As Charlene explains, she has always worked hard to keep her, in her words, “hick past” out of the classroom so that no one would ever look at her that way again.


In courses like these, the discussion often turns to the question of student responsibility: where does the responsibility for the student’s success lie? with the instructor? with the program? with society? with the student? Green’s short story and the discussion it generated for us enabled us to both complicate and simplify this notion of responsibility by challenging the myth of autonomy. I believe the very same thing will happen for us when we bring in Lauro’s play: Where does the responsibility for Calvin’s success lie? for the narrator in Green’s short story? The answer isn’t as easy as we might have originally thought, especially when focus on the actual people affected by basic writing: Alice, Calvin, the student in Green’s short story, her teacher, the administrators responsible for the various programs of which all of these characters are but a part, the institutional policies that—to a certain extent—limit and shape what’s possible within these programs, and the local, state, and federal controls placed upon these programs via laws and other means.





            Objective: Draw attention to the political dimensions of BW as they identify BWers and to a great extent try to shape basic writing programs/classrooms


            Recommendation: Situate BW within the institutional and political constraints as they manifest themselves in a particular context


Karen S. Uehling and I chose to root this conversation in open admissions, especially as it manifests itself at CUNY. As Uehling describes it in her 2004 syllabus, “students will study,” among other things, “the history of basic writing and the impact of open admissions policies on the teaching of composition.” Thus her students began with two key pieces from the Shaughnessy’s years with the SEEK Program at City College (Shaughnessy’s own “Diving In: An Introduction to Basic Writing” and Adrienne Rich’s powerful illustration of the material constraints of Open Admissions), several artifacts from the early days of our profession (including a two-part interview with Sondra Perl included in the first issues of The Newsletter: Conference on Basic Writing Skills from 1982), and Shirley Lauro’s Open Admissions (described in the previous section).


In my own course, we focused rather explicitly on the localized and political context surrounding Open Admissions as it manifested itself at City College. To that end, we began with Jane Maher’s biography of Mina Shaughnessy’s life (Her Life and Work, 1997), which offers an in-depth portrait of not only Shaughnessy-the-person but also Shaughnessy-the-administrator negotiating the politically-charged atmosphere of Open Admissions at City College. We concerned ourselves with her pedagogy, as well, through a student presentation on her important work Errors and Expectations. This presentation took on special resonance after spending so much time with Shaughnessy through Maher’s Her Life. Our key concern, however, was the local context in which Shaughnessy and the many devoted teachers in the SEEK Program worked. Thus we followed Maher’s biography with Soliday’s The Politics of Remediation (2002), paying particular attention to the ways in which remedial programs exist to further stratify educational institutions and opportunities. As Soliday likewise writes about her experiences at CUNY, her work seemed especially appropriate following our discussion of Shaughnessy and her impact (politically, personally, pedagogically) on BW [5].  


The single greatest influence on my curricular choices was probably the fact that I teach this course at a public university in Texas and the majority of students taking Basic Writing Theory and Practice will be teaching basic writing courses at Texas colleges and universities; thus, we wove within our discussion of the SEEK Program at City College readings more directly associated with the culture of standardized testing that is so much a part of the writer’s and the writing teacher’s daily existence in Texas higher education. By introducing documents from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board ( and articles like Susan Naomi Bernstein’s Teaching and Learning in Texas: Accountability Testing, Language, Race, and Place” (JBW, 2004), we begin to formulate answers to questions like, “What’s the history of, justification for, and function of state-mandated, high-stakes testing like the Texas Assessment of Academic Skills (TAAS), the Texas Academic Skills Program (TASP), and the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (TAKS)? What are some of the political, economic, ideological, and social consequences of high-stakes testing, especially as those consequences define basic writing and the students enrolled in basic writing?”


