Attending to the Margins: Writing, Researching, and Teaching on the Front Lines

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Within the next few years, compositionists can expect the pedagogical borders between first-year composition and basic writing to continue to blur as we attend to students currently on the margins of mainstream academia. Our students will be older, poorer, female, minority, and immigrant; and we must be prepared to experiment with pedagogy that will serve them. This important new book was written to assist with that process.

Attending to the Margins crosses regional, institutional, gender, rank, and racial lines, providing new insight into how best to teach traditionally excluded students. The essays are grounded in ethnographic, quantitative, case-study, and text-based research that reflects the perspectives of front-line practitioners in the field and their interpretations of methodological diversity in composition studies. Some of the topics covered include: orality/literacy, bilingualism, bidialectalism, linguistic prejudice and shame, technological literacy, and ethics of disclosure.

As one of the few sociolinguistically-informed, research-based anthologies in composition, Attending to the Margins demonstrates the most current applications of method and theory. Graduate-level students, writing instructors, writing program administrators, and writing center directors will all find the book essential reading.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867094671
  • Publisher: Heinemann
  • Publication date: 10/12/1999
  • Series: CrossCurrents Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 112
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Valerie M. Balester received her doctorate in English with a specialization in rhetoric in 1988 from The University of Texas at Austin. She also studied English, rhetoric, and composition at The Pennsylvania State University, where she received a Masters in 1982. She became interested in the writing of African-American students when she taught basic writing at Penn State in the late 1970s. In 1988, Balester became Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University. Her teaching experience includes first-year and advanced composition. With the help of Texas A&M graduate students, she founded the department's Writing Center and currently serves as its Executive Director. Her research into the rhetoric of African-American students and its effects on their writing continues.

Michelle Hall Kells is Assistant Professor in the Rhetoric and Writing program at the University of New Mexico. She has ten years college teaching experience. Kells teaches courses in Rhetoric, Composition, Sociolinguistics. Her areas of specialization (civil rights rhetorics, sociolinguistics, and composition/literacy studies) coalesce around problems related to ethnolinguistic stratification and intercultural communication. Kells launched Attending to the Margins: Writing, Researching, and Teaching on the Front Lines (Heinemann-Boynton-Cook, 1999) with Valerie Balester.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Voices from the Wild Horse Desert, M. Kells &


Edge City: Class and Culture in Context A. From Edge City,


Speaking Back with Authority: Students as Ethnographers in the Research Writing Class, D. Dunbar-Odom

Developing Critical Pedagogy for Basic Writing at a CUNY Community College, C. Pari

Talking Across Differences: Building Student/Teacher Dialogue Through Instruction in Computer-Supported Writing Classrooms, M. Palmquist, D. LeCourt & K. Kiefer

Adult Writers, Interdiscursive Linking, and Academic Survival, R. Popken

Abdominal Conditions and Other Cretins of Habit: Hyperfluency and the Acquisition of Academic Discourse, M. Neal

A Nexus of Language and Learning Styles B. Pushing the Margins, A. Anokye

Something of Great Constancy: Storytelling, Story Writing, and Academic Literacy, B. Gleason

Teacher Attitudes Toward African American Language Patterns: A Close Look at Attrition Rates, M. McLaughlin & E. Agnew

Leveling the Linguistic Playing Field in First-Year Composition, M. Kells

Teaching Immigrant Students in the College Writing Classroom, A. Hirvela

Skin Deep: Toward an Equality of Disclosure, S. Dean & B. Wenner with R. Haugabrook

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