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ERIC Number: EJ1100421
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1534-9322
Teaching for Agency: From Appreciating Linguistic Diversity to Empowering Student Writers
Shapiro, Shawna; Cox, Michelle; Shuck, Gail; Simnitt, Emily
Composition Studies, v44 n1 p31-52 Spr 2016
In this article, we build on conversations about linguistic diversity in writing studies, proposing a framework by which instructors and administrators can promote the empowerment of multilingual writers. Our framework, which we call "teaching for agency," recognizes the resources that linguistically diverse students bring to our writing classrooms, but also takes into account these students' needs and goals regarding English language development. We articulate a process in which students gain greater awareness and control of the opportunities for action available to them, and learn to evaluate the effects of their decisions as writers and scholars. Practitioners can help to facilitate this process, we argue, by creating optimal conditions within which students can make informed decisions. After presenting the teaching for agency framework, we describe how we have employed it at our own institutions, through assignments that provide an authentic and relevant rhetorical context for student writing, as well as programmatic policies that offer multiple pathways for student success. By foregrounding agency as a central construct in the teaching of writing, we hope to demonstrate our respect for what students already know and can do with language, and our commitment to expanding every student's linguistic and rhetorical repertoire.
University of Cincinnati. Department of English, P.O. Box 210069, Cincinnati, OH 45221. Tel: 513-556-6519; Fax: 513-556-5960; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Idaho; New Hampshire; Vermont
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A