Since many of our students received their K-12 educations in Texas public schools, they are used to this environment that "tests" literacy in ways that run counter to so much research in our field. I thought that effective teachers and administrators of this population needed to be cognizant of the material and political circumstances limiting and shaping what's necessary and possible within any basic writing program, at least those in which they were likely to teach. I also wanted those who may be less familiar with the politics of testing to consider the ways in which such experiences might shape a writers' attitude toward literacy education in general. I wanted to train advocates for students enrolled in basic writing, as well as teachers and researchers in the field; that's probably why I will include Adler-Kassner and Harrington's slim, powerful Basic Writing as a Political Act (2002) next time around. In the end, however, I wanted students to understand that, as Richard Miller asserts, “constraining conditions are not paralyzing conditions” and, therefore, in order to affect change within this context, “students, teachers, and administrators must develop a sufficiently nuanced understanding of how power is disseminated in bureaucracy” (211, emphasis in original).





            Objective: Train teacher-scholars by drawing attention to the theoretical dimensions embedded in the practical and the practical dimensions embedded in the theoretical.


            Recommendation: Assign projects and readings that force upon students the task of extrapolating these dimensions themselves.


            Recommended Texts: Like Adler-Kassner and Uehling, our class also made great use of Susan Naomi Bernstein’s Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings as an introduction to the broader field of basic writing. Bernstein’s collection is incredibly effective in helping new teacher-scholars reflect on key scholarship and make use of it in their classrooms, programs, and public discourse about students enrolled in basic writing courses. Classic articles like Adrienne Rich’s “Teaching Language in Open Admissions” and Gloria Anzaldua’s “How to Tame a Wild Tongue” to more recent pieces like William B. Lalicker’s “A Basic Introduction to Basic Writing Program Structures: A Baseline and Five Alternatives” and Ann E. Green’s “My Uncles Guns” are organized into sections focusing on—among other things--the reading-writing connection, student and teacher perceptions of basic writing, approaches to grammar instruction, and the needs of ESL writers. Each section is preceded by a concise introduction and followed by useful questions prompting relevant classroom activities and something she calls “Thinking about Teaching.” My students found it to be a very useful and accessible resource in helping them better understand and begin to articulate the complexities in identifying students enrolled in basic writing courses, determining how such students write, and how a basic writing classroom (and program) should function.


            Recommended Assignments: In my own course, I chose to conclude our semester together with the requisite conference paper in which students offered a sustained, theoretically-informed argument relevant to our field. Next time, I will take a page from Uehling’s and Adler-Kassner’s course plans and instead ask students to develop projects that attempt to bridge that theory-practice dichotomy in more deliberate ways.  In the 2004 version of her course, for example, Karen S. Uehling asks her students to create both a “Research Essay” (typical scholarly, graduate student faire) and a “related curriculum paper” (of lesser weight) that is, in Uehling’s words, “the practical spin‑off from your research essay.” In the version she taught last fall (2006), she took this concept into cyberspace, requiring her students to develop instead a wiki project similar to Linda Adler-Kassner’s “Best Practices in Basic Writing”.


As Adler-Kasner explains in her introduction to the resulting “Best Practices” posted in CompFaQs:

In winter 2006, we worked to consider connections between these questions and practice: what happens when a person is hired to teach something called “basic writing?” What role does it play in the institution? How is the class/program shaped? And – perhaps most importantly – what should instructors in ‘basic writing’ classes do in those classes, and why should they do those things?

   To explore both sets of questions, the class’s premier assignment was to develop wiki pages that would be useful for basic writing instructors. (

The projects collected at CompFAQs “are the result of that work.” In this, Adler-Kassner’s students developed theoretically-informed responses to questions like “What are the Best Practices for working with reading in the basic writing classroom?” and “What are Best Practices for providing feedback in the basic writing classroom?”  In response to this last question, more focused concerns emerged like,  “How do we address surface conventions in teaching writing so that students do not suffer the negative perceptions created by errors?” and “How can we address the perceptions of surface conventions?” and “How should teachers negotiate the power struggles when giving feedback on student papers?” They even offer a number of posts describing effective classroom practices for technology (inside and outside the classroom), peer review, and working with ESOL students.


