Table Of Contents
- About the editors
- About the book
- This eBook can be cited
- Table of Contents
- Part I: First Responders: Emergencies and Literacies
- Chapter 1: Long-Haul Writing: Creating Community Amid Crises (Ann E. Wallace)
- Chapter 2: Open Wounds: An Asian American Student’s Experience (Kristina Arevalo)
- Part II: Critical Care: Theorizing Crisis/Polemicizing Panic
- Chapter 3: The (Further) Erosion of Student-Centered Pedagogy: Pandemic Lessons (Ian Barnard)
- Chapter 4: Turning Points: (Re)Defining Crisis in Pedagogy (Tashiya Hunter, Yana Kuchirko, and Erika Y. Niwa)
- Chapter 5: Infowhelmed, Deep Fakes, and Fake News: Understanding Critical Literacy, Now More Than Ever (Alice S. Horning)
- Chapter 6: Write or Flight in Extreme Situations: Instability, Creativity, and Healthy Risks (R.J. Lambert)
- Chapter 7: Performing the Posthuman Professor: The Terrors and Pleasures of Online Teaching (Kelly I. Aliano)
- Chapter 8: The Politics of Paying Attention in the COVID-19 Era (Carrie Hall )
- Part III: Pedagogical Panic Attacks: Teaching to a Happy Place
- Chapter 9: First-Year Transitions in Times of Crisis: Digital Stories of Liminality, Learning, and Connecting (Mery F. Diaz, Karen Goodlad, and Philip Kreniske)
- Chapter 10: Staring at the Sun: Student Choice in Confronting Traumatic Situations (Kim Liao)
- Chapter 11: Wildfire Season and Pedagogical Interventions: West Coast Crises (Kimberly Drake)
- Part IV: Crisis Modes: Affecting and Intellectualizing Bureaucracy in Emergencies
- Chapter 12: Toward Homeostasis in Digital Transition: A Community College Writing Center (Marcel F. Hidalgo-Torres)
- Chapter 13: Centering Emotion at the Writing Center: An Approach to Tutor Training (Nicole I. Caswell and Rebecca E. Johnson)
- Chapter 14: Graduate Writing Support amid Crisis: Write Together at Home (Michelle Crow, Tamar Gutfeld, Leigh York, Benedetta Carnaghi, and Tracy Hamler Carrick)
- Chapter 15: Faculty Inquiry at the Library: Connecting Social Justice and Information Literacy (Vikki C. Terrile)
- Chapter 16: Organizational Resilience in a Community College: Perspectives on Administration During Crisis and Disruption (Meghmala Tarafdar, Sandra Palmer, Denis Bejar, Josephine Pantaleo, and Stephen Di Dio)
- List of Contributors
- Series Index
In 2019, CUNY Central Offices invited scholars from across our urban public university to apply for the Faculty Fellowship Publication Program (FFPP). This program brought untenured faculty together to share work in preparation for publication. The editors (and some contributors) of this collection met as fellows of this group. We began the fellowship prior to pandemic shelter-in-place so we met face to face three times before shifting our final meetings to virtual Zoom sessions. If the initial physical meetings allowed us to review each other’s work and commune over lunch, our virtual meetings offered us some communion during some difficult moments of isolation. Regardless of our meeting modality, we realized we collaborated well and that we were working through a historical moment of teaching. Our collaborative writing labors and generative discussion during this period inspired this collection.
We all valued the importance of literacy (really literacies) and the impact of sound pedagogical approaches, even more pressing in times of crisis. After our work together, we wanted to capture the emergent labors of instructors and administrators during times of emergency. Of course, the immediacy of the novel Covid virus loomed over our thinking, yet we knew that multiple emergencies had influenced classrooms (or should have). Beyond the 2020 global health crisis, students had learned during wildfires, active shootings, terrorist threats, and systemic racism; teachers had innovated their normal teaching praxis to meet students’ needs in that particular moment of duress. When zones of proximal ←xi | xii→development occur under traumatic situations, instructors need to redesign the contact zones where they and their students meet. Emergent contact zones of proximal development demand pedagogical expertise, creative innovation, and sensitive compassion. Our contributors demonstrate all of those practices and we want to thank them (even when, sometimes, their institutions overlook what they bring to the educational table).
