Multiliteracies and Multilanguages
Tutees can learn "standard" and global Englishes and other languages, traditional and alternative rhetorics, and a variety of literacies. They should learn them all because the world today resembles the enviornment of a panethnic and heteroglossic bodega far more than a monolingual and monocultural big-box store.
-- Wilson, "Stocking the Bodega"
"Stocking the Bodega: Towards A New Writing Center Paradigm" by Nancy Wilson. Praxis: A Writing Center Journal 10.1, 2012.
The dominant discourse of Standard American English is typically taught in colleges and Universities. In the The Norton Book of Composition Studies, John Clifford, Ken McCrorie, and Charles Bazerman argue against the problem of teaching the "standard" discourse to college students. Each author presents different situations and arguments for going against the problem; moreover, the main reason for their positions is in part due to a response to universities and colleges diverse discourses within each discipline (none are linear). John Trimbur, in 2000, also recognized the issue of teaching to the standard discourse and pushed the argument further than the authors mentioned above. By situating his argument in writing center theory and practice he points out the following:
In my view, one of the most glaring oversights in writing center practice—and more generally in writing program design—is the neglect of writing in languages other than English. There is important work to be done correcting this First Worldist deviation by making alliances with modern language teachers, promoting bilingualism in writing, and transforming writing centers from English Only to multilingual ones.
Moving beyond Trimbur and the authors in The Norton, Nancy Wilson examines the importance and incorporation of multi-languages for writing centers, tutors, and students in a multiliteral and rhetorical fashion.
Today, one facet of multiliteracies that readers should take into account is that "the world at large now [has] multiple master discourses depending on the rhetorical situation" (Wilson 1). In attempting to address the multiple master discourses, Wilson presents the idea that writing centers need to be more like bodegas--"able to adjust quickly and deftly to local needs" (1). By recounting her own experiences and others as writing center directors, she explains the importance for writing centers and tutors to encourage and teach students to contextualize writing in their own languages; even more so, to teach and learn new and different discourses outside the students' own discourses.
Thus, we insist for the inclusion of this article as an imperative addition for presenting future teachers, tutors, and composition researchers the theory that the next generation of writing center tutors needs to be open to incorporating diverse and alternative discourses in a multiliteracy and multimodal era.
To further the conversation of community and mulitlanguages in the new millennium, we move on to Paulette Golden who discusses how tutors should be trained, in context, for teaching students to write in a multimodal/ digital form. Click here for Golden.
A video of how multilanguages work within writing and the writing center.