The Council of Writing Program Administrators held a virtual conference on July 13-14, 2020. I helped facilitate the “Antiracist WPA-ing” session, and I thought I would post the notes from my own little slice of the presentation.
Caveat: I am in no way an expert in anti-racist work, and my thoughts are neither comprehensive nor complete. These are simply student-level considerations I hope that WPAs and instructors consider as they plan their courses. I wanted to highlight the intersectionality that impacts how students experience their time in the classroom–any of these will affect how a student is able to participate and/or be present in class.
- Access and Resources
This is especially vital since so many schools are opting to have online or hybrid semesters this fall.
- Location (no reliable internet access)
- Equipment (no computer at home–some have only phones, some not even that)
- Access (databases and other resources that require subscriptions, including newspapers)
- Time (use of internet might be limited, or equipment might be shared with multiple people)
- Policies (especially attendance and deadlines)
- Transportation (not available or is especially arduous)
- Family emergencies (death, accidents, caretaking, moving)
- Sickness (lack of health insurance, lack of sufficient medical resources locally)
- Work (inflexible employers, unexpected layoffs, exhaustion)
- Food (you can’t think when you’re hungry)
- Social/cultural boundaries (taught to converse or not in particular ways)
- History (previous educational experiences were hostile or insufficient)
- Social grouping (isolation or othering)
- Societal context (anxiety/stress over pretty much anything in the news)
These were just notes I shared as talking points, but I’ve had actual students concerned about one or more of the items above throughout the semester. Unfortunately, one thing will often cause or correlate with another.