‘Helping students meet the challenges of academic writing’ by Fernsten and Reda is an interesting study how reflective writing practices can be useful for marginalized students, who are struggling with “negative writer self-identity. The possible causes according to Fernsten & Reda are, “issues such as race, class and gender that are marginalized factors for many basic writers”, in addition to the expectations of the dominant academic culture. However, even though Fernsten & Reda illuminated the ‘potential conflicts’ within the academic world, they have failed to provide conclusive evidence that supports their argument regarding their solution. Their reliance on dated research that provides a one sided historical perspective, may no longer accurately reflect current socio/economic issues. In addition, education has been evolving to an inclusive curriculum approach, as immigrated children enter the school system in record numbers. “Persons obtaining legal permanent status in the U.S from the year 2000-2010 are roughly eleven million” (Homeland Security,pg.10/2010). Fernsten & Reda’s confidence of their own limited teaching practices without legitimate comparables from an empirical study leads to their underlying assumptions about the true effectiveness of reflective writing strategies and the causes they believe are associated to a student’s socio/economic background.
Evidence given in Fernsten & Reda’s article, lists the numerous barriers students endure academically due to their socio/economic background. Factors include “negative self-identity of believing they are ineffectual and inept writers and internalize aspects of negative instructor discourses”. (Fernsten & Reda). Additional confirmation under the title, ‘History of basic writers in the USA’ supports this disconnect between the instructor and students. For example, “many assumed that those whose language differed from that of the dominant culture were less intelligent. Even today, that pre-1980’s stereotype used by some to describe struggling writers continues” (Fernsten & Reda). However, these perspectives based on historical events do not adequately present a well- rounded view on academic experiences, a marginalized student or instructor may currently endure. For example, “Setting and maintaining uniformly high
expectations for all students can combat marginalization. The schools included in a study by Ragland, Clubine, Constable, Smith, Council of Chief State School Officers and Texas University (2002) set measurable and high goals for all of its students, while minimizing formal categories and labels. This enables faculty and staff to focus on creating educational opportunities for the students and assess areas for improvement in student and teacher performance. Without tracking and labels, the focus is on the individual, where it belongs, regardless of race or socio-economic status”, ( Carbone II,Steven,2010)
Fernsten & Reda’s reasoning...