In early February 2020, forewarnings of an infectious virus began to appear in U.S. news. By mid-March, epicenters of the disease began on both coasts, soon to spread nationwide. People quickly realized that isolated clusters of the virus could not be contained, so more concrete measures would need to be taken to mitigate the spread of Covid-19. For post-secondary institutions, these rising Covid-19 statistics coincided with the first quarter of their academic calendars, so university and college administrators needed to make decisions quickly about campus closings and conversion of courses to distance learning. Faculty adapted their course curricula to online modalities, and students scrambled to readjust their educational lives to meet burgeoning expectations that no one really had the time to consider carefully or critically. A menacing microscopic red-spiked ball would hover everywhere in our lives and, consequently, educators (at all levels) were lunged headlong into technological platforms that they perhaps avoided, pedagogical approaches that they had evaded, and senses of teacherly selves that they heretofore not explored or embraced.
The effects of COVID-19 were compounded and exacerbated by existing racial disparities in access to resources and discrimination, leading many to dub 2020 as the year of the “Dual Pandemic.” In tandem with the rise of COVID-19, anti-Asian discrimination burgeoned in the United States and abroad. As of August 18th 2021, AAPI has registered over 9,081 incidents of discrimination against Asians in the United States alone, many of which were amplified by ←1 | 2→the racist rhetoric of the Trump administration referring to COVID-19 virus as the “kung flu” and “China Virus.” In May and June, still in the early months of the Covid-19 crises, protests and resistance broke out in response to the killing of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. The U.S. entered an explicit state of racial unrest, and countries across the world joined in protest against systemic racism and, particularly, against police violence toward Black Indigenous People of Color (BIPOC). As reported by the New York Times, Black Lives Matter protests occurred in nearly 550 locations with an estimated 15–26 million people participating in just the U.S. alone. Campaigns emerged for the removal of Confederate monuments and memorials, and calls for anti-racist education grew louder. Desperate times demanded desperate measures. Teachers and administrators responded with statements denouncing anti-Black racism and with resources and training on antiracist approaches to teaching. Contexts of teaching and learning took on paradigmatic shifts for which many of us felt unprepared. Still others avoided, put off, or ignored altogether making changes to their teaching in response to calls for antiracist approaches.
The crises we as teachers faced during the last several semesters has placed a spotlight on the inequities, inadequacies, and inefficiencies that had long existed systemically in higher education. A virus and systemic racism—both invisible to the naked eye—challenged us to rethink our pedagogical roles, strategies, and personas. Alongside ongoing explorations of the need for more antiracist approaches to teaching, the virus bared educational conundrums of the twenty-first century. Both urgent dilemmas exposed what problems we should have already—yet now had to—address. This contagious crisis suddenly infected every part of our lives, while the violence of systemic racism reared its ugly head again and again.
Yet, during this historic time, pedagogical approaches did not and could not receive the full attention needed to best address how the pandemic and ongoing racial unrest of 2020 can and should alter our teaching hereafter. And these crises have emphasized the need to do just that—to carefully and critically revisit and revamp our pedagogies to both anticipate and effectively respond to our world’s crises and injustices in ways that better support our students. Such pedagogical reinvigorations are the goal and result of this collection.
Contributors to this collection were invited to address the following overall inquiry: How have pandemics, socio-political unrest, natural disasters, and social trauma instigated a revisited approach to teaching and learning? But we also asked for more specific areas of inquiry:
- How could the comparison of the teaching in varying catastrophic occurrences inform how we might respond to future events or to the return to our normal classroom contexts?←2 | 3→
- How can narratives (data-based or anecdotal) by teachers and students who have taught and learned during crises teach us about our comprehension about learning, about the power of literacy, about our resilience and compassion?
- What can instructors across the curricula teach us about the effect of disciplinary approaches upon teaching in crisis?
