ERIC Number: ED354523
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1992-May
Reference Count: N/A
Nested Contexts: A Basic Writing Adjunct Program and the Challenge of "Educational Equity."
Conducted at a public university that had long been overwhelmingly Anglo despite being located in a state noted for its linguistic and cultural diversity, an ethnographic study examined one adjunct writing program and the varied students it serves. Data sources were both numerous and varied--data were collected concurrently at the campus level and within the various layers of the program. Two concerns (about academic standards and about cultural separatism) emerged as campus administrators struggled to explain their mixed feelings about the "equity policy" (designed to promote the academic and social adjustment of underrepresented students). Tensions also surfaced repeatedly at the English department and the small-group leader levels. In interviews with writing program administrators, faculty, and small-group leaders about the role of the program, the same dilemmas surfaced again and again--Should small group leaders: (1) consider cultural and linguistic backgrounds of students as resources to be shared or as stumbling blocks to be overcome? (2) act as nondirective facilitators or as directive leaders? (3) provide nurturing, understanding support to students, or insistent, sometimes aggressive prodding? (4) understand that all students must be expected to approximate native-like proficiency, or consider such standards to be inappropriate to a linguistically diverse population? and (5) adopt a quizzical, reflective habit of mind, or offer specific strategies and techniques? The study offers two student portraits (a Latina and a Black male) that suggest some of the kinds of understandings that might have usefully informed the group leaders' work--understandings that extend beyond the urgency of the instructional moment to students' struggles to belong in the academy. (Ninety-five references are attached.) (RS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center for the Study of Writing and Literacy, Berkeley, CA.