Writing for a Change: Boosting Literacy and Learning Through Social Action
September 2006, Jossey-Bass
Foreword, Richard Sterling xi
Editors and Contributors xxi
ONE Exploring Student-Driven Learning and Literacy Through Social Action 1
PART ONE Social Action in Practice 9
TWO Power Play 11
THREE Lending Student Voice to Curriculum Planning 19
Dietta Poston Hitchcock
FOUR The Story of the Youth Dreamers: In Their Own Words 25
Mildred Harris, Chantel Morant, Shanta Crippen, Chris Lawson, Chekana Reid, Cierra Cary, Tiffani Young-Smith
FIVE Reflections on the Youth Dreamers 31
SIX Community Action in a Summer Writing Institute 43
Chinwe “La Tanya” Obijiofor
SEVEN Changing Our World 51
Lori Farias, Critics of Society Class
EIGHT Poetry and Power in the Creative Writing Workshop 57
NINE Shall We Dance? 63
Connie Ellard Bunch
TEN The March on John Philip Sousa 67
Elizabeth A. Davis
ELEVEN Social Action and Parent Involvement 73
PART TWO Getting Started with Social Action 79
TWELVE Learning from Social Action: Reflections on Teaching and Social Action 81
THIRTEEN Principles for Practice: What Is Social Action? 87
Jennie Fleming, Ian Boulton
FOURTEEN Recommendations for the Classroom: Before You Start 97
Jennie Fleming, Ian Boulton
PART THREE Stuff You Can Try: Activities for Social Action 107
Metro Map 111
Naming the Group 113
Community Vocabulary 115
Devising the Vision 117
How We Behave in Groups 119
Movie Poster 121
Four Faces 124
But Why? 127
Changing Your Mind 134
The Three C’s 138
Ideal Specimen 142
Force Field Analysis 144
Worst Nightmare 147
The Swimming Pool 151
Resources for Further Reading 157
Kristina Berdan has been a teacher for eight years and currently teaches language arts to seventh graders at the Stadium School in Baltimore,Maryland. She also works with sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade Youth Dreamers at school and is president of the Stadium School Youth Dreamers, Inc., working alongside youth officers. A National Board Certified Teacher, she is also a part-time faculty member at Towson University and a teacher-consultant with the Maryland Writing Project.
Ian Boulton has worked as a trainer and community worker for twenty-five years. He is a partner in The Social Action Company, a group of consultants that use Social Action methods to develop social care and community projects in Eastern Europe.
Elyse Eidman-Aadahl directs national programs and site development for the National Writing Project (NWP) at the University of California, Berkeley. A former high school English teacher and university teacher educator, she has been both a teacher-participant and a national leader in a range of teacher learning networks in the NWP and in other professional organizations. Her founding work with the collaboration between the NWP and the Centre for Social Action grows out of a long-standing interest in teachers’ learning from literacy work and youth work in out-of-school settings.
Jennie Fleming began her working life as a youth and community worker on voluntary and statutory youth work projects in the United Kingdom. Since 1995, she has worked actively to develop Social Action practice at the Centre for Social Action (CSA) at De Montfort University in England. She has been part of the collaboration between the CSA and the National Writing Project from its inception.
Launie Gardner has been a teacher for sixteen years and currently teaches eleventh- and twelfth-grade English, civics, and economics at Truckee Meadows Community College High School in Reno, Nevada. She also serves as co-chair of the board of directors of Rainshadow Community Charter High School, a school that is attempting to integrate interdisciplinary, project-based, and communitybased hands-on learning. She served as director for the Northern Nevada Writing Project and remains involved with its professional development activities focused on Social Action.
Iana Rogers is national programs manager for the National Writing Project (NWP) at the University of California, Berkeley. She has been working with the collaboration between the NWP and the Centre for Social Action since 2001.
Asali Solomon has been working with the National Writing Project collaboration with the Centre for Social Action since 2000. She is currently assistant professor of English at Washington & Lee University in Lexington,Virginia, where she teaches African American literature, composition, and creative writing and often uses Social Action activities with her students.
"This book engages with an integrative framework of literacy acceleration and critical social action." (PsycCritiques, 09/06/2007)"This is the book educators have been waiting for: practitioner guidance on combining literacy education and community problem solving to create a powerful form of service-learning in which students can master critical academic and civic competencies."
—Betsey McGee, former senior program officer, Academy for Educational Development
"An excellent book, celebrating and demonstrating practical social action approaches that support children and young people to make change happen in their schools, in their communities, and in their lives. A timely and vital challenge to educationalists in formal and informal settings on both sides of the Atlantic, invigorating education for empowerment and social change, showing that citizenship can only be learned through doing."
—Bill Badham, development officer, The National Youth Agency (England)
"A perfect combination of inspiration and practical advice. Chock-full of ideas and activities that eat away a sense of powerlessness and turn angst into action."
—Wendy Saul, professor of education and international studies, University of Missouri—St. Louis
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