Language differences within and across borders
Most often, borders are thought of as spaces of division that, according to Gloria Anzaldúa, “distinguish us from them.” However, borders also create their own spaces, as “two worlds merging to form a third country — a border culture [where] duality is transcended.” The presence of multiple languages and dialects in border contexts and the language experiences of linguistically diverse writers provides teachers and students with opportunities and challenges as they engage writing in personal, social, educational, professional, and community situations where audience, purpose, and language vary.
Thinking about the transitions between educational levels through the lenses of border theories affords stakeholders with a litany of possible interpretations and epistemologies. However, like discussions of political borders, understanding the threshold of secondary and postsecondary education can prove difficult and problematic. For instance, longitudinal tracking of student progress, particularly in writing, can be theoretically and logistically complex.
Where writing and the teaching of writing take place can be significant, too. For instance, students taking first-year college composition as part of a high school dual enrollment class, and students taking the same course via concurrent summer enrollment at a nearby university, and students taking that class during the first year as college freshman are each receiving markedly different learning experiences in different environments, yet as far as most institutions (and many states) are concerned, they are considered functionally equal. How do we as teachers, theorists, programs, and institutions reconcile the complexity and ambiguity of these arrangements? There are no easy answers to this question.
For our next themed issue, coming out Fall 2017, we want to:
Draw attention to the theoretical, pedagogical, and practical work that educators are doing with and for trans- and multilingual writers.
Theorize the types of borders that exist between and among elementary, secondary, and postsecondary institutions, with a particular emphasis on identifying and understanding these new sites for epistemological work.
Consider how physical spaces inform, advance, and inhibit different types of writing work and learning.
Potential submitters are invited to consider questions like, but not limited to: What are the different “borders” that exist in our educational spaces? How do we navigate through these borders? How do we navigate through writing situations within educational borders based on grade level and how do we navigate through diverse writing situations across borders? How do we reconcile perceived, real, imagined borders? How are writing and the teaching of writing influenced by institutional space?
We are looking, in this special issue, for projects that investigate and reflect on the ways in which we work with linguistically diverse writers across borders and in diverse educational and community contexts. Other implications we’re interested in hearing about include the way teachers prepare for and enact instruction with different types of student groups.
Some interesting questions to address might be, but certainly aren't limited to, the following:
How should we (re)define what is “effective” writing in order to respond to the language and writing realities surrounding our students’ daily lives within and outside the academic context?
How do students’ experiences with language difference shape their attitudes toward writing? How do their experiences with multiple languages and/or dialects affect their lives both in and beyond their formal educational experiences?
How do translingual/multilingual writers and/or second language writers navigate diverse writing contexts? What strategies do they use to negotiate writing and language expectations in personal, professional, and/or social writing situations?
How can classroom pedagogies (e.g., readings, assignments, activities, etc.) help students negotiate and navigate as they write across borders? (linguistic, academic, professional, social?)
How does language difference (shape, impact, improve, undermine, limit) students' minds, lives, and ability to write?
We hope this call will generate many submissions and potentials for conversations. We are interested in publishing work by high school English or writing teachers; college writing teachers; student writers; and collaborations among these groups. Additionally, we are interested in incorporating student voices in innovative and compelling ways. Anyone interested in writing a collaborative piece but unable to find a partner should email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will try to facilitate a collaboration.
Submissions in the form of traditional academic journal articles are welcomed, of course, although we also invite proposals that take the themes of “border” and “mapping” more literally to produce visual, digital, and interactive artifacts.
We will accept project submissions for this themed issue through January 12, 2017, and we will respond to submissions by February 9, 2017. If we request revisions, we’ll need you to resubmit by April 6, 2017.
crosspol: a journal of transitions for hs + college writing teachers is a peer-reviewed online journal that welcomes both traditional and multimodal projects. You can find more details on the journal, including submission guidelines at www.crosspol-journal.com. Please direct any questions to Alyssa and Monty at email@example.com.