Abstract: The bias against personal experience manifests in writing courses as privileging the citation of scholars, fearing emotional writing, and equating argumentation with democratic ideals. To value the lives and knowledges of marginalized students, the curricular goals, assignments, and activities for writing courses needs to be reconsidered. Culturally sustaining pedagogy explores, extends, and examines the experiences of students. Meaningful, experience-based, narrative writing assignments are suggested: memoir essays, ethnographic research reports, and multigenre interview projects. Analysis activities challenge students to examine a chosen experience through several scholarly lenses. By adding complex analysis to their writing, students gain a challenging new experience that considers past, present, and future influences upon their identity formation. Experience-based writing assignments make room for home language through dialogue and informal genres that include intentional code meshing and translingualing. This inclusion prompts questions about academic language conflicts and opens discussion about how language represents identity, negotiates hierarchies, and permits agency.
Mack, N. G.
(2023). Marginalized Students Need to Write About Their Lives: Meaningful Assignments for Analysis and Affirmation. Composition Forum, 52.