Stories Not Stuff

Copy of Radical Youth Literacies-2

Course Documents

Students will revise the course syllabus to meet their needs, develop working agreements that will help build a collaborative classroom community, and develop a grading contract based on labor to work against the inequities and unfairness of traditional grading systems.

“Liquid Syllabus” | Working Agreements | Labor-Based Grading Contract

Course Units

For each unit, students will work together using their funds of knowledge to build units that meet the Teaching Tolerance standards for the unit. Students will also decide how they want to show their learning.

Unit 1: Building a Democratic, Inclusive, Just, and Liberatory Learning Community
Unit 2: Stories of Self: Identities and Small “h” histories
Unit 3: Stories of Us: What and How Does Our School and Community Mean?
Unit 4: Stories of Now: The Personal is Political, or Storytelling as Advocacy

What are “Radical Youth Literacies?”

“Simply put, youth are writers. What becomes radical is the refusal of the dominant narratives that suggest young people, especially urban youth, are not writers and the creation of spaces, both within and beyond school curricula, that support youth literacies.”

–Dr. Marcelle Haddix | Dean’s Professor, Chair of the Reading and Language Arts Department, Syracuse University School of Education.

“Radical Youth Literacies” is a term coined by Dr. Marcelle Haddix to name democratic, inclusive, and liberatory practices and spaces that see all students as writers, presume their competence, and value their stories.  These practices are radical because schools, which prioritize grades and tests scores as measures of achievement, not everyone is seen as writer and not everyone sees themselves as a writer.  The voices and stories of. so many students, especially minoritized students, are silenced by biased, inequitable measures of success that devalue their funds of knowledge.

This class aims to help Writing Center tutors develop the language and the tools to question existing systems and to help them see themselves as writers by valuing their stories, not the “stuff” of school.

In this course, that means:

  • Equity and social justice are foundational and central; anti-racist and anti-bias practices are enacted.
  • Students are trusted and respected as experts on themselves and their learning.  Students are given the. agency to make important choices about their education.
  • Student literacies and funds of knowledge are honored, even if they aren’t typically valued in the school environment.
  • The environment is humanized, allowing all students to feel valid and valued.  Stories are valued over “stuff;” Maslow comes before Bloom.

What’s Different About This Course?


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