Dis/Posed, or, A Locative Apparatus of Position

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On day four of the two week GA instructor training, we were afforded the honor of having Jonathan Alexander come to speak to us. His talk, “Practical Multimodality: Invention, Revision, Dissemination,” sparked wonderful conversation in the First-Year Writing Program already.

Firstly, it may be worth mentioning that I may or may not be an Alexander fanboy, as may be evidenced by the number of my “Notes” on this blog being readings of his published work. It somehow seems that I’ve always missed moments of meeting Dr. Alexander. In Dr. Banks’ Queer Rhetorics seminar (circa Spring, 2014), Dr. Alexander was slated to Skype into our class the one time I was not able to attend class—later at 4Cs15, I almost caught him a handful of times as he was entering or leaving a space. To say that I am a fan of his work is just to say that over the course of my education, his work has been extremely formative to my thinking about writing and teaching—and that it is not uncommon for a citation of him to appear in a paper I write.

I will likely return to some of Alexander’s main topics in a later post as I’m still letting his thoughts on multimodality set in. For now, I want to inhabit a moment early in his talk. There he talked about learning and teaching disposition—to be attentive to what we are disposed to. Alexander noted that his own learning disposition is to try out what he doesn’t know.

I’ve been thinking a lot about spaces, places, and positions lately, especially in terms of how we come to understand our positional interrelationships. When Alexander moved between the nominal disposition to disposed, I started thinking a little more about this. What does it mean to be dispositioned or to be disposed. I quickly started sketching a bit of framing around this word position and the verb pose and its relationship to many of its prefixes it comes in contact with: sup—, im—, re—, and dis—. These quick sketches prompted me to think of something of a psychoanalytic geography. This, in no way constitutes any deep linguistic or psychoanalytic thought with any degree of seriousness; however, thinking about the locative function of these words provided me with some insight into thinking about myself, writing, and teaching. Each quick etymological work is constituted only of my own interactions with these words and a quick reference of the OED.

Sup (2)Sup

I started doodling around the form position. A quick OED flyby of definitions of position occupy ranging meanings from one’s relationship to space and place, to a title or status occupied (often in terms of employment or sports), to a belief or argument one inhabits. The word is relational and deals with inhabiting and occupying. Additionally, position seems to deal also with sites of tension or difference—where beliefs and arguments come in contact, where social differences touch—making this word one that is as descriptive of other and the boundaries of other/self as it location and occupation. Perhaps that “I” occupies a form of being where “you” isn’t.

When position takes the form of a verb, that interrelationship and contact is put into motion. The definitions it takes involve proposing thesis, setting in place one’s occupation, or locating one’s position. These are sites of contact, moments in which argument occurs, where one is placed, where one is found in place. Interestingly, the act of placing in these definitions of position is acted on the self or subject. Which, again, seems to suggest to me that the “I” can only come to recognize or position itself when in contact with the “you”.

What I hope also to suggest about position is it’s relationship to topoi and place. Topoi as an inventional term within rhetoric often gets used in terms of topic selection in very isolated, easily located and differentiated kinds of ways. The apparatus of locating in position seems to operate similarly: one occupies a position in the concrete singular sense that one occupies a topic. However, thinking of position as invention may offer different forms of thinking than topical invention when one considers position as always in contact—that the positions occupied are always connecting, but also that position touches adjacent meanings.

But what happens when position is taken into other words? Supposition seems to at once denote signification, assumption, and expectation. Much of the present definitions seem to come from assumptions that appear in line with understood facts or operating assumptions that refer back to cultural phenomena. Supposition seems to promote an expectation of outcome or understanding. There is room also within supposition for suspicion and doubt, which I think is important. In terms of locating position within supposition beyond the easy kinds of root-word location, supposition’s arguments, contacts, and settings seem to precede the act of occupation or proposal. The act of assumption draws on preconstituted values and ideas that predate the rhetorical situation.

Position’s locating apparatus may somewhat informed by supposition’s insistence predetermination of outcome and expectation. In some ways, supposition may operate normatively as a normalization of the preconceived. However, and perhaps paradoxically, supposition does not become supposition until the assumption is internalized and all (if any existed) reference to reality is no longer referenced. One may only encounter supposition through the suspicion or interrogating of those assumptions.

