Kim Brian Lovejoy, Co-Chair
Elaine Richardson, Co-Chair
Rashidah Jaami Muhammad
Ana Celia Zentella
March 2015 Update
Through the work of the Language Policy Committee, the CCCC and the NCTE passed two language policies, “Students’ Right to Their Own Language” (CCCC, l974, Reaffirmed, 2003; NCTE, 2003) and the “National Language Policy” (CCCC, l988, NCTE, l998), that were designed to set the tone for policy and pedagogy development to support language diversity in the classroom. Despite a plethora of research on language differences in the decades since these policies were adopted, experienced professionals in both organizations continue to express concern about current teaching practices and lack of academic preparation in language diversity of college composition instructors. The Language Policy Committee (LPC) has conducted numerous annual panels and preconvention workshops on language diversity and the teaching of composition, dating from 1988 and including the 2015 Convention. In addition to conducting the Language Knowledge and Awareness Survey of CCCC and NCTE membership and a major research report of this work (1996-2000), the LPC wrote the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric publication, Language Diversity in the Classroom: From Intention to Practice (SIU Press, 2003). It also produced an annotated update of the bibliography to Students’ Right to Their Own Language (2004-06). The Committee is currently working on a new book for the Studies in Writing and Rhetoric series that goes into greater depth on the intersections of language policy and critical pedagogies for language diversity, composition, and literacy studies.
To help teachers identify and implement effective strategies that advance language diversity at their respective institutions and in their respective classrooms, the LPC continues to offer CCCC conferees theory-based/practical strategies to protect language rights and to promote language diversity in the public sphere. On Wednesday, March 18, at the CCCC in Tampa, the LPC offered a half-day workshop entitled “The Risks and Rewards of Linguistically Standing Your Ground: Understanding, Rethinking, and Advocating Linguistic Diversity in the Classroom and Beyond.” Building on the conference theme of “Risk and Reward,” the LPC invited teachers to participate in this workshop devoted to well-designed pedagogical strategies, discussion of institutional practices, and application of techniques geared toward the social nature of writing. To share studies and stories of our innovative methods, as well as successes and challenges, the LPC framed recent theories and conversations in language and writing studies, and link those with writing strategies, assignment and assessment design, as well as curricular approaches for empowering students (Fowler and Ochsner 2013; Kinloch, 2010; Richardson 2003). Workshop facilitators highlighted new research and theories of language and writing instruction that underscore the importance of carving out space for students’ lived experiences and literacy traditions as well as building support networks and practices through culturally relevant teaching that is geared toward “self and collective empowerment” (Richardson 331, 2013; Perryman-Clark, 2012; Wissman, 2011; Kynard, 2010; Winn, 2010). Ideally, teachers will use these strategies, practices, and techniques to build on the intellectual spirit of the “Students’ Right to their Own Language” (SRTOL) resolution and the “National Language Policy.”
The Language Policy Committee is charged to:
Charge 1: Continue to monitor English only and anti-bilingual legislation and policies and devise strategies to protect language rights and promote language diversity for legislators, policy-makers and the public;
Charge 2: Identify effective pedagogies for advancing language diversity and meeting needs of English Language Learners and collect data on departments and programs that effectively address language diversity and needs of English Language Learners;
Charge 3: Continue to update the SRTOL bibliography, develop content for the LPC page at the NCTE website, and offer convention workshops on language diversity and the needs of English Language Learners.
Charge 4: Examine the global and local aspects of language in relation to developments such as globalization, post-colonial conditions, world popular cultures and world Englishes.