SRTOLStudents Right to Their Own Language (est. 1974; Conference on College Composition and Communication)
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Due to these many limitations, calls mounted for a reworked version of the SRTOL that would be more in sync with changed cultural and professional circumstances surrounding the teaching of writing.
The limited impact of the SRTOL upon teaching practice and the unwillingness of the 4Cs to do more than pose with the resolution for a touching family portrait is in part due to the constraining effect that resulted from an understanding of the resolution as concerned only with issues of language diversity.
Today the possibilities for SRTOL, always imagined and yet never fully achieved, fall squarely in line with our inadequate responses to the antisystemic nature of sixties social justice movements.
in making the SRTOL's gesture, what has often been overlooked is students' already existing potential and active agency--students' power--as writers, to work with, within, and through language, in their own and others' use of language, to respond to and against the material social conditions of the place in which they find themselves, in order to better that place.
Focusing only on students' language, even in more radical re-considerations of SRTOL means, ironically, that the one question central to students' language rights never gets asked because it is so thoroughly embedded in power relationships: students may have a right to the language of their nurture, but who owns the languages produced in our classrooms and their various material instantiations?
However, what interests me here is that the uses to which we put students' writing in the act of celebration (especially when understood through the lens of a more expansive definition of SRTOL) deny the authenticity of student writing even in the act of insisting upon it.
However, the practical legacy of SRTOL seems to be just the opposite of what was intended.
The focus of the SRTOL initiative was to emphasize that students are partners in a learning process.
As Smitherman notes, the NCTE never adopted the SRTOL resolution, passing only a watered down version; ironically, however, despite the fact that fierce lobbying by the CCCC in order to secure NCTE support ultimately proved futile, many people are still under the impression that the NCTE authored the SRTOL resolution (371-72).
(5.) Smitherman's 1999 retrospective concerning SRTOL demonstrates that 4Cs itself played a role in limiting the impact of the resolution on teaching practice as it flinched in the face of the conservative backlash (364--65).
(6.) In fact, the problem with the "Students' Right" movement seems to have been that its focus was understood to be even more exclusive than the broad category of "the marginalized." Some textbook publishers, for example, rejected a textbook built around a SRTOL pedagogy with the comment that it would appeal only to an African American audience (Wible 462).