In the collaborative atmosphere that permeates our field, the wiki seems a very fitting choice in that it enables writers to revise (add to, edit, and rearrange) current entries and post new ones. It also allows readers beyond Adler-Kassner’s class to join the conversation in rather tangible ways by likewise posting new entries and adding to those already available. As she explains in her student handout describing this innovative wiki project (see “Inquiry Group Project—CompFAQs Wiki Pages and Presentations”), “Wikis are collaborative—what you start here will be posted on the CompFAQs site, then added on to and developed by others who bring their experience and expertise to the proverbial table.” As Uehling explains in a recent email describing her choice to include a version of Adler-Kassner’s wiki project as a culminating assignment in her Fall 2006 version of this course at Boise State (replacing the curriculum paper she assigned in 2004), “The wiki is MUCH BETTER, and I'm very proud of our results" (see the results at  





From my review of graduate-level courses in BW Studies, one key strategy in designing effective assignments and discussion activities is to emphasize both the practical in the theoretical and the theoretical in the practical (as we see in Adler-Kassner’ and Uehling’s use of the wiki project “Best Practices in Basic Writing” and Bernstein’s collection discussed earlier). An equally important strategy is to present the political in the personal and the personal in the political (as we see in Uehling’s inclusion of the play Open Admissions and as I experienced in my own course through our use of Green’s “My Uncle’s Guns”). Such strategies remind all of us—new teachers, experienced teachers, and teacher trainers alike--that while the task of teaching basic writers is complex and mired in extensive political and material challenges, it is an intensely rewarding one. My students teach me this all the time. In the end, then, perhaps that’s what graduate courses in basic writing pedagogy can do best: help us all understand the many reasons why teaching and advocating for this population may be among the most important work a person can do.


COURSE MATERIALS for the classes reviewed here are available online at

For Uehling's course at Boise State, see

For Adler-Kasser's course at Eastern Michigan University, see

For Carter's course at A&M-Commerce, see or



Adler-Kassner, Linda and Susanmarie Harrington.  Basic Writing as a Political Act: Public Conversations about Writing and Literacy. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton, 2002

Bartholomae, David and Anthony Petrosky’s Facts, Artifacts, Counterfacts: Theory and Method for a Reading and Writing Course. Portsmouth, NJ: Boynton/Cook, 1986.

Bernstein, Susan Naomi. Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings. Second Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2004.

---.Teaching and Learning in Texas: Accountability Testing, Language, Race, and Place." Journal of Basic Writing. 23.1 (Spring 2004).

DiPardo, Anne. A Kind of Passport: A Basic Writing Adjunct Program and the Challenge of Student Diversity. NCTE, 1993.

Fox, Tom. Defending Access: A Critique of Standards in Higher Education. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1999.

Gilyard’s Voices of the Self: A Study of Language Competence. Wayne State UP, 1991.

Gleason, Barbara. Journal of Basic Writing. 25.2 (Fall 2006), in press.

Gray-Rosendale, Laura. Rethinking Basic Writing: Exploring Identity, Politics, and Community in Interaction. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999.

Green, Ann E. “My Uncle’s Guns.” Writing on the Edge. 9.1 (Fall/Winter 1997/98). Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings. Second Edition. Susan Naomi Bernstein, ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s P, 2004. 50-59. 

Horner, Bruce and Min-Zhan Lu. Representing the “Other”: Basic Writers and the Teaching of Basic Writing. NCTE, 1998.

Kutz, Eleanor, Suzy Q. Groder, and Vivian Zamel. The Discovery of Competence: Teaching and Learning with Diverse Student Writers. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1993.

Lauro, Shirley. Open Admissions. in Political Stages: An Anthology of American Plays. NY: Applause Theatre and Cinema Books, 2002. 239-254.

Lalicker, William B. “A Basic Introduction to Basic Writing Program Structures: A Baseline and Five Alternatives.” Basic Writing e-Journal (BWe). 1.2 (Winter 1999). Available online: <>.

