This week I was tasked with reviewing the various position statements that form the framework for the disciplinary practices of compositionists and teachers of English. From this review, I was to create a blog that examines some aspect or aspects of the practices through a lens of my choosing. When I tell y’all this assignment was particularly difficult for me because there was a sense of information overload, I am not exaggerating at all. However, I was able to find two position statements that resonated with me in a unique way. The first statement is the position statement on 21st century literacies, and the second statement is the position statement on undergraduate research practices. The reason these two stood out to me is because technology and research already inform much of what I consider to be my budding philosophy on teaching.
The position statement on 21st century literacies speaks directly to the integration of technology in classroom settings. As a (younger) millennial, I grew up during a time that saw a shift from an era of paper and pencil composition to a world of digital writing. The National Council of Teachers of English takes a clear stance on technology in this position statement. It explicitly asserts that “Active, successful participants in this 21st century global society must be able to [. . .] develop proficiency and fluency with the tools of technology,” (NCTE). I firmly believe that the most successful students are those who learn to work in multiple mediums. Being able to craft a perfectly written academic essay is great, but can you create a blog post, a Facebook status, or a tweet that is academic in nature while adhering to the rules of its medium’s generic form?
Furthermore, I think the position statement of 21st century literacies feeds directly into the position statement on undergraduate research because technology has changed the way in which we research. This is highlighted in the article “Writing Into the 21st Century: An Overview of Research on Writing, 1999 to 2004,” when the authors write, “in recent years, the rapid development of digital technologies has dramatically impacted writing in homes, in schools, in colleges, and in workplaces,” (Juzwik et al 452). As a student, I’ve been fortunate enough to have professors who create research opportunities that utilize technology is multiple ways. While I wouldn’t say, “long gone are the days or library and archival research,” I would say that research methods have become far more diversified.
There are two important points in the position statement that speak to this. First, they say that there should be “support for lower- and upper-division courses that incorporate research or elements of research and thus require special accommodations (e.g., equipment, location, credit hours),” (CCCC). I think that in many ways that support begins in the classroom. By ensuring digital literacy in conjunction with research methods, educators are giving students an edge in the conducting of their own research. Moreover, the CCCC statement says that institutions should provide “Access for spaces and tools for completing undergraduate research, including software licenses, storage for physical and virtual data, poster printers, and so on.” But what good is the access if the students haven’t been taught how to use these spaces and tools effectively?
I think that by bridging 21st century literacies directly into the conversation about research, I will be better able to prepare students to embark on research inquiries.
“CCCC Position Statement on Undergraduate Research in Writing: Principles and Best Practices.” National Council of Teachers of English, Mar. 2017, https://cccc.ncte.org/cccc/resources/positions/undergraduate-research
Juzwik, Mary M., Svjetlana Curcic, Kimberly Wolbers, Kathleen D. Moxley, Lisa M. Dimling, and Rebecca K. Shankland. “Writing Into the 21st Century: An Overview of Research on Writing, 1999 to 2004.” Written Communication, vol. 23, no. 4, Sage Publications, 2006, 451-476.
“The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies.” National Council of Teachers of English, 28 Feb. 2013, http://www2.ncte.org/statement/21stcentdefinition/