- What can students (or observations about students) teach us about the experience of learning during crisis?
- How are specific groups of students (e.g., racialized, immigrants, special education, commuter) affected by the effects and/or affects of emergency learning?
- What technologies during a crisis help or hinder acts of teaching and learning?
- What approaches to reading, writing, research, and critical thinking have teachers used as interventions in moments of crisis?
- What institutional support do teachers wish they had had during these educational moments of crisis?
- What institutional support do students need/desire during these educational moments of crisis?
- What does crisis do for our teaching strategies, our pedagogical knowledge(s), and our sense of teacherly worth?
Our contributors’ judicious responses to these questions resulted in them bringing pedagogical expertise, administrative know-how, and compassionate sensibilities to our inquiries about pedagogy during crises. They offer a variety of institutional contexts, a mix of historical dilemmas, a range of disciplinary perspectives, and a robust texture of voices and genres. As a result, Literacy and Learning in Times of Crisis: Emergent Teaching Through Emergencies offers its readers a broad contextual pedagogical consensus in which to compare their own teaching and learning experiences as well as the inspiration to tell and analyze their own stories of emerging teaching practices during less than conducive conditions. The contributors to Literacy and Learning in Times of Crisis offer insights from theoretical, historical, and pedagogical lenses and these insights emerge from their academic, scholarly, and personal experiences. If some authors have taught while battling COVID, others reconcile school-based violence. If some have taught the analysis of the discourse of crisis, others critique the missteps of policy-making during calamity. If some have looked at the finesse of micro-teaching at emotional levels, others find the means to develop macro-structures of programmatic curriculum. The authors of this collection offer a broad range of experiences, expertise, and engagement with pedagogy during emergencies that we currently face, but they also frame issues of emergencies that will inevitably ←3 | 4→challenge educators in the future. Literacy and Learning in Times of Crisis highlights some of the endeavors that educators have used to cope with the dilemmas that they and their students face at the turn of the millennium but also offers an archive of ideas and methods of essential educational first-responders that hopefully future teachers will call upon when and if needed.
While this collection may be among the first post-COVID-19 books dedicated to pedagogical approaches aimed at navigating crises, educators have previously explored teaching during emergencies. Scholars of writing studies and beyond have conducted studies and published personal accounts detailing site-specific responses to different national crises like 9/11, Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy, and various mass shootings (Borrowman, 2012; Clinnin, 2020; DeBacher & Harris-Moore, 2016; Johnson et al., 2009; Marback, 2005; Murphy et al., 2005; Piano, 2014; Schlachte, 2020). Some have investigated more individualized and student-specific crises (Payne, 2000; Thompson, 2004), while others have outlined general practices for addressing crises and the traumas involved with experiencing them (De La Ysla, 2014; Hodges Hamilton, 2016). This research provides an important backdrop to the chapters of this collection.
More specifically, prior research on teaching during crisis shares two points of view that merit emphasizing here. First, when it comes to facing crises as teachers, it is not a matter of if but when. Rather than responding haphazardly to crisis situations after the fact, institutions must devote more resources to offer faculty pre-emptive training that will better prepare them to negotiate a diverse range of crises that will inevitably emerge. Second, we need the development and circulation of many more narrative and research accounts that help instructors better fully understand and respond to the nuances of different crises within and beyond their classrooms. This collection acknowledges and attempts to fulfill the pressing gravity of these two important convictions. We hope that the chapters will add to the growing research on teaching and learning during crises so that both teachers and their institutions have additional resources to draw on—ideally prior to being in the midst of another disaster when its immediate challenges make it difficult enough to prevail much less have the time, stability, and space to introspect about and experiment with unfamiliar pedagogical approaches.
