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Whose Goals Whose Aspirations

Whose Goals Whose Aspirations: Learning to Teach Underprepared Writers across the Curriculum

Stephen M. Fishman
Lucille McCarthy
Copyright Date: 2002
Pages: 238
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  • Book Info
    Whose Goals Whose Aspirations
    Book Description:

    Ever since Horace Mann promoted state supported schooling in the 1850s, the aims of U.S. public education have been the subject of heated national debate. Whose Goals? Whose Aspirations? joins this debate by exploring clashing educational aims in a discipline-based university classroom and the consequences of these clashes for "underprepared" writers. In this close-up look at a White middle-class teacher and his ethnically diverse students, Fishman and McCarthy examine not only the role of Standard English in college writing instruction but also the underlying and highly charged issues of multiculturalism, race cognizance, and social class.

    eISBN: 978-0-87421-474-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Linguistics, Education

Table of Contents

  1. CHAPTER ONE Introduction: A Kaleidoscope of Conflict
    (pp. 1-16)

    Although the immediate focus of this book is learning to teach underprepared writers in college classes, it raises and explores two of the major questions facing public education as we begin the 21st century: Whose goals should schools pursue? Whose aspirations should they honor? These questions go back at least as far as Horace Mann’s defense of the “common school” in the mid-19th century, but they have drawn increasing attention during the last 45 years as our pupil population has grown more diverse. The myriad answers that have historically been given to these questions are sortable into four general categories...

  2. CHAPTER TWO An ESL Writer and Her Discipline-based Professor: Making Progress Even When Goals Don’t Match
    (pp. 17-64)

    In this chapter, we present the story of Neha Shah, a 23-year-old senior math major and recent immigrant from India. As we describe Neha’s experiences in a writing intensive Introduction to Philosophy class, we attend not only to her reading and writing but also to her goals for the course. Given that Neha’s goals diverge in significant ways from those of her teacher, Steve Fishman, we also explore the relationship that develops between this ESL student and her teacher. Although researchers are well aware that the quality of interpersonal relationships between non-mainstream students and their teachers is crucial to these...

  3. CHAPTER THREE Conflicting Discourses: Teacher and Student Making Progress in a Racialized Space
    (pp. 65-115)

    In the previous chapter, we reported Fishman’s success in helping a recent immigrant, Neha Shah, make progress toward his goals for undergraduate thinking and writing. In this chapter, we describe Steve’s success with another underprepared writer, a pupil with a very different history: 36-year-old, African American, returning student, Ellen Williams. Although Ellen’s improvement with regard to the surface features of her writing was, like Neha’s, modest, the change in her attitude toward philosophy and her ability to use it in personally meaningful ways was quite dramatic.

    Our main finding in chapter 2 was that writing-to-learn was not enough for Neha...

  4. CHAPTER FOUR Common Goals, Deweyan Community, and the Resolution of Freire’s Teacher–Student Contradiction
    (pp. 116-168)

    In our studies of Neha Shah and Ellen Williams we saw clearly the cultural and linguistic chasm that frequently separates teacher and underprepared student. Put differently, we came to see that Fishman’s struggles with Neha and Ellen were as much about overcoming a cultural, class, and/or ethnic barrier as about reconciling different educational goals and aspirations. Thus, we were determined that when another underprepared writer enrolled in one of Fishman’s classes we would pay close attention to the chasm between instructor and pupil: a disjunction that Freire calls the teacher-student contradiction. Indeed, such a student, Andre Steadman, did appear the...

  5. CHAPTER FIVE Conclusion: Sorting Conflict, Weaving Hope
    (pp. 169-182)
    Steve Fishman

    When Fishman asked McCarthy to observe his classroom so he could improve his instruction of underprepared writers, he expected her to help him understand students’ composing processes and ways he might bring student papers in line with Standard American English. As we have shown, things did not turn out to be that simple. Instead, our study of three novice writers led us into debates about the proper function of public education in a democratic society, controversies that have at least a 150-year history in America. As we discussed these controversies, we were forced to consider our own answers to our...

  6. Appendix A: Research Methods
    (pp. 185-188)
  7. Appendix B: Writing Assignments in Introduction to Philosophy
    (pp. 189-197)
  8. Appendix C: Class Reflection Log (CRL) Questions
    (pp. 198-200)
  9. Appendix D: Writing Assignments in Philosophy of Education
    (pp. 201-204)
  10. Appendix E: Triple-Entry Notetaking Assignment
    (pp. 205-205)