Caleb's Reading Response: 11-08-2011
I really enjoyed the readings this week, as O & M offered a nice overview of why the field of basic writing is so scattered, connecting with the majority of the readings we have already done this semester, and the Adler-Kassner & Harrington reading, which brought media into the equation for the first time this semester. Between the readings this week, and the previous readings this semester, it appears that the field of basic writing is a result of the interactions between political, scholarly, and social communities, where media acts as an interpreter and visionary agent, often pushing or persuading audiences to look at one side of the basic writing discussion and typically undermining the education system (I should state that this is not entirely true, as Adler-Kassner & Harrington note the media effect in Missouri). Through this interaction of different communities, different agendas, and viewing the media as a catalyst for positive or negative change, it's no wonder why the field of basic writing has stayed so fuzzy for so long.
I don't know why it never approached my mind, but I never thought to associate the media with the issues in basic writing. I should have figured, because typically where there is political issues, the media is never that far away. I can see how the "literacy crisis" gained so much ground on account of overly hyped media, and why this medium can be so catastrophic or monumental to basic writing programs, as most citizens typically take the information presented through the media as a given, and most media outlets push some form of political agenda, again graying the lines of what and why we need basic writing programs. Through media perversion, basic writing has both gained and lost ground. When documenting the good that basic writing programs accomplish, the media can act as an important agent for social, political, and educational change; however when the media decides to over hype topics perversely, they cause confusion in the general population and distort basic writing issues and practices.
I liked when O & M suggested that academics should work harder to take their ideas, theories, and best practices to the general public as a means to counter bad politics and misinformed media. By taking scholarship to the mass public, basic writing issues can be seen for what they are, programs assessed fairly, and the general public could become much more informed on issues in education, prompting them to make educated decisions politically and socially. I have whined all semester about academics note taking their knowledge to a larger audience, so it was awesome seeing some scholars finally echo this same point. If academics worked more with media outlets, I could only imagine the positive results that could take place. It would definitely go a long way in informing every citizen as to what basic writing issues are, how education issues are also social, economic, and political issues, and what individuals can do to work for positive change.