Author:LeAnne Laux-Bachand, School of Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences, UW Tacoma
Abstract:For my presentation, I will be sharing a first-year writing/composition assignment: reading and responding to the 2009 scholarly article by Vershawn Ashanti Young (Dr. Vay), “‘Nah, We Straight’: An Argument Against Code Switching.” The first-year student population at UW Tacoma comes from diverse racial, ethnic, language, and cultural backgrounds, and many of them are first-generation students who arrive with the false perception that those backgrounds can’t be explored or embraced in a writing classroom. In response, in my FYW courses students learn about traditions and movements in the field of composition – concepts such as having a right to their own language, code meshing, and translingual dispositions – and apply them to their own lives. For example, in their response to Dr. Vay, I invite them to weigh in on code switching and meshing (where do they stand?) and imagine how the events of the last 11 years would influence his article if he were writing it today. This reading’s scholarly, passionate, and anti-racist introduction to code meshing – and our ensuing discussions and projects – is transformative for students: it tells them, at the very beginning of their college careers, that this place is for them and their whole selves. Faculty in other disciplines could apply this inclusive framework to their own classrooms by revisiting the kinds of writing they ask of students and reflecting on how they could not only make space for but also invite a fuller range of their students’ voices.
View a PDF version of the poster in Google Drive to enlarge the image or download a copy.