Becoming acquainted with the complexities of emotional labor, trauma-informed pedagogy, and antiracist pedagogy, we believe, is integral to sufficiently preparing to teach during emergencies. Ample scholarship exists in writing studies that investigates the inextricable connection between our work and our emotions (e.g., Jacobs & Micciche, 2013; Micciche, 2007). In the recently published book, The Things We Carry: Strategies for Recognizing and Negotiating Emotional Labor in Writing Program Administration, several chapters use the framework of “emotional labor” to examine emergency teaching and how writing program administrators (WPAs) can support teachers during these difficult times (Wooten et al., 2020). ←4 | 5→In recounting her experience leading a writing program following the 2017 mass shooting in Las Vegas, Kaitlin Clinnin emphasizes the challenges facing WPAs who, during disasters, ultimately “function as programmatic crisis responders and perform unrecognized emotional labor in this role, often without the necessary training, compensation, and support to ensure their own mental and emotional safety” (p. 132). Offering a comparable perspective, Carl Schlachte shares his story as an adjunct instructor who felt programmatically unsupported during the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Schlachte draws on interviews with eleven faculty members to illustrate the importance of responding sensitively and emotionally to students (and instructors) during moments of crisis; his research also highlights the regret that in hindsight these teachers felt about their responses to students’ emotional needs in the aftermath of Sandy. Schlachte’s analysis reminds us that even when students are not directly affected by a given crisis, the underlying emotional impact influences their learning potentials. “A sensitive response to disaster,” he thus cautions, “requires a particular emotional response, not just a logistical one” (p. 150). Schlachte’s interviewees reveal that ignoring the disaster as well as students’ particular experiences with it problematically evades our emotional and moral responsibilities to their well-being, while, furthermore, forcing premature disclosure may risk traumatizing students even more. The contributors to Literacy and Learning in Times of Crisis expand and amplify this already existing scholarship.
Research on trauma-based pedagogy is likewise crucial for preparing teachers to teach effectively and ethically during emergencies. Students and educators alike may experience retraumatization when engaging with curricula that pertains to painful experiences they endured and/or continue to endure during crises (Carello & Butler, 2014). To avoid retraumatization and approach pedagogy in ways that honors the humanity and dignity of victims of traumas as well as those who are learning about them, Rachel Spear (2014) suggests that educators move away from course objectives that center on trauma and towards discussions that (r)evolve around healing. Spear urges educators to engage in a “wounded healer pedagogy,” which highlights an interconnectedness of learners, and encourages individual and communal healing. Contributors to this collection aptly illustrate how they attuned to students’ difficult circumstances with compassion and responsibility, and also created opportunities for the healing of crisis-induced trauma.
Last, we highlight the importance of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and antiracist pedagogy as necessary foundations for responding to crises in and through our teaching. Anti-racist pedagogy, informed by CRT, grounds curricula and discussions in analyses of structural racism, power relations, and social justice. Such an approach to teaching and learning acknowledges intersectional identities and amplifies the voices of BIPOC communities (Kishimoto, 2018). Readers of this edited collection will find numerous examples of how anti-racist pedagogy can ←5 | 6→be used during emergencies to foster students’ critical analytical skills and self-reflexivity, encourage students to consider how institutional racism differentially shapes individuals during crises, and structure classroom environments that aid students in working through crises productively.
While the chapters of this book showcase diverse approaches to addressing literacy and learning during crises in response to this question, the authors and editors agree that taking a critical approach to teaching is central at all times, including and especially in times of crises. In Race, Politics, and Pandemic Pedagogy: Education in a Time of Crisis, (2021) Henry A. Giroux focuses our attentions on the importance of critical pedagogy in the face of what he calls “pandemic pedagogy”—pedagogical apparatuses of public propaganda that have constrained a democratic vision and promoted popular ignorance. For him, then, pandemic pedagogy is what results when teaching accepts and perpetuates the status quo. With a cautionary tone and undertone of urgency, he states:
This is the space of a pandemic pedagogy, a system of knowledge, ideas, values, and desires that constitute particular identities, relationships, and specific versions of the present and future. These pedagogical practices are produced in the workstations and cultural pathways that function ideologically and politically to objectify people, promote spectacles of violence, endorse consumerism as the only viable way of life, and legitimate a murderous nationalism (p. xii).