Imposition has always been for me a politeness word—something that “I” does not want to be or create for “you”, that “I” recognize “you” as valuable and thus wish to not be an imposition. Imposition has never appeared to me as a negative action, but rather a negative consequence for an action. Imposition’s definitions span acts of layering, arranging, laying hands (in terms of religious Christian terms), attaching, accusing, taxing, or burdening. Imposition is an action of placing on one—placing guilt, duty, obligation—but there is an on top of within the defition. Imposition is additional. The “I” is layered within imposition. There is excess and exhaustion. Still situated within this locative function of position between the “I” and “other,” imposition seems to show enacted the encumbrance of contact with “otherness.” In this way, imposition may be the consequence of resisting, doubting, or moving against what may be the superego’s normalization of position within supposition. Imposition seems to locate movement or occupation outside or beyond or unsanctioned by (sup)position. Perhaps this locative tension of mobility can help name or interrogate the discomfort around naming the tacit, the normalized, ideas around our privileged positions: I think of the backlash I receive when I talk frankly about my whiteness, my maleness, the ways that I am classed, and the privilege those afford.

What then of reposition? Reposition seems to name return to one’s position. I may mention the resting capacity of repose later, but reposition seems to seek that rest that comes with return. That movement out of one’s relational position is exhausting and imposing and that the self can only be at rest when it returns to its social designations. Reposition may help name the exhaustion of sustaining contact—the difficulty of activism and attention.

To return to disposition, the word that initially prompted this exploration, what function does it serve to position? Disposition seems to offer duplicity of the will and the capacity of the self to be willful. Disposition seems to also refer to the “natural” (in a normative sense) arrangement of constituent parts while also referring to the means by which one can dispense with constraints. In the terms that Alexander mentioned disposition, he was referring to one’s tendencies or inclinations. In some ways, this refers to the desires of the self or the conditions by which the self can be satisfied. In my estimation, disposition’s attentiveness is to the self’s orientation. It follows the desire to rest, to move, to be in line, and to occupy. In the locative apparatus of position, disposition may be most closely related to orientation in that it both recognizes the conditions of occupation of a position, but it is also the function by which one feels the boundaries of position. The self comes to know their position to their sense of being in line or oriented with it, or through their restless shifting and movement: disposition names that self-in/out of-place.

While I’ve already written more here than I should, I did want to call attention to the fact that I’ve devoted my attention to the —tion words. What I think is powerful about understanding position as a site of inquiry and invention is that it equally has the power to give us actions. The verbs and all their cases and tenses—pose, suppose, impose, repose, and dispose—equally offer sites for understanding doing, being, and performing. And what of, perhaps, unposed? Is that our site of queering this apparatus? Acknowledging of the candid and/or willfully out of place?

What I think this language does well is a noticing of orientation, body, and action that surround issues of positionality.

What and Who We Sponsor

In EMU’s two week graduate assistant training workshop, we were asked to write our literacy narratives. Below is my draft for that assignment:

Literacy seems to always be a deceptively easy word to define. It may be easy enough to use it as the ways in which one comes to communicate with others—often discussed as being through reading and writing alphabetic texts. However, if literacy is only talked about as reading and writing alphabetic texts, there is something that seems flat and emptied about it. Literacy has the capacity to understand communicative acts and practices as culturally located and imbricated with the technologies used to create or surround such acts (See Haas, 2008; Cushman, 2011; Shipka, 2011).

When I was in preschool, my teacher asked my class what we each wanted to be. Many of my male peers responded with “lawyer,” “doctor,” “astronaut,” or “president.” Many of my female peers replied with similarly interspersed with answers such as “mother,” “wife,” or “princess.” I answered that I wanted to be a mermaid and was immediately informed that this was not an appropriate answer—it is hard to be a successful mermaid in this economic climate—and so I answered with father and was again shot down. Defeated, I answered writer. Whether out of spite, stubbornness, genuine interest, or some premonition of a four-year-old’s intuition, it is an answer that I’ve stuck by ever since.

I include this as an opening anecdote as it at once sets up my journey toward understanding writing and literacy, if simplistically, but also seems to meaningfully come into contact with the boundaries of acceptable literacies that permeate the educational contexts I’ve inhabited since disciplinarily or institutionally. In many ways, my teacher and my answer pushed me in a direction that made visible these demarcations of valued and acceptable literacies within education—I could be a writer because that was something that was understood by my teacher to be something appropriate for a male student proceeding into grade school to pursue.

