Activist WPA, The: Changing Stories About Writing and Writers

Activist WPA, The: Changing Stories About Writing and Writers

Linda Adler-Kassner

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 0874216990

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Activist WPA, The: Changing Stories About Writing and Writers

Linda Adler-Kassner

Language: English

Pages: 208

ISBN: 0874216990

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


One wonders if there is any academic field that doesn’t suffer from the way it is portrayed by the media, by politicians, by pundits and other publics. How well scholars in a discipline articulate their own definition can influence not only issues of image but the very success of the discipline in serving students and its other constituencies. The Activist WPA is an effort to address this range of issues for the field of English composition in the age of the Spellings Commission and the No Child Left Behind Act.

Drawing on recent developments in framing theory and the resurgent traditions of progressive organizers, Linda Adler-Kassner calls upon composition teachers and administrators to develop strategic programs of collective action that do justice to composition’s best principles. Adler-Kassner argues that the “story” of college composition can be changed only when writing scholars bring the wonders down, to articulate a theory framework that is pragmatic and intelligible to those outside the field--and then create messages that reference that framework. In The Activist WPA, she makes a case for developing a more integrated vision of outreach, English education, and writing program administration.

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Federal Trade Commission were among the federal offices founded during this period; numerous laws such as the Keating-Owen Act, which forbade the sale of products manufactured by children from interstate commerce, and the Workman’s Compensation Act, which provided protection for workplace injuries, were Looking Backward 43 also passed at the federal level. Individual states also continued to pass laws requiring mandatory school attendance, a movement initiated in the mid-nineteenth century.

teachers and education.5 Initially, news coverage of this new exam reflected the same narratives as those in reports like those discussed earlier. That is, they were framed by a narrative that schools are not adequately preparing students for this life; students’ writing abilities, especially, are in decline; educational institutions (teachers, students) have not been able to stop the slide; outside agents (such as the College Board) can provide necessary leverage (in the best case scenario) or

are discussed in mainstream media and online (Rockridge 2007). Michel Gelobter, director of Redefining Progress, “the country’s leading policy institute for smart economics, policies that help protect the environment and grow the economy, also known . . . as sustainability policy” (Gelobter 2006). Redefining Progress was founded in the mid-1990s as a “direction-setting institution” whose mission is to change the ways that Americans think about and work toward the future of the nation, using

(and other) organizing is that action attracts support; 104 T H E A C T I V I S T W PA identifying issues that can lead to action (and, ideally, victory) is important for building and sustaining a movement. Identifying and developing leaders. Who in the community might take leadership on these issues? What kinds of research, mobilizing, or involvement actions might be developed based on these issues? How can these actions cultivate leaders and lead to greater involvement among the community?

germinal essay “What Pragmatism Is.” In that piece, James uses a story about a squirrel circling a tree as a metaphor for the kind of present-moment thinking essential for pragmatic action. James explains that, returning from a hike during a camping trip, he found his companions in a “ferocious metaphysical dispute. . . . The corpus of the discussion was . . . a live squirrel supposed to be clinging to one side of a tree-trunk; while over against the tree’s opposite side a human being was

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