2012 TYCA-West Conference

The TYCA-West conference was a wonderful event again this year. As always, terrific colleagues gathered at Salt Lake Community College for two days of highly interactive sessions, with plenty of opportunities for lively discussion.

Other participants will find venues to report on other sessions at the conference, but I want to focus on the session that Angela Clark-Oates, Whitney Olsen, and I facilitated: “Using the Framework for Success in Postsecondary Writing to Foster Learning.” After the three of us talked briefly about how representatives from CWPA, NCTE, and NWP developed the document (http://wpacouncil.org/framework) and how we use the document in our own teaching, the other people in the room offered many ideas for how they have used or plan to use or could use the Framework—especially the eight habits of mind: curiosity, openness, engagement, creativity, persistence, responsibility, flexibility, and metacognition. The ideas included the following:

1. The eight habits offer students a lens for writing about competing responsibilities in their lives—the challenge of balancing academic, professional, civic, and personal obligations.

2. Students can write in course portfolios about how they are developing the habits of mind and how they plan to use the habits throughout their lives.

3. Faculty may encounter some resistance to developing the habits of mind, but resistance is not a new phenomenon in postsecondary classrooms.

4. The eight habits offer a means for problematizing the work that we do in our classes.

5. The eight habits could be used as criteria for performance reviews.

The conversation about Framework led to some discussion of the WPA Outcomes Statement for First-Year Composition (http://wpacouncil.org/positions/outcomes.html), with a particular focus on this point in the WPA OS: “Understand the relationships among language, knowledge, and power.” The conversation included observations about the power implications of Standard Written English, decisions about who gets to speak in specific situations, and the power of skepticism.