Transnational Spaces: Intersections of Cultures, Languages, and Peoples - 50th Anniversary Convention of NEMLA

As the variety of courses we are asked to teach grows both broader and more diverse, spanning everything from developmental reading and writing to advanced literature and theory offerings, expectations of students’ writing skills are likewise growing and diversifying. At the same time, acceptance of linguistic diversity within English, whether regional variations or hybrids, is also on the rise, with many characterising the notion of “correct” grammar and usage as discriminatory and otherwise objectionable, even impractical and outmoded.

In light of these developments, what role do “basics” like grammar play? What portion of instructional time should it occupy, and how can it be integrated with other elements and criteria? How should it be evaluated in conjunction with other criteria? How to introduce, even defend it, before students who have a poor grasp of such basics but have never felt the need to know them? Who is, and who should be, responsible for teaching such fundamentals? How are answers to these questions determined by departmental/ programmatic mandates, the needs and expectations of faculty teaching higher-level courses, our own training, even political views? Finally, since teaching developmental and other required courses is often the territory of adjunct and junior faculty, how is readiness to teach such material to be assessed? This roundtable seeks papers addressing these, and related, questions.