Giroux’s description of pandemic pedagogy surveys the discursive mechanisms of how people have received information during the pandemic through news media and other public forums, and he alerts us to the danger of non-critical approaches to assessing and responding to this torrent of breaking news. Succinctly and straightforwardly, he warns, “Pandemic pedagogies circulate plagues of willful ignorance, propaganda, and state-sanctioned lies” (p. 30). On a less cynical note, he presents critical approaches to pedagogy as “the essential scaffolding of social interaction and the foundation of the public sphere. It is a crucial political practice because it takes seriously what it means to understand the relationship between how to learn and how to act as individual and social agents; that is, it is concerned not only with how individuals learn to think critically but also how they come to groups with a sense of individual and social responsibility” (p. xv). As Giroux asserts, we must rely on critical approaches to teaching because “In order to make education central to politics, critical pedagogy should provide the capacities, knowledge, and skills that enable people to speak, write and act from a position of agency and empowerment. In addition, it should energize individuals to think differently so that they can act differently” (p. xvi).
Furthermore, critical pedagogy could be a useful tool through which educators can approach what Deborah Britzman calls “difficult knowledge” during a time of crisis and beyond (1998). Drawing upon a Freudian psychoanalytic framework, ←6 | 7→Britzman coined difficult knowledge as comprising affective and epistemological challenges in teaching and learning about/from social and historical traumas. When learners encounter difficult knowledge from traumatic events, they can experience a breakdown in meaning, an internal crisis, and resistance to knowing that which implicates them in the systemic violence. Many employ a range of psychic defenses to shield themselves from becoming un-done by others’ difficult stories. Racial violence and systemic racism amplified by the pandemic forced educators, staff, and students to grapple with difficult knowledge pertaining to crises in a variety of ways.
Integral to this collection is the development of critical literacies to grapple with difficult knowledge in times of crises and the affective energies to sustain them. Each of the contributors have shared how they created spaces in which they and their students could not only survive under less than conducive times of learning but thrive. In doing so, they centered emotionality in their retellings, offering readers insights into how faculty, staff, and students can channel and embrace a range of emotions during difficult times such as school shootings, wildfires, and pandemics. The contributors do all of the above by critically addressing and responding to crises, often directly with students.
If Giroux as well as others have examined how the crises of Covid-19 and systemic racism have collided (Taylor, 2021) and then how neoliberal powers colluded to exploit the situation, this collection reflects upon how students, teachers, and administrators have navigated their roles through these turbulent times to achieve generative programming, teaching, and learning. When other scholars uncover and critique the roots of these crises, the authors in this book begin with those facts as a means to assess where their institutions and student bodies are located in the emergency situations and then start their pedagogical and administrative labors at those exigent points of need. These momentous crises have not completely upended the pedagogical values and approaches of this collection’s contributors but, instead, have made these educators reconsider how to reapply them with renewed creativity and innovative nuance, to redirect where they would have the greatest impact, and to reevaluate their own pre-existing conditions, biases, and habits. Prior to implementing old pedagogical repertoire under these new dire situations, they pause, albeit only for a precipitous moment, and recompose themselves before asking others to commit to paper.
Teachers’ thoughtful and critical responses to crises—and to the roles of literacy and learning during crises—are far from new. Throughout history and across numerous geographic regions, dedicated educators have repeatedly met the challenges of natural disaster, health crisis, social inequities, and economic austerity. For example, the AIDS virus compelled activist ventures into safe-sex education, Katrina forced teachers to learn how to regroup students after displacement, school shootings have repeatedly called on teachers to find methods of healing ←7 | 8→their students, racial injustice has demanded that we, as educators embodying different positionalities, address generative discomforts, and now this pandemic has nudged us out of the face-to-face classroom and into the virtual one. But the current crises, especially the pandemic, affects us all in unprecedented ways. As Paul Reville (2020), the Francis Keppel Professor of Practice of Educational Policy and Administration at Harvard Graduate School of Education, states:
We’ve certainly had school closures in particular jurisdictions after a natural disaster, like in New Orleans after the hurricane. But on this scale? No, certainly not in my lifetime. There were substantial closings in many places during the 1918 Spanish Flu, some as long as four months, but not as widespread as those we’re seeing today. We’re in uncharted territory. (https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/04/the-pandemics-impact-on-education/)
These crises vs. education situations exemplify only a few of the scholarly inquiries into teaching in a state of emergency. And, as in any exploratory endeavor, the uncharted foists people into the undiscovered, the uncomfortable, and the unresolved. If in uncharted waters lie dragons, in uncharted educational odysseys lie problematic histories, contentious ideologies, and unresolved policy-decisions; dire conditions have brought these issues to the explicit surface. Front and center of those larger issues treads frequently floundering students who need reliable educators to buoy them, never more so than in the midst of an emergency.
