Journal 3 for Basic Writing
It would seem that the basic writer has been identified and studied for the past 30 years or so but we have not made much progress with them. From the beginning with Mina Shaughnessy's work at CUNY, basic writers have been labeled and veiwed as detrimental, even going so far as to say they have no place in the academy. Despite the fact that these basic writers had probably been in existence before open admissions, this policy brought them into focus for the academy. Shaughnessy is the pioneer for basic writing and basic writers, we all need to follow her advice and just “Dive in.” Mainstreaming basic writers doesn't really seem feasible to me, these basic writers are on the fringe of society already if it really is their socio-economic situation that has made them basic as Shaughnessy claims. Though we must bring these basic writers up to par, we cannot change their home life. I suppose our learning communities and triads on campus here are sprung from Shaughnessy as well, we attempt to foster learning and knowledge of our students and get to understand where they are coming from rather then where they are. Understanding the foundation will get you to the answer in most situations. The introduction to Basic writing was very informative by Otte & Mylznarek?. The Mainstreaming Basic Writers book was informative as well but I do not know that I can agree with it since I don't think basic writing can really be mainstream. Basic writers are those that drifted off somehow onto a connecting stream then got thrust back into the academy.
I liked the Carter reading as well, I am a high school drop out and I came to Corpus Christi in 2001 as a freshman. I had to take the TASP at the time and I lucked out in English but I had to take a remedial math course. It really wasn't that helpful for me at all, it just made me feel like I probably didn't really belong in the academy, a feeling that I think most Basic writers struggle with. The autonomous model of learning is accurately named, I don't think it fosters real intellectual growth. The alternative, ideological modial of literacy is definitely more relatable then autonomous. People are not educated in a vaccuum and as soon as politicians realize that, maybe we can do away with standardized testing. I did think Carters' discussion of the history of Texas testing was really helpful and informative. I didn't know this aspect of the history even though I am very familiar with Mina Shaughnessy and other basic writing authors. To teach to a test is a circular argument, if you teach to take a test, that is really all of the life skills they will learn. Students need to know that it is okay to think critically, or think outside the box. Standardized tests do not allow for this by their very name and nature.