The First-Year Writing Program at Western Michigan University advocates culturally relevant pedagogy: Any writing assigned in the program must demonstrate a critical awareness and connection to the direct lived experiences of our students. More specifically, instructors who teach ENG 1050 are encouraged to meet students where they are by encouraging students to draw from personal experiences and heuristics as inventive spaces for making sense of writing composed, produced, and analyzed within different contexts and writing situations.
The FYW firmly supports the goals and mission of Western University. Specifically, pedagogical practices, assignