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“For Me, That Future is Jackson State University”: Travis Hunter’s National Signing Ceremony as a Symbol of Critical Pedagogy for Black Youth Resistance

Travis D. Boyce
San Jose State University
San Jose State University, San Jose, California, USA

Michelle Tran
Purdue University
West Lafayette, Indiana, USA

Keywords:  Travis Hunter, National Signing Day, Black youth, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, college football, Jackson State University

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Learning the Game: Individuality and Advancement in the Composition Classroom

Tyler Sheldon
Baton Rouge, LA, USA 

Practices in English Composition are undergoing a gradual and seemingly inexorable shift. Comp, seen by some enterprising students as a forum for exploring creative thought and for bettering oneself as a writer and as a student, has in recent years become plagued by students full of doubt rather than hope. To put it more plainly, some students seem to have acclimated to an educational system that provides reward (in the form of grades) regardless of commensurate effort. In some ways this seems a validating practice—likely many of us, as teachers, enjoy lauding our students for their sheer potential to achieve.  However, in my own composition classroom, I hold firmly to two tenets. I do not regularly give extra credit (lest it lose its value as reward for academic effort), and I do not provide answers to any student questions without first witnessing effort on the part of the student to arrive at an answer themselves. Both principles stem from my unwillingness to “spoon-feed” solutions to my students. If they are to better themselves as students and as writers, they must learn how to conduct independent research, and to venture on their own into the dark forest of databases and decks of the university library. They must learn that curricular and extracurricular life alike can be enjoyed without the lure of extra credit, and that “extra credit” as a concept is like dessert at the end of a meal: it is earned once all regular credit is complete. Furthermore, by allowing students to reflect on a question rather than blurting the answer to them right away, I am fostering the independent thought that students deny themselves when they expect their teachers to open their mouths immediately like pedagogical Pez dispensers. Continue Reading →

Are Nuclear Families the Only People That Count?

Craig Wynne
University of the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C., USA

According to a 2016 United States Census report, 45.2 percent of Americans age 18 and older were unmarried. Projections from the Pew Research Center also indicate that by 2030, 28% of men will have not married before the age of fifty-four. Similar projections also show 23% of women also will have not wed by that same age. These statistics are important because they show that marriage does not hold the same level of importance in people’s minds as it once did, as many people are marrying later, or in some cases, finding happiness in a life outside of marriage. Yet single people are still marginalized in various cultures. Continue Reading →

When the Crisis Hits Home: Helping Students Cope with Illness and Death

Bridget Goodman
Nazarbayev University
Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan

In the previous three columns, I highlighted ways in which social media is providing resources, platforms, and inspiration to continue to educate our students and/or our children during this pandemic.  The presentation of these offerings has been driven by my view, influenced in part by early positive reports out of China, that continuing to teach online can provide structure and a sense of “normalcy” to students and teachers who are forced to remain at home. Continue Reading →

The Coronavirus Crisis Highlights our Vulnerabilities

Bridget Goodman
Nazarbayev University
Astana, Kazakhstan

Image 1: A flyer from the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education thanks participants and shares links to resourcesdeveloped for parents and educators as they transition to online teaching.

In my previous column, I twice referred to “vulnerable” populations—the medically vulnerable, and small businesses, each of which in their own way may be at risk for succumbing to this pernicious virus. The reality is that these are just two examples of needs that are made more visible by this epidemic. Continue Reading →

Coronavirus, Social Media, and Pedagogical Possibilities

Bridget Goodman
Nazarbayev University
Astana, Kazakhstan

There is a saying “may you live in interesting times”, which is intended as a curse. This curse has seemingly come to pass as all around the world many educators like myself sit at home, 6 feet apart from another, trying to plan or adapt lessons for online consumption while outside the classroom where we once taught, a pandemic spreads and a war rages against it. As I scroll through Twitter and Facebook and read links to online news articles through both platforms, I, as an applied linguist, find myself analyzing all the different ways people are talking about this disease. Continue Reading →

Teaching High School Students to Recognize Problematic Narratives

B Mann
Léman Manhattan Preparatory School
Manhattan, NYC, United States

Meg Greenberg Sandeman
Léman Manhattan Preparatory School
Manhattan, NYC, United States

During the 2018-2019 academic year, racist incidents at three New York City private schools garnered mainstream media attention. The New York Times published a series of articles including “Blackface Video Has Elite New York Private School in an Uproar” (Jan. 20, 2019) and “Video with ‘Racist and Homophobic’ Language Surfaces at Elite Private School” (Feb. 25, 2019). The following month, “Racial Controversy Engulfs a Third Elite NYC Private School” appeared in the New York Daily News (March 3, 2019). The authors of each of the three headlines seem to suggest that racist and homophobic incidents are a surprising phenomenon in an urban independent school setting. Herein lies the problem.   Continue Reading →

A Pedagogy of Embodiment: The Life and Work of Queer Playwright Maria Irene Fornés

Tabitha Parry Collins
New Mexico State University
Las Cruces, NM

Memran, M. (Producer), & Memran, M. (Director). (2018). The rest I make up [Motion Picture]. United States: Women Make Movies.


The Rest I Make Up is a documentary about the life and work of Maria Irene Fornés, known to her friends as Irene, who changed the world of playwriting and directing as well as the ways that playwriting instructors teach the craft. This film follows Fornés on a physical journey from New York to Cuba, Miami, and Seattle while simultaneously documenting her memory loss after the onset of Alzheimer’s. Michelle Memran, filmmaker and friend to Fornés, offers viewers an intimate look into the life of a queer, brown playwright whose works continue to be overshadowed by more mainstream voices. 

Key Words: Maria Irene Fornés, Michelle Memran, embodied pedagogy, playwriting Continue Reading →