My family moved from Delaware to Virginia when I was eight, midway through the school year. That year would be the first that I encountered standardized testing. The SOL’s. I failed the test in Virginia history—a subject widely taught in early education in Delaware. By whatever assessment apparatus was used, I landed in a series of “slow track,” remedial classes going forward. This lasted until my family moved to North Carolina when I was twelve, where I would be tested again and placed into all advanced classes. How does this connect to literacy—and why is this writing so episodic? My momentary occupation of this system was yet another encounter of boundaries, of ways of being and knowing that would be valued in an institutional context. This is not to say that this essay should be concerned with the woes of standardized testing—in fact, it was in some of these remedial classes that I was able to play—really play—with writing. I was able to tell stories and communicate through more experimental language, but technologies: I composed through Legos and toys, I wrote an essay through still shots of myself using sign language that I edited post-print, I learned code from a friend and turned in a hacked version of the school’s website as a final.

The writing strategies I’d been able to explore in that setting allowed me to subversively compose in future settings—though often unsuccessfully until later into my undergraduate experience at East Carolina. After hearing many of the questions I had about writing and my interests within English Studies, my mentor, Will Banks, encouraged me to change my area of focus from Literature to Rhetoric and Composition and to apply for a job as a peer tutor in the University Writing Center. The writing center and my classes that focused in rhetoric and composition gave me a vocabulary to talk about writing and to explore the possibility of writing much more formally with instructors and mentors who encouraged playfulness as a form of invention.

But what I’m struck with, even now, is how these literacies I’ve discussed all take place within classrooms for instructors, or are in service of such enterprises. Why haven’t I described the cruising practices I learned in gay clubs and bathhouses? Or the ways in which queer neighborhoods and spaces can be “read” as much as they are navigable or traversable? Or the ways that I learned to code my performance of self with levels of masculinity so that I would appear nonthreatening to the cis/hetero men that I interact with in professional settings? Or the countless other literacies or literacy moments that my cultural positioning as a queer person informs my sense of self and citizenship, my research, and my pedagogy? I feel this is largely because of those interactions with boundaries of acceptability I interacted with earlier on that have been continually reaffirmed. Literacy, with all of its bagginess as a term, within institutional contexts seems to make so much distant, inaccessible, and invisible. Instead, conventional uses of the term literacy seem to only promote a certain list of activities, technologies, and products, promoted by sanctioned professionals, within certain contexts. Subversion of such should only be done cleverly and not too radically in order to avoid discomfort (What would a student think if they knew their instructor had history in the baths?).

However, as a potential literacy sponsor, am I to also affirm these boundaries that surround and contain acceptable literacy? Would that be “professional”—another word that seems coded with implications to appear, perform, and act in ways that support a white, cis/heteropatriarchy (See Cox, 2012)? Are there ways to explore the subversive and potentially disquieting capacity of literacy productively and still set up students for success, in so far as success is measured?

I don’t mean to suggest that my classroom explores the cruising practices of gay men. Though, I do intend to raise the questions surround why it does or does not explore those practices and forms of communication, to raise the questions of what and who we sponsor. I was fortunate to have mentors that sponsored disruptive and subversive literacy practices and I intend to do the same in my own work.

Brief List of Citations

Brandt, Deborah. (1998). “Sponsors of Literacy.” College Composition and Communication, 49(2), 165-185.

Cox, Matthew B. (2012). Through Working Closets: Examining Rhetorical and Narrative Approaches to Building LGBTQ & Professional Identity Inside a Corporate Workplace.

Cushman, Ellen (2011). The Cherokee Syllabary: Writing the People’s Perseverance. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Haas, Angela M. (2008). “Wampum as Hypertext: An American Indian Intellectual Tradition of Multimedia Theory and Practice. Studies in American Indian Literatures, 19(4), 77-100.

Shipka, Jody (2011). Toward a composition made whole. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: University of Pittsburgh Press.

Notes: Allison Carr, “In Support of Failure”

Carr, Allison. “In Support of Failure.” Composition Forum 27 (2013).

failure is cool

Summary:

Carr (re)situates failure from an assessment-oriented opposite-of-success to offer a queer-affective reclamation of failure in writing pedagogy.

