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Social Justice, Critical Thinking, & Writing Kate Van Roekel, UA Center for English as a Second Language Amy Sams, UA Center for English as a Second Language.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Justice, Critical Thinking, & Writing Kate Van Roekel, UA Center for English as a Second Language Amy Sams, UA Center for English as a Second Language."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Justice, Critical Thinking, & Writing Kate Van Roekel, UA Center for English as a Second Language Amy Sams, UA Center for English as a Second Language AZ TESOL – October 26, 2013

2 Our Inspiration Chapman, T. K., Hobbel, N., & Alvarado, N. V. (2011). A social justice approach as a base for teaching writing. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy,54(7),

3 A Social Justice Approach as a Base for Teaching Writing  Fosters “an awareness of societal challenges that affect students’ families, communities, and larger society” (p. 539)  Increases students’ abilities to “articulate their experiences, critique their world, and address those identified issues with subsequent action” (p. 539)

4 Students as individuals, community members, and citizens of a wider global community

5 Me, My Community, and the World  What concerns you?  Which of these issues concerns your families and communities?  Do these same issues distress the world on the global level?

6 Me  Narrative  Show relationship between topic and self  Example Topics

7 My Community  Article suggested found poetry or self- created poetry;  We used a cause/effect essay  How issue is manifested in community

8 The World  Expository writing with research support  How the issue is manifested in the larger global community  In our project, we had students write a letter to a decision maker who had power to make change

9 Peer Review 1.Affirmation 2.Solidarity 3.Critique Students discuss definitions & how to know when someone is doing or enacting each word

10 Unit 1: Narrative Essay

11 The Assignment  Foundation for the entire unit  Purpose  “launching point for research and argumentation”  “the context motivating your research and argument later in the course “

12 Challenges: Choosing a Topic  Students’ exposure to ‘social justice’  Lack of experience (age)  Lack of critical thinking (accepting as ‘norm’)  Lack of familiarity (Unfamiliar with world issues)

13 Activities to raise awareness of social justice issues  Worksheet  Definition: injustice / inequality  Framing: as a child / as a teenager / as an adult  Web: choose social justice issue from list – brainstorm examples  Free writing:  Things that don’t seem right to me in the US  Things I’d like to change about my country  Analysis of Examples:  The Atlantic article (“On purposely getting arrested to get life- saving surgery” Mezrich 2013)  NPR This I Believe Narratives

14 Examples of Student Topics  Corruption and Environmental Impact of Mining Operation  Campus Shutdown due to Potential Shooter  Corruption in Education  Bullying  Regional Discrimination  Cost of Healthcare

15 Peer Review  Affirmation  Solidarity  Critique

16 Student Response  Confirmed Chapman & Alvarado’s claims  Developed “awareness of social challenges”  Prepared and motivated students for subsequent projects

17 Student Response  I’m most pleased with this essay because…  “This thing is true and happened near to me. I have feeling about that and this is a problem in the world.”  “This essay makes me remind the details of the thing and re-learn something from that”

18 Unit 2: Cause/Effect Research Essay

19 The Assignment  Purpose  “Develop a research foundation for argumentation”  “Research causes/effects of an issue found in your narrative”  “Consider what you would like to change about the issue, and what you would need to know in order to be able to do so”  Why Just Causes / Effects?  Limited Scope  Scaffolding research requirements  High-intermediate proficiency  Very limited research experience

20 Scaffolding  Teacher Modeling  Poverty  Research Topic Proposal  Topic must be related to narrative and appropriately focused  Supervised Web Research  Extensive discussion of article credibility/reliabilityarticle credibility/reliability  Practice Working with Sources  Quoting, Paraphrasing, Citing, PlagiarismParaphrasingCitingPlagiarism  Process writing  Outline, Drafts, Peer Review

21 Student Topics NarrativeResearch Essay Corruption and Environmental Impact of Mining Operation Campus Shutdown due to Potential Shooter Corruption in Education Bullying Regional Discrimination Cost of Healthcare Economic and Environmental Impact of Mining Impact of Gun Control Laws Impact of Corruption Effects of Bullying Causes of Racism Causes of High Healthcare Costs

22 Unit 3: Argumentative Letter

23 The Assignment  Assignment: You now have the opportunity to argue your position on your issue, using research to support your argument. You will write a letter written to a person or specific group of people, such as a politician or official organization. Letters are succinct and always include a strong and specific call to action.  The letter must have a specific purpose, address a specific audience, consider counterarguments, and use at least 3 sources (cited on an attached Works Cited page).

24 Craft a Purpose. What should be done about your issue? Be clear and specific.  Cause and Effect Essay  Brainstorming Brainstorming

25  Audience Analysis Activity  Choosing an appropriate audience was very challenging for students Select an audience. Once you decide what should be done about your issue, you must decide who should do it. Choose a specific person or organization. Do research to understand what they value and believe.

26 Do research to find what other people have said about this topic. You can use books, magazines, newspapers, the internet, or library resources. You need to have 3 sources. You may use the sources from Essay 2 if they support your current position.  Students used the sources they found for their Cause and Effect essay as a foundation for this letter.  How does purpose shape how we use research?  Cause/Effect vs. Persuasion

27 Make an argument about your topic that states a claim and a reason. Your thesis must be concise and clear. It must connect to what is important to your audience.  Candy Bar Wars Candy Bar Wars

28 Support your thesis statement, giving specific examples and details from each of your outside sources to support your claim. Use rhetorical appeals (emotion, logic, ethics) to connect to what your audience values.  Model Essays  Connection of evidence to thesis  Importance of connecting thesis to audience’s values

29 Student Topics ResearchLetter Economic and Environmental Impact of Mining Operation Campus Shutdown due to Potential Shooter Corruption in Education Bullying Regional Discrimination Cost of Healthcare To Mining Corporation Advocating More Eco-friendly practices on the basis of economic gain To Jan Brewer advocating stricter gun laws Public letter to fellow citizens advocating resistance to corruption To Principle of former school advocating bully education To fellow citizens advocating understanding between groups To Pres. Obama calling for restrictions on costs

30 Conclusions/Future Implications

31 Conclusions  Extremely valuable in developing students’ ability to look critically at events surrounding them.  Students reported this was the first time they were able to voice dissent regarding issues in their home country.  Prepared students for university-level requirements – analysis/critical thinking  Built sense of community in the class because students shared topics of personal importance

32 Future Implications  Importance of choosing workable topic from the beginning (narrative)  Require students to send/post Argumentative Letter  Evolution of Peer Review


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