ERIC Number: ED345229
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Mar-20
Reference Count: N/A
Resisting Difference: Student Response in a Multicultural Writing Classroom.
In the past few years, a number of theorists who advocate the study of difference have been debating the purposes and priorities of this approach to educational practice. Investigating values and ethics, particularly issues of race, gender and class, should do more than encourage students to deconstruct dominant ideologies. Tensions inherent in teacher-student dialogue complicate any attempts to promote cultural critique or to effect ideological transformation. Teachers must understand how students resist transformation, and thus how to respond to student resistance. A freshman writing course was designed that asked students to read and write about difference, specifically multicultural perspectives on identity. Students, rather than displaying a resistance to dominant ideologies, tended to see mainstream values and beliefs reflected in the readings. This phenomenon was most evident with regard to the responses to Michelle Cliff's writings. Students chose to ignore the representation of a fragmented self in Cliff's "A Journey into Speech," instead finding a unified world-traveler, one with whom they could identify. Surprisingly, the texts verified what the students already believed, instead of raising doubts, as several student excerpts demonstrate. Students must be provided with critical alternatives to the dominant ideologies, and it may be a good strategy to have students investigate their own resistance to ideological change. By aiming to promote resistance and ideological transformation, the study of difference asks students to participate in the social struggle over meaning. (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Deconstruction; Difference (Concept)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (43rd, Cincinnati, OH, March 19-21, 1992).