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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 51, No. 5, August 2017

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 52, No. 1, August 2017

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Questioning Margins and Centers in Reading, Writing, and Research [FREE ACCESS]

    Scott Jarvie, Mary M. Juzwik, Ellen Cushman, Heather Falconer, and Mandie B. Dunn

  • Writing the Self: Black Queer Youth Challenge Heteronormative Ways of Being in an After-School Writing Club

    Latrise P. Johnson

    Abstract: Although contexts for writing have shifted in recent decades, traditional views tend to focus on and perpetuate standards-driven practices for “effective” writing. Literacy scholars have demonstrated the rich possibilities of the English language arts, and of queer-inclusive practices, but few have discussed how the writing of queer youth might disrupt heteronormativity and affirm gender and sexual diversity. Merging an expanded view of authentic writing and Yagelski’s (2011) writing as a way of being, this study explores the writing of Ava, Sanavia, and Anika, three Black queer youth who participated in an after-school writing club. This study examines how normalized literacy participation and ways of being are interrupted when queer youth write the self. In other words, participants constructed identities through the experience of writing and not the extent to which the content or form of their writing conformed to convention or what was “acceptable” in school spaces. Findings suggest that the act of writing enabled the participants to navigate and disrupt heteronormativity and traditional writing practices while being who/how they were. These findings contribute to research that seeks to interrupt literacy normativity and calls for restorative literacies aimed at enabling Black queer youth to (re)claim who they are through their writing.

  • When School Is Not Enough: Understanding the Lives and Literacies of Black Youth [FREE ACCESS]

    Valerie Kinloch, Tanja Burkhard, and Carlotta Penn

    Abstract: This article discusses findings from two interconnected ethnographic studies on the out-of-school literacy practices of Black adolescent males: 18-year-old Khaleeq from the US Northeast, and 18-year-old Rendell from the US Midwest. The data analyzed derive from their engagements in nonschool, community-based, social justice initiatives that, we argue, represent rejections of deficit narratives about who they are (their racialized and gendered identities) and what they allegedly cannot do (their literacy capacities and capabilities). Utilizing a critical literacy approach that attends to out-of-school contexts, race, and counternarratives allows us to demonstrate how they questioned narratives of failure that unfairly place blame on Black youth and not on the structural inequalities endemic to US society. These narratives include (among others): the widening gap in achievement and high school graduation rates between Black and White male students in the United States; the school-to-prison pipeline and increasing drop-out and push-out rates that impact high school–aged Black males; and the overrepresentation of Black males in special education classes. Khaleeq and Rendell used literacies to question these racialized narratives and their consequences, and to produce counternarratives to negative assumptions about Black adolescents. As a result, we focus on how they cultivated their literacies, nurtured their spirits, and charted their own trajectories within community spaces when school was not enough. This analysis offers implications for how literacy practitioners and researchers can narrow the school community divide by lovingly attending to the out-of-school literacies of Black adolescents.

  • Translanguaging, Coloniality, and English Classrooms: An Exploration of Two Bicoastal Urban Classrooms

    Cati V. de los Ríos and Kate Seltzer

    Abstract: While current research focuses on the marginalization and educational crises of students classified as English language learners—whom we identify as emergent bilinguals (García & Kleifgen, 2010)—this article highlights some of the contexts for learning that help these students thrive academically, culturally, and socially in two urban English classrooms. We explore the concept of translanguaging (García, 2009a; García & Li Wei, 2014) through the writing of two students who took up this practice as a challenge to coloniality in English classrooms. We also outline how two secondary teachers in New York City and Los Angeles adopted a translanguaging pedagogy (García, Johnson, & Seltzer, 2017). Through our analysis of two focal emergent bilingual students, we demonstrate how a translanguaging pedagogy—one that puts students’ language practices at the center and makes space for students to draw on their fluid linguistic and cultural resources at all times—is a necessary step forward in twenty-first-century English instruction. Our findings illustrate that the teachers’ translanguaging pedagogies disrupted the inherently monolingual and colonial tendencies of English classrooms through curricula that promoted metalinguistic awareness and reflection about their own linguistic and cultural identities, and integrated students’ diverse language practices to push back against colonialist ideologies. Our study adds to the nascent body of literature that translates theories of translanguaging into practical pedagogical approaches in secondary English classrooms.

  • Research in Creative Writing: Theory into Practice

    Christine Bailey and Patrick Bizzaro

    Abstract: Since the publication of Wendy Bishop’s Released into Language (1990), the disciplinary boundaries of composition and creative writing have been in question. More recently, as Douglas Hesse’s “The Place of Creative Writing in Composition Studies” (2010) suggests, creative writing has been assumed to exist as a subdiscipline of composition despite efforts during the past decade to develop a new discipline, Creative Writing Studies. The research reported on and analyzed here argues for creative writing’s disciplinary status by using Toulmin’s (1972) definition of disciplinarity as a basis for claiming writers’ aesthetic documents as data and reporting those data in an aesthetic form. In our study, 57 students in first-year composition were asked to write a creative piece concerning how they came to the present place in their lives. Students produced 57 artifacts, including 55 poems, one script, and one visual narrative. These data were subsequently represented in fiction—that is, we used a novel to present our findings in an effort to assert the differences between the ways findings might be rendered in composition as opposed to creative writing. This paper examines what each subject area views as evidence and how that evidence might be most profitably analyzed and discussed in an aesthetic document. We suggest that the process of writing the novel is a method, a mode of analysis, with the novel itself as the articulation of the researchers’ analysis of the original data. Using this method, we studied creative writing aesthetically as creative writing and offer a justification for doing so.

  • Forum: Centering Disability in Qualitative Interviewing

    Stephanie L. Kerschbaum and Margaret Price

    Abstract: Two disabled researchers draw from their experiences conducting an interview study with a population of self-identified disabled faculty members to question some long-held commonplaces about qualitative interviewing. They use the phrase centering disability to emphasize disability as a critical lens and form of embodied experience that has theoretical and methodological implications for qualitative interviewing research design, implementation, and analysis.

  • Announcements [FREE ACCESS]

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