In these situations and with an assured (yet sometimes critically skeptical) belief in the value of education, instructors have addressed these challenges and constraints with critical and dispositional labor, manifesting in the forms of creativity, flexibility, and innovation, frequently under extreme conditions, sometimes with or without the support of institutional policies, and always with our students’ potentials and expectations at the forefront of our thinking. Students also have fulfilled their end of the pedagogical bargain, taking agency in their own educational plights and pursuits. In fact, as we know, students, especially those at the margins, have historically organized, built coalitions, and protested for change (Kynard, 2013; McBeth, 2019). This collection strives to honor both sides of these pedagogical endeavors under duress and to analyze when, where, why, and how these classroom leaders resolved teaching and learning problems under less than conducive conditions.
In our normal everyday university proceedings of planning and policy making, literacy educators have often remained unheeded by the powers-that-be; their expertise in teaching has often remained overlooked as superfluous to the workings of the university. However, the panic of the viral onslaught often made professionals of literacy and pedagogy an institution’s go-to experts and, therefore, advisors who could assist less adept professors into the imposed urgency of virtual teaching. These current emergencies have placed us in contact zones that we may ←8 | 9→have never imagined, and these exigent predicaments compel us into zones of proximal development for which we may be unprepared. Teaching, learning, and an awareness of our educational limitations become even more important as we navigate the ins and outs, the contours and trajectories of emergency. As scholars who have constantly revisited the importance of literacy and its discourse-making role, these teachers/scholars of literacy and pedagogy suddenly surfaced as primary resources in the pandemic learning curve of less pedagogically-inclined colleagues. Pedagogy under contagious circumstances suddenly had resurgent and emergent importance under emergency. Our contributors—through their scholarship, critical insights, and experiential reflections—make those pedagogical interventions so pellucidly vital to our current mission.
As a result of the measures taken up to prevent the further spread of this infectious pandemic, educators (at all levels) have been plunged headlong into technological platforms that they perhaps have avoided, pedagogical approaches that they have evaded, and senses of teacherly selves that they have yet to explore or embrace. Something invisible to the naked eye forces us to pause and challenges us to rethink our pedagogical roles, strategies, and personas; it lays bare educational conundrums of the twenty-first century and exposes what problems we should have had already—yet now have to—address. And all the while, teachers and students around the country grapple with the tensions of racism—whether on their own or together, explicitly in the classroom. Under these conditions institutions must have faith in students’ capacities to succeed and offer supportive educational opportunities and a flexibility of institutional procedures that make their continued development sustainable, even after crises are over. Institutions must acknowledge what has worked under these less-than-optimal contexts and consider institutionalizing them. This anthology testifies to the innovations of educators and the resilience of learners under this state of alert.
- XIV, 360
- ISBN (PDF)
- ISBN (ePUB)
- ISBN (MOBI)
- ISBN (Hardcover)
- ISBN (Softcover)
- Publication date
- 2022 (June)
- Pandemic pedagogy Crisis Literacy Virtual platforms Systemic racism Administrative resilience Modalities Pedagogical platforms Trauma-based pedagogy Pedagogical infrastructure
- New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Oxford, Wien, 2022. XIV, 360 pp., 3 b/w ill., 2 tables.