ERIC Number: ED331058
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
"Reason Is but Choosing": Ideology in First Year English.
Writing courses which incorporate the tenets of "critical literacy" (such as the "difference" curriculum at the University of Texas at Austin) not only often fail to make students more aware of the role ideology plays in their culture, but also create profound new silences in the classroom--silences caused by political intimidation. Advocates of such courses seem inclined to design curricula in which most or all of the readings, assignments, and discussions represent or endorse values that conform to their political perspectives. Furthermore, these programs prove in practice to be inadequate at instructing students in logic and writing. The "difference" curriculum at UT-Austin was objectionable because it seemed to be deciding what politically correct perspectives on significant political and social issues should be. The ensuing controversy could have been avoided by: (1) creating the program more slowly and systematically; (2) listening to those who questioned its viability without labelling them as racist and sexist; (3) acknowledging that even the ideology of a program on racism and sexism is challengeable; and (4) accommodating different approaches to teaching writing into a multicultural syllabus. A truly exciting multicultural first year writing syllabus would enable instructors to bring different cultural problems, new groups, alternative readings, and different ideas into the classroom without having to refashion the entire curriculum. (PRA)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Controversial Topics; Educational Issues; Politically Correct Communication; University of Texas Austin
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).