ERIC Number: ED337778
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Multi-Cultural Literacy in the Composition Classroom: Report on a Pilot Project.
At the root of the writing problems of most college students is a lack of critical thinking. Students find analyzing an article or essay, writing a review, or arguing persuasively difficult and unpleasant because they have little practice in identifying and evaluating assumptions and reasoning. One solution to this problem, developed by a college instructor, was a course on "multi-cultural literacy," which sought not only to improve students' ability to reason, but also to encourage humanitarian values. In this course, students were also introduced to current debates about the canon, the meaning of cultural differences and the possibility of cultural "literacy." The goal was not to teach students to agree with the teacher, but to encourage their curiosity, creativity, open-mindedness, and critical questioning. The first step of the course was to introduce the controversy over "cultural literacy." Next, students worked on an oral history, and in class, did some basic exercises in "consciousness raising." In addition, students reported to the class on periodicals targeted at particular ethnic groups, or on stories and films about race, gender, class mobility, etc. Finally, after examining the implications of racial and cultural difference in society, the students wrote a paper exploring the definition, history, and implications of an aspect of cultural literacy. Although the class was not altogether successful, it provided ideas for a revised version of the course which will address questions of white identity and institutional racism, and hopefully reduce students' feelings of guilt and defensiveness. (PRA)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Cultural Literacy
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).