Placement Criteria for
English 100, 101, 102, and 110
Course Objectives: The student will (1) understand that literacy is
context-dependent, (2) investigate one or more familiar communities
of practice, (3) articulate the unwritten rules participants must
obey in that community of practice if they want to remain/become
accepted as members, (4) investigate new literacies in order to
articulate the unwritten rules participants must likewise obey (or
at least acknowledge), (5) locate and articulate the points of
contact between familiar literacies and school-based ones, (6)
examine and—where possible--articulate the points of dissonance
between different communities of practice, and (7) put rhetorical
dexterity to use in a variety of contexts for a variety of purposes.
(pdf version of English 100
and Theoretical Framework
Carter, Shannon. "Redefining
Literacy as a Social Practice." Journal of Basic Writing.
Forthcoming (Fall 2006).
Despite multiple and persuasive arguments against
the validity of
doing so, many basic
writers continue to be identified by what Brian V. Street calls
the "autonomous model of literacy," a model
research tells us is as artificial and inappropriate as it is
ubiquitous. This essay describe a
curricular response to the political, material, and ideological
constraints placed on basic writing via
this autonomous model and instead treats
literacy as a social practice. After a brief description of the
local conditions from which our program
emerged, I articulate what I call a "pedagogy of
rhetorical dexterity, the new model upon which our
curriculum is based.
Informed by both the New Literacy Studies and activity
dexterity teaches writers to effectively read, understand,
manipulate, and negotiate the cultural and
linguistic codes of a new community of
practice based on a relatively accurate assessment of another,
more familiar one. The final sections describe
included in a recent
version of our curriculum, as well as selected student responses
to these assignments and readings.
Accepting that a curricular solution to the
institutionalized oppression implicit in much
literacy learning is necessarily partial
and temporary, I argue that fostering in our students an
awareness of the ways in which an autonomous
model deconstructs itself when
applied to real-life literacy contexts empowers
them to work against this system.
The theoretical framework for our Basic Writing
Program is described in much greater
detail in The Way Literacy Lives: Rhetorical Dexterity and the
Basic Writer (forthcoming through State University of New
York Press). View Table of Contents here.
2005-2006 course materials
(described in "Redefining Literacy as a Social Practice" and The
Way Literacy Lives)
Carter, Shannon. "What
Is a Community of Practice?" <http://faculty.tamu-commerce.edu/scarter/CofP.htm>.
Brief essay that describes
the concept "communities of practice" as it functions for new
literacy learners (Audience: basic writing students)
Exit Criteria and
updated January 2008)