Keywords: Failure, Affect, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Composition, Teaching of Writing, Pedagogy

Sources:

Bartholomae, David. Inventing the University. Literacy: A Critical Sourcebook. Ed. Ellen Cushman et. al. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2001. 511-24.

Burger, Edward. Teaching to Fail. Inside Higher Ed. 21 August, 2012.

Quotations:

“[F]ailure is difficult, maybe impossible, to define. When we talk about failure as a profession, we most often talk about assessment-based failure, which we’ve come to understand as an expected consequence of learning… I want to think about failure, then, as an affect-bearing concept… I want to highlight the inherent affectivity of the judgment and insist that when considered in the context of affect/emotion, failure reveals itself to be a deeply complex phenomenon that bears upon one’s private self-concept as well as one’s sense of oneself as a social being”

“[W]hen we think about re-conceptualizing failure, we have to think not only about the personal realm but also about the sociocultural context in which failure is embedded and throughout which it circulates”

“As an outcome of assessment, failure makes us profoundly aware of our place in social and academic strata. It makes the borders of our physical and emotional selves known to us, and it emphasizes the distance between ourselves and others”

  • I want to know what happens when failure isn’t the silent antithesis of success or the final and unspeakable consequence of struggle or deviance against social and/or pedagogical norms;
  • I want to know if it’s possible to fail without being erased, cast out;
  • I want to know what becomes possible when we stop thinking about education as a forward-moving, product-oriented march toward some mark of achievement, and instead we start thinking of it as something bent more toward chaos.

“A pedagogy of failure, then, would have to account for relationality as well as isolation—how all of the parts work on their own as well as how all of the parts work together, how these expectations are formed as well as how they are stretched or upset by the demands of particular contexts”

Notes: William P. Banks, “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.”

Banks, William P. “Written Through the Body: Disruptions and ‘Personal’ Writing.”The Personal in Academic Writing. Spec. issue of College English 66.1 (2003): 21-40.

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Summary:

Banks explores an embodied writing and its challenges to the assumptions compositionists often make about making texts through his attentiveness to texts and composing bodies, and using non-fiction essay styles and fragmentation.

Keywords: Composition, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Pedagogy, Teaching of Writing, Embodiment

Sources:

Fleckenstein, Kristie S. “Bodysigns: A Biorhetoric for Change.”JAC 21 (2001): 761-90.

hooks, bell. Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom. New York: Routledge, 1994.

Quotations:

“I’ve begun to think that “personal” writing (which may or may not be explicitly narrative) is more complicated than “the narrative.” It requires more confidence than I had assumed, and it requires a greater knowledge of “self,” regardless of whether that “self” is unified or fragmented, Cartesian or postmodern” (22).

“[T]he clamoring to get away from an epistemology identified as “expressivist,” the term critical-meaning variously “distant,” “epistemic,” “socially responsible”-has be- come so commonplace as to rival process as the controlling god-term in composition studies. A discussion of “critical thinking” blazes, again, across the WPA-L discussion list even as I sit here editing this text for the last time before I surrender it to the editors of CE. The assumption, I suppose, is that the “personal” isn’t critical, isn’t socially responsible because it encourages a solipsistic narcissism of knowledge production” (22).

“First, violence is always already embodied. The violence, once inscribed on the body, is difficult to erase and, as such, may control the readings we do of ourselves, our experiences, and others. Second, and more important to this essay, embodied writing hedges because the body hedges, moves in fits and starts, pushes toward puberty and holds back, has days without knee pain and days with. Writing through the body lets writing make the same (often) tentative steps the body does, and as readers, we recognize those movements as metaphors of our own lived experience (Turner; Lakoff and Johnson; Fleckenstein, “Bodysigns”)” (25).

“It’s funny how bodies behave … or don’t. When I presented an early draft of this paper, I wanted to look at my audience, but I got nervous. I could feel my ears getting red, especially while reading about Steve and Michael. My body began to take over; it reasserted itself, even though I had thought that, in such a professional context, I could control it. Ah, Kristeva, how right you have been: no matter how we abject our bodies, particularly in the academy, they come back to haunt us. They make their claims on us/for us/in us/outside us. I can’t tell the story above and not know my body and mind are connected, intimately” (28).