Maher, Jane. Mina P. Shaughnessy: Her Life and Work. NCTE, 1997.      

Mellix, Barbara. “From Outside, In.” The Georgia Review. 1987. Working With Ideas. Donna Dunbar-Odom. Houghton-Mifflin, 2001. 266-273.

Miller, Richard E. As If Learning Mattered: Reforming Higher Education. Cornell UP, 1998.

Mutnick, Deborah. Writing in an Alien World: Basic Writing and the Struggle for Equality in Higher Education. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook, 1995.

Rich, Adrienne. “Teaching Language in Open Admissions.” Harvard English Studies. 4 (1973). Teaching Developmental Writing: Background Readings. Second Edition. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 14-28.

Rose, Mike. Lives on the Boundary: A Moving Account of the Struggles and Achievements of America’s Educationally Underprepared. NY: Penguin Books, 1989.

Shaughnessy, Mina P. Errors and Expectations: A Guide for the Teacher of Basic Writing. NY: Oxford UP, 1977.

Soliday, Mary. The Politics of Remediation: Institutional and Student Needs in Higher Education. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2002.

Sternglass, Marilyn S. Time to Know Them: A Longitudinal Study of Writing and Learning at the College Level. Mahwah, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers, 1997. 

Traub, James. City on a Hill: Testing the American Dream at City College. Perseus Books, 1995.

Villanueva, Victor. Bootstraps: From an American Academic of Color. NCTE, 1993.



1. In the essay that follows, I will describe what students in graduate basic writing pedagogy courses were asked to do and why. The syllabi and other materials reviewed here were collected via responses to a query on CBW-L in March, 2006. Actually, the decision to request these materials was prompted by an exciting discussion at the Basic Writing Special Interest Group at the March (2006) Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) regarding graduate study in the field—a conversation that continued online as Lynn Troyka and others organized panels on the subject for CCCC 2007. Glenn Blalock (Baylor University) and Rich Haswell (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) invited me to post these syllabi to CompFAQs, joining several other interactive resources on basic writing like Lori Rios’s collection of book titles often used to prepare graduate students to teach basic writing, Linda Adler-Kassner’s series of Best Practices in the teaching of basic writing (to which I return in following section), and Karen S. Uehling’s 2004 compilation of graduate courses devoted to the teaching of basic writing, which she developed via “the response I received to the query on CBW-L posted February 3, 2004, and . . . other information I could find through online searches of catalogs.” 


2. Graduate study in basic writing theory and practice appears to be on the rise. A quick search on Google coupled with Karen S. Uehling’s 2004 survey show us that universities across the country now offer courses exclusively devoted to the subject, including the University of Southern Mississippi (“Studies in Basic Writing”), San Francisco State University (“Seminar in Basic/Developmental Writing”), Montclair State University in New Jersey (“Teaching Writing and the Basic Writer”), and The Ohio State University (“Teaching Remedial College Composition”). In some programs, coursework like this is mandatory. At the Brooklyn Campus of Long Island University, for instance, “Literacy and Basic Writing” is a required course for those choosing a concentration in the Teaching of Writing; at the University of Minnesota, those seeking a certificate in Postsecondary Developmental Education must take “Writing and the College Student: Theory and Practice”  


3. A forthcoming essay in the 25th anniversary volume of the Journal of Basic Writing promises to offer a much more detailed portrait of graduate programs and courses in basic writing than will be offered here (see Barbara Gleason, Fall 2006, 25.2).


4. Before reviewing Karen S. Uehling’s syllabus, I had never heard of this play, which I will discuss in much greater detail below as it offers a powerful illustration of the complex ways in which Open Admissions was implemented.    


5. In that Sternglass’s Time to Know Them offers an in-depth portrait of the students and their experiences at City College, I should have included that among our required readings. I will next time.




