Dr. Marcelle Haddix will deliver the keynote, “Writing Our Lives: The Power of Radical Youth Literacies and Community Engagement, “ which will highlight the experiences of youth writers, teachers, parents, artists, and community members who partner together to cultivate spaces for authentic writing practices within an urban community through the Writing Our Lives youth writing project, a youth writing project for youth grades 6-12 in the greater Syracuse area. This project has many components, including afterschool writing programs, summer writing institutes, book clubs, digital composing programs, staged theatrical performances, and an annual youth writing conference. Writing Our Lives is an effort to provide youth writers with opportunities to write, create, produce, and perform their stories and experiences in authentic ways and forms.
In her talk, Dr. Haddix will present a community engaged model for teachers to support the everyday, authentic literacy practices of youth writers, particularly those from low-income urban communities and in low-performing school districts. With the demands placed on low-performing schools to meet high stakes standards and various assessment benchmarks, there is little time for authentic writing that captures the interests and experiences of young people. Instead, more emphasis in writing instruction is placed on making sure that students are able to “pass the test” and graduate. These goals do not and should not be mutually exclusive. Writing Our Lives is an example of a community engaged approach with aims to address the problem of the achievement gap for urban youth, one that aligns with Common Core Learning Standards for authentic writing for real purposes and audiences. Dr. Haddix will highlight the voices of the youth writers who have participated in the Writing Our Lives project to discuss the implications of this community engaged and collaborative work for students’ lives and for teaching and learning within school communities. The examples presented will demonstrate how Writing Our Lives is designed to first validate the writing practices that young people engage in within their own lives and to then provide a space to support those practices.
About the Speaker
Dr. Marcelle Haddix is a dean’s associate professor and program director of English education in the Syracuse University School of Education. Her scholarly interests center on the experiences of students of color in literacy and English teaching and teacher education. She also directs the Writing Our Lives project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban youth within and beyond school contexts. Haddix’s work is featured in Research in the Teaching of English, English Education, Linguistics and Education, and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy. She was a fellow in the 2006-2008 cohort of the Cultivating New Voices Scholars of Color fellowship program of the National Council for Teachers of English, and a 2009-2011 fellow for the inaugural cohort of the Scholars of Color Transitioning into Academic Research Institutions (STAR) Mentoring Program of the Literacy Research Association.
Her awards and recognitions include the American Educational Research Association Division K Early Career Award; the National Council for Teachers of English Promising Researcher Award; and the Syracuse University Meredith Teaching Award, one of SU’s most prestigious teaching honors. She earned a Ph.D. from Boston College, a master’s degree in education from Cardinal Stritch University, and a bachelor’s degree in English education from Drake University.