“I realize that in sharing my stories, which also make possible the stories of those like me, I could offer these new colleagues and friends lenses through which to revise their own thinking, possibly even the embodied “arguments” they write. My em- bodied writing may require reflection and theorizing in others, the same way theirs makes me constantly reevaluate my understanding of the stereotypes I create for their positions. But the price seems so incredibly high that I often choose not to pay it” (30).

“The value of embodied rhetorics, as opposed to “personal writing,” rests on this distinction: it is, quite simply, impossible (and irresponsible) to separate the producer of the text from the text itself. Our belief that we could make such a separation has allowed masculinist rhetorics to become “universal” in modernist discourses because the bodies producing the discourse have been effectively erased, allowing them to become metonymies of experience and knowledge” (33).

“Embodied writing, which I’ve tried to manifest here, doesn’t follow the form of academic argument necessarily, may even stand starkly against it, or may incorporate it. It’s more like an amalgam of creative nonfiction and critical autobiography, where pieces of the puzzle stick out and the reader must pull them together with careful attention, feeling over the body of the text for symmetries, unities, coherences-which may exist in the most tenuous of ways, or not at all. It speaks to disciplined audiences and goes through a strenuous process of critique and revision. Likewise, the embodiment of my experiences in writing requires different metaphors, different (dis)organizing methods” (38).

William P.Notes: Banks, “The Values of Queer Jackering: What Happens When Student Writers Go Gay?”

Banks, William P. “The Values of Queer Jacketing: What Happens When Student Writers Go Gay?” MEAT Journal 1.2 (Winter 2005–06).

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Summary:

Banks discusses a method of queer(ing) his pedagogy through an assignment in which he had his students write coming-out narratives.

Keywords: Writing Studies, Composition, Pedagogy, Queer, Queer Theory, Queer Rhetorics, Cultural Rhetorics, Minority Rhetorics

Sources:

Holland, Suzanne. “Levinas and Otherwise-than-Being (Tolerant): Homosexuality and the Discourse of Tolerance.” JAC: Journal of Composition Theory 23.1 (2003): 165-89.

Pollock, Della. “Performing Writing.” The Ends of Performance. Eds. Peggy Phelan and Jill Lane. New York: New York UP, 1998. 73-103.

Quotations:

“Honestly, I’m not concerned with a Platonic classroom or pedagogy, one in which the “ideal” assignment will create an “ideal” classroom or student. If nothing else, queer theories have pointed out why such simplistic worlds and teaching situations simply do not exist. In any classroom, there are students and teachers whose lived experiences are far more complex and disruptive than we may realize, but tapping into those experiences can create productive spaces for helping both teachers and students rethink their self-performances, all by way of disrupting the sort of heterosexist narratives that students have been exposed to and mimicked for so many years in school” (1).

“[W]riters do not rely on a definitive, essential self that they always project in their writings. Rather, writers have many options at their fingertips, methods for shifting “self” through changing style, voice, diction, position on a topic, etc. As the Internet has shown us repeatedly, the selves we perform in texts might be utterly unrecognizable to our friends, families, co-workers. Yet for all the postmodern theories of the anti-Cartesian self that we’ve read and studied, well-meaning writing teachers often continue to assume that students’ “transgressions” in texts demonstrate a relatively stable self” (2).

“One thing we must realize, particularly at this moment in history–as many of our students believe that the United States might once have been bad/prejudiced/unfair but now everything is O.K.–is that our students have probably “encountered” an Other, and in this case, an individual who doesn’t identify as LGBT. Part of encounter must involve reflection and processing, at least when that encounter is circumscribed by classroom spaces” (5).

“[A]s a teacher, I also know that moments of learning and experience are intensely rich and complicated. They eschew easy formulations, and often, the complexity of the intellectual work remains “hidden” from the assessment practices we develop” (14).

“Ultimately, our students deserve spaces to interrogate their unexamined positions and to interrogate ours as teachers. I’m talking here about kairotic time, a time that involves both chrono-logics and spatial logics” (16).

Notes: Arthur N. Applebee and Judith A. Langer, “A Snapshot of Writing Instruction in Middle and High Schools”

Applebee, Arthur N., and Judith A. Langer. (2011). A snapshot of writing instruction in middle schools and high schools. English Journal, 100(6), 14-27.

Summary:

In this piece, the authors discuss the findings of the National Study of Writing Instruction, which measured how much students were writing, what they were writing, who was reading their writing, and how they were writing.

