National Writing Project

A Literacy Education for Our Times

By: Rick VanDeWeghe
Publication: English Journal
Date: August 5, 2011

Summary: Richard VanDeWeghe, director of the Denver Writing Project, discusses English teachers' attempts to engender a "capacity to understand other perspectives and cultures" in their students, a skill that's emphasized in the Common Core Standards.


Excerpt from Article

Students who develop knowledge of personal responsibility and the skills that go with it learn about the interconnectedness of problems and solutions, as Martin says (5), and they learn about their own interconnectedness with others. They learn to "give back" in some civic way—to their community, nation, or world, as President Obama has suggested through universal voluntary public service. People who give back learn to be mindful of and to respect alternative, often alien perspectives and values, putting understanding before judgment; they learn that the lot of others is connected with their own human destiny; and they learn to be compassionate with the struggles of other people, other cultures, other nations. They learn, as the great humanistic traditions of the past teach, the meaning that comes with being connected to something larger than themselves.

Copyright © 2011 National Council of Teachers of English. Reprinted with Permission.
VanDeWeghe, Richard. 2011. " A Literacy Education for Our Times" English Journal 100.6 (2011): pp. 28-33

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