Basic Writing e-Journal




Conference on Basic Writing Workshop, March 2006

Conference on College Composition and Communication, Chicago, Illinois


By Sarah Kirk

University of Alaska Anchorage

One of the great joys of attending national educational conferences is to find oneself not only invigorated about one’s own teaching, but also surrounded by others who exhibit thoughtful innovation, persistence, and commitment to the profession. This is what I found for my second straight year of attendance at the Conference on Basic Writing (CBW) Pre-conference at the 4 C’s. That is what I did for a full day on the Wednesday, prior to the regular conference sessions, with forty or fifty of my Basic Writing colleagues from around the country. CBW co-presidents Susan Bernstein and Kathleen Baca warmly welcomed all attendees, who introduced ourselves and spoke about our reasons for attending. Although most of us—faculty, administrators, and WPA’s—cited the problems we all face, the meeting room in a corner of the Chicago Palmer House was full of obvious enthusiasm for our work.


Two groups presented at the conference. The morning presentation, by LaGuardia Community College-CUNY professors Dr. J. Elizabeth Clark, Dr. Gail Green Anderson, and Marisa A. Klages, was entitled “Building Community in Basic Writing: LaGuardia Community College’s First Year Experience Academies.” My understanding is that program consists of two crucial elements: 1) the cohort group that forms the First-year Academy, and 2) the technology element—e-Portfolio, supported by a studio classroom.


Entering basic writing students at LaGuardia may choose from three academies: Business/Technology, Liberal Arts, and Allied Health. Each academy comprises one or more basic skills courses, a freshman seminar, and an introductory course in the student’s major. Aside from assisting students in the basic skills, the academies focus on establishing connections within the fields of study and fostering participation in extra-curricular activities and orientation events. Students learn to use the Internet as a central tool for course work and interaction with each other and faculty in the academy; thus they become proficient in technology and website authoring, while developing their own writing voice through constant communication via e-mail and asynchronous peer response.


Included among the offerings of each academy is a one-hour course in a Studio Classroom (staffed by second-year students majoring in technology) in which the students develop on their own websites, called ePortfolios. The ePortfolio showcases the students’ best work in their majors and demonstrates how they have integrated their personal lives with their educational goals. It may also serve as a useful tool when they apply for jobs.The ePortfolio includes four elements: “My Collection” (selections of coursework the student takes throughout his or her career at LaGuardia); “My Website” (an individual website about the student’s interests and achievements); “My Classes and Projects” (housing the student’s work within a particular course); and LaGuardia’s assessment site, where the college gathers specific assignments from each student for institutional program improvement.


I would like to personally thank LaGuardia Community College for this innovative model, which places basic writers in exciting and innovative learning communities that integrate technology into their work.


The afternoon session, by Harry S Truman College in Chicago, focused on two themes: 1) the integration of reading and writing within a series of single six-hour courses (called “Integrated Communication Studies”) for students in developmental or ESL programs, and 2) the use of departmental portfolios for assessing student work. Professor Alan Meyers first explained the history behind the genesis of both projects in the Truman Communications Department. Dr. Jocelyn Ladner described the underlying pedagogical assumptions behind combining reading and basic writing: that is, these skills cannot be taught in isolation—and reading instruction should focus on writing about reading—summarizing, paraphrasing, and integrating quotations within the student’s own papers. Further, since the same professor teaches the reading and writing, following a curriculum developed by the whole department, the coursework is fully integrated at each level.


Professors Lara Ravitch and Ana King provided a thorough explanation of the syllabi for one such course, which focuses on an overarching theme—American Culture. Within the course, units may address specific topics: education; history, culture, and civilization; business and economics; family roles, citizenship; urbanization; gentrification; popular culture; etc. In each section of this course, students read a book (i.e. There Are No Children Here, Nickel and Dimed, Across the Wire, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fist Fight in Heaven) in order to work more intensely on developing their reading skills. The course also concludes with a portfolio of each student’s work. 


