On page 95, Haswell lists the processes a student would have to go through in order to apply "model reading" to his/her own writing.
Does this convince you? Are there other reasons to assign "model" readings?
Like the act of walking, if the human brain has to synthesize all of the acts the human body must experience in order to move one foot in front of the other, the body would cease. Although "[n]one of these steps are beyond demonstrated human capacity, ...none of them occur easily or frequently..." (95). Some of these steps, like walking, are intrinsic; however, like walking, some elements are learned. We are convinced that these steps can happen, but they will not happen in a vacuum or in isolation. The student and the mentor and the field have to be a part of the process.
The most profound other reason to assign "model" reading would be to walk the mall and window shop for different genres.
Haswell dismisses both "imitative" and "formative" models of writing development. What are the reasons, in your own words?
Haswell doesn't totally dismiss both; rather, he recommends combining the two: the external and the internal. It goes beyond handing the students the mentor text and expecting them to deconstruct, recognize the value, and apply the style of the mentor text. This is unrealistic. The beginning writer needs guidance. The model needs to operate under the control of the mentor. The only way the students will understand is if they are shown how to work through the process regardless of the process. This is similar to when Haswell writes that we separate the student from the work. The idea of overlapping the vectors is a romantic idea; that is why he keeps bringing up Wordsworth.
In what ways does literacy instruction, even in the best of worlds, reinforce racism?
"The one sure thing when grappling with the complexity of identity was that labels and assessments and placements couldn't begin to do it justice, which is to say that the focus...was very much on the institution, the source of such reductive labels and simplifications" (O&M 110).
"Rowena has learned to use the five-paragraph theme formulaic pattern" (A&M 95).
Literacy instruction, regardless of students' backgrounds, reinforces racism by constraining their identities to an incredibly structured monolithic standard. Some students' home languages may be different but still clear. It is when the instructor begins labeling errors that the good / bad writing communication begins. Spanish students invert their nouns adjectives; Chinese students have trouble with fusional 'functions;' Japanese students are verb final. This does not constitute bad writing; the students' are understandable if the instructor is understanding.
How can we "educate" faculty and teachers re: linguistic bias?
Who's we? If 'we' is the institution, then, we can offer classes / workshops on dialectical diversity. If 'we' is the faculty, then, we can share anecdotal evidence / lore. If 'we' are the students, then, we can explain our culture's grammatical structures / usage. If 'we' is the classroom, then, we can explore other dialects in our class and in our community.
Agnew & McLaughlin? state, "In no way are we suggesting that African-American students should not gain a reasonable mastery of the conventions of written standard English by the time they graduate college" (p. 98). How could this be accomplished while avoiding the "prerequisite" model of BW and timed test described in their chapter?
Instead of using an isolated examples of students' writing, use a collection of their writings. Start with their voices and move into the structure of academic writing. The students do not come to us 'tabula rasa;' they enter our classroom with backgrounds in media res. We do not need to reinvent the wheel. Instead of using timed writings, the instructors who loop with the students would help the students keep track of their composition portfolios. The assessment will not be an isolated example, but a collection that shows progress.