I have had the privilege this semester to work with University of Maryland’s Writing for Social Change Program (ENGL292/388C Writing for Social Change Internship). Special thanks to alumnus Dominique and Ashley Foxworth for sponsoring the Foxworth Creative Enterprise Initiative ! This program enabled me to combine service with scholarship, working with ninth grade students at Northwestern High School to explore the ways that writing can be used to affect social change. To culminate our 10-week collaboration with our highs school buddies time together we hosted an evening performance at UMD with the goal of celebrating the voices/ perspectives of the students as well as bring attention to the issue which they chose to write about. The Scholarship in Practice portion of the internship involved a great deal of writing. We explored – through multiple reflections, a literacy narrative, publicity materials for the course, and a synthesis paper. The course also focused on the ability to fluidly switch between “academic, creative, professional and hybrid genres” of writing. The internship culminated in the creation of a website (link here soon!) about the course/performances. The overall goal of our writing and internship was to explore and focus on developing “critical self-awareness of our own relationships with literacy, writing, and dialects of power.” This semester the students chose to write performance pieces about cultural conflict.
My high school buddies chose to do a spoken word performance about student – teacher miscommunication/ misunderstanding; and this choice was based on their own experience with disempowering education within a biology class (teacher for this class was fired but they now are forced to learn a year’s worth of material in order to pass the biology standardized test this month that they need to take and pass in order to graduate).