Professors Ravitch, King, and Dr. Yue Liu then explained how the course portfolio is compiled and evaluated. It consists of three elements: 1) an introduction in which the student reflects on what he or she has learned, 2) a revised final draft of a paper that engages with reading in some way, and 3) an in-class essay that also engages with reading. The portfolios are read in teams comprising both full-time and part-time faculty (who have met earlier in the term to compare assignments and discuss sample papers). Two members instructors other than the teacher read the portfolios holistically and grade them pass or fail. To expedite the reading process, the instructor first divides his or her portfolios into three groups: sure passes, sure fails, and a middle range. The readers sample the sure passes and fails to verify the instructor’s judgment and then read all remaining middle-range portfolios. The grading is advisory at this point because the project is still in its pilot stage.


For a number of years, I have listened to presentations by Basic Writing professionals at national conferences describe their attempts to integrate reading and writing. However, what impressed me about the presenters from Harry Truman College is that they now offer this integrated course as the English skills course, rather than as an alternative, for all of their developmental students.


After two years of attendance at the BWC, I find myself still excited by what the basic writing instructors at LaGuardia and Truman have developed and implemented. In fact, my department (College Preparatory & Developmental Studies at the University of Alaska Anchorage) has recently offered an integrated reading and writing course and is presently proposing a First-year Academy using an e-Portfolio, specifically due to the presentations I heard at the 4 C’s. The innovations of these Basic Writing professionals, and the effort of the Conference on Basic Writing to bring their work to a larger audience, is thus greatly appreciated—and, more importantly, put to worthwhile ends.




Basic Writing e-Journal


Conference on Basic Writing (CBW) Sponsored Sessions at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (New York City, March 21-22, 2007)



The Conference on Basic Writing Pre-Conference Workshop:

“Local Conditions/Global Concerns: Basic Writing on the 30th Anniversary of Mina Shaugnessy's Errors and Expectations”

Session: W.2 on Mar 21, 2007 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Cluster: n/a) Not Applicable

Type: Workshop: All-Day Wednesday



DESCRIPTION:  In the morning session, speakers from Kingsborough Community College assess how the global concerns expressed in Errors and Expectations, Mina Shaughnessy’s landmark work on unprepared students at CUNY colleges after open admissions, have now shifted to the local conditions at the CUNY community colleges, where basic readers and writers are positioned pending successful scores on the gatekeeping ACT and CPE testing mechanisms. At a time when the students we serve are even more diverse and academically impoverished than they were at the beginning of the open admissions era, teachers at community colleges (and their students) are caught in the spaces between literacy acquisition and test preparation (which are often at odds with each other).


The afternoon presentations will address the issues of adult literacy education in a variety of settings and examine how it intersects and parallels basic writing. The first afternoon speaker, using her knowledge and experiences in the various adult literacy education settings in New York City: NYC public libraries, Consortium for Worker Education, CUNY colleges, community based organizations; and drawing on her experiences and knowledge from her own Teaching Adult Literacy graduate course curriculum and students, will engage participants in a journey of basic writing few have experienced so broadly. The second afternoon speaker’s focus is on teaching adult literacy in a maximum-security prison for women and the clear connection between the lack of literacy skills and incarceration, drawing on her ten years of teaching pre-college courses to the students in the prison and on administration of the program, through which she interviews and counsels the students.




Conference on Basic Writing Special Interest Group
Session: TSIG.16 on Mar 22, 2007 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM

DESCRIPTION: The board of the Conference on Basic Writing will facilitate a discussion of issues related to basic writing.