Keywords: composition, pedagogy, teaching of writing

Quotations:

“First, students write more for their English classes than for any other subject, and at the same time, they write more for their other subjects combined than they do for English. For papers of a page or less, for example, teachers report requiring 5.5 papers for English during a nine-week grading period, and a total of 8.9 for the other three classes. The differences are smaller for papers of one or two pages (2.6 for English versus 3.5 for the others combined) or three or more pages (1.1 versus 1.1), but the pattern holds” (p. 15).

“Clearly, writing goes beyond the purview of the English teacher; students’ experiences across the curriculum are likely to have an important impact on how they write and the qualities that they consider important in their writing” (p. 15).

“[O]nly 19% represented extended writing of a paragraph or more; all the rest consisted of fill in the blank and short answer exercises, and copying of information directly from the teacher’s presentation—types of activities that are best described as writing without composing” (p. 15).

“When asked how they prepare students for the high-stakes tests they face, teachers reported heavy emphasis on some familiar types of test preparation, including frequent or very frequent “test prep” on the particular types of question that appear on the exam, and using sample questions from old exams or commercial practice materials that present similar items” (p. 19).

“Teachers’ estimates of whether students “frequently” or “almost always” use computers and word processing for the drafts they hand in tend to overestimate how much of students’ work is written in this way” (p. 23).

Notes: Lil Brannon, Jennifer Pooler Courtney, Cynthia P. Urbanski, Shana V. Woodward, Jeanie Marklin Reynolds, Anthony E. Iannone, Karen D. Haag, Karen Mach, Lacy Arnold Manship, and Mary Kendrick, “The Five Paragraph Essay and the Deficit Model of Education”

Brannon, Lil, et al. (2008). The five-paragraph essay and the deficit model of education. English Journal, 98(2), 16.

3 pens on a composition book

3 pens on a composition book

Summary:

The UNC Charlotte Writing Project Collaborative draws on the large body of scholarship and theory in the teaching of writing to critique the continuing and pervasive practice of teaching the five-paragraph essay. Instead, they argue for a pedagogy that does not reiterate the status quo, but offers students a more nuanced understanding of writing.

Keywords: composition, literacy, pedagogy, teaching of writing

Sources:

Knoblauch, Cy, and Lil Brannon. (1984). Rhetorical traditions and the teaching of writing. Upper Montclair: Boynton/Cook.

Quotations:

“There is, according to Halasek, a dangerous paternalism surrounding this pedagogical practice, which stems from objectivist rather than constructivist notions of language and discourse. Such practices, she argues, are repressive acts that compel students to master this one form before proceeding. The premise that this form is somehow ‘foundational’—’an all purpose approach to writing’ (99)—is false because it ignores the generative nature of forming and ‘disregards the intimate relationship among audience, social context, subject, and author’ (100)” (p. 17).

“When students are considered lacking—lacking organization, lacking ideas to write about, lacking understanding—writing in an arbitrary formula merely sustains the deficit perception. Students learn that writing means following a set of instructions, filling in the blanks. Such writing mirrors working-class life, which requires little individual thinking and creativity combined with lots of monotony and following orders. It’s obvious what training the five-paragraph essay is really practice for. Writing, we argue, should not be yet another way to train students to be obedient citizens, but rather provide them with opportunities to develop their thinking as individuals, making meaning through the act of composing” (p. 18).

“A deficit understanding of students would see the diversity of languages and cultures in classrooms as a problem rather than a strength. A deficit understanding labels the language of low socioeconomic students as a problem, often marking them as ignorant. The deficit model labels these same children as remedial or even having learning disabilities. This model is largely responsible for placing minorities or children of the poor in remedial classes. The deficit model gives these children worksheet drudgery and formulaic writing that will occupy the students into passivity” (p. 18).

Questions, Reflections, and Responses:

Lil Brannon is always brilliant and the UNC Charlotte Writing Project is a powerhouse of amazing and talented teachers. This idea of going against the problem with the “common sense” pedagogy of the five-paragraph essay seems to reflect a lot of what teachers of writing have to go up against and the narratives that surround our work. The endeavor of creating a pedagogy that creates this more nuanced sense of writing, that goes beyond the all-purpose approach, deficit model means undertaking an articulation in what we value in writing and changing the “grand narrative” of its instruction.