Basic Writing, Binaries, and Bridges: Difference and Power in the Production and Reception of Representations of Students

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2008-05-30

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Abstract

Difference and power produce powerful, damaging representations of students. Those representations of students affect representations of teachers, writing instruction, and English studies as a whole. Damaging representations of students come from competing definitions of literacy. Because literacy definitions vary, representations of students vary with some students perceived as the "Other."

This study analyzes difference and power in the production and reception of representations of students, especially writing students. It also analyzes competing definitions of literacy, connecting them to conflicting representations of students. Furthermore, this study promotes alternative representations of students through interview with six variously situated teachers and program administrators. This study concludes that before writing teachers can improve the field, they must critically assess the ways in which its least prepared students are represented.

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