 For more information, please see




Basic Writing e-Journal



Basic Writing Sessions at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (New York, City, March 22-24, 2007)


New Scholars Talk Back: The City University of New York and the Shaughnessy Legacy Thirty Years Later
Session: G.00 on Mar 23, 2007 from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
Writing the Dissonance: Using Collaborative Texts to Enhance Service Learning
Session: A.02 on Mar 22, 2007 from 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM
The Liberian Civil War and the Writing Classroom
Session: A.09 on Mar 22, 2007 from 10:30 AM to 11:45 AM
A Study of High Stakes Testing Practices: CUNY and Beyond
Session: B.16 on Mar 22, 2007 from 12:15 PM to 1:30 PM
Teacher, Student, Research: Shifting Identities in the Learning-Centered Community College
Session: B.26 on Mar 22, 2007 from 12:15 PM to 1:30 PM
Situated Student Writing and Basic Composition
Session: C.14 on Mar 22, 2007 from 1:45 PM to 3:00 PM
"I am my language": Representing and Misrepresenting Deaf Writers
Session: D.09 on Mar 22, 2007 from 3:15 PM to 4:30 PM
Plagiarism: ESL and Deaf Students
Session: E.20 on Mar 22, 2007 from 4:45 PM to 6:00 PM
The Power of Ethnographic Research: Investing Basic Writing Students in Research-based Composition
Session: F.22 on Mar 23, 2007 from 8:00 AM to 9:15 AM
Basic Economics: The Logical, Pathetic, and Ethical Identities of Basic Writing
Session: G.35 on Mar 23, 2007 from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM
“Illegal” Crossings: Challenging the Academy’s Ambivalence Toward “”Under served” and Basic Writing Students.
Session: I.05 on Mar 23, 2007 from 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM
The Self-Identity of Basic Writers: Reading and Writing the Academy
Session: I.19 on Mar 23, 2007 from 12:30 PM to 1:45 PM
On Getting What You Asked For: Consequences and Compromises of Institutionalizing a Mainstreaming Pilot Project
Session: K.20 on Mar 23, 2007 from 3:30 PM to 4:45 PM
Teachers of Writing to the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing
Session: FSIG.15 on Mar 23, 2007 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM
Identifying, or Being Identified, as "At-Risk": Ways Basic Writers and First-Graders Forge Academic Identities Through a Service-Learning Partnership Course
Session: L.13 on Mar 24, 2007 from 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM

The Rhetorical Identity of "Under-Prepared" in Ivy League Basic Writing Programs.

Session P22 on Mar 24, 2007 from 3:30-4:45

For more information, please see



Basic Writing e-Journal



CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS FOR Basic Writing Electronic Journal


Deadline: May 15, 2007


THEME:  Local Conditions, Global Concerns


We seek submissions in the following categories:


·    Students’ Stories What stories do students tell in their essays for our basic writing courses?  What stories do we tell about our students enrolled in basic writing?  What do these stories reveal about practices and theories of basic writing in the 21st century—and about the intersections of local and global concerns?  Narrative, creative nonfiction, and theoretically focused essays welcome.  Multimodal/multimedia and traditionally-formatted submissions both encouraged. Suggested submission length: 8-15 pages.


·    Professional Encounters What sessions, workshops or other conversations did you see/hear/encounter at CCCC that hold significant implications for theories and practices of Basic Writing?  What additional CCCC encounters carry important intersections for Basic Writing theory and practice? Subjects may include (but are not limited to) race/ethnicity/class/gender studies, ESL, international perspectives, writing centers, community engagement, service learning, institutional histories—the list is endless! Multimodal/multimedia and traditionally-formatted submissions both encouraged. Suggested submission length: 8-15 pages.


·    Book Reviews What books have you discovered lately that impact the theory and practice of basic writing?  Subjects may include (but are not limited to) race/ethnicity/class/gender studies, ESL, international perspectives, writing centers, community engagement, service learning, institutional histories—the list is endless! Multimodal/multimedia and traditionally-formatted submissions both encouraged. Suggested submission length: 8-15 pages.


Queries and submissions:   Susan Naomi Bernstein (bernstsn@UCMAIL.UC.EDU) and Kathleen Baca ( ).  Please use “BWe Query/Submission” as your subject line.



Co-editors: Susan Naomi Bernstein and Kathleen Baca

Web designer: Shannon Carter

Web master: Greg Glau

Reviewers for this issue: Hannah Ashley, Sarah Kirk, and Alan Meyers





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