competency based curriculum as a form of resistance

I just wanted to follow up my comment in class with another clarrifying statement.  The reason I see this model  of math as an example of resistance is because it acknowledges that there are more ways than one to get to the answers.  The usual model of the math classroom is that there is a formula taught, the class would practice  and then they would be evaluated.  This new model puts a problem to the class to solve together, coming up with their own methods of solving it-and that may look different for each student.  As long as they can prove that they can solve the problems they need to solve they can move ahead.  How can this be applied to the writing classroom?  How can we ensure that students are competent yet give them the space to explore and resist?  Seems like a lot of work but with the same old same old methods of teaching writing not proving to be effective (with the pre-college population, at least), it may be time to try something different.

So, is Amber’s plagiarism okay.  I don’t think so.  I do think, however, we can learn something from her.


2 thoughts on “competency based curriculum as a form of resistance

  1. I’m glad you continued this discussion here. I could see going lots of different directions with this in the writing classroom – what if students had audiences beyond the teacher and their classmates and those audiences somehow either contributed to evaluation, curriculum, or even just the dialogue? Or courses could pare down their goals to 3-4 really specific skills and scaffold a class around that (I’m thinking things like what Amber seemed to resist – using sources. Or putting texts into conversation with one another – instead of the structure that’s one paragraph of student+author A; another paragraph of student+author B, etc. Whatever skills the teacher and/or class valued). If the class was small enough (or if there were enough time and/or teachers), maybe the “problem to be solved” math approach could be individualized for student’s writing – the teacher could gather samples both from the student’s recent writing past and from the first few days of class and then in conference draft a plan with that student. I wonder though if it would be more productive/accurate in the case of writing to frame that as “goals to be achieved.”

    Your question about competency and the space to resist is so fascinating and tricky and one I’ve been thinking about ever since Pratt. Is real resistance possible in the classroom? Or maybe a better question would be: how can we recognize resistance without molding/squelching it in the process? Like I asked in my last handout question, is public writing the only answer?

    • I agree-fascinating and tricky. I wish there were some kind of rubric for resistance vs disruptive behavior or a rule book on when it is beneficial for student growth to allow exceptions to rules and when it is not beneficial to anyone. I am still thinking about your question.

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