Tactics, Resistance, and Bad-Ass Teaching in a Generation 1.5 Basic Writing Classroom

Spencer Salas


This ethnographic narrative recounts a small piece of a larger story of a full-time temporary ESL developmental writing instructor and self-styled bad-ass named Roberta whose charge was to prepare “not-American English speakers” for college level writing courses in North Georgia. Focusing on a critical incident I witnessed early in our relationship involving a spoof of the five-paragraph essay, I theorize the event through neo-Vygtoskian understandings of tactics (Wertsch, 2002) to argue the need for more nuanced representations of ESL developmental writing faculty and their complex and conflicted agency in the face of high stakes testing and institutional policies that perpetuate the notion of ESL writers as inherently inferior to their “native” counterparts.


Postsecondary Remediation; Generation 1.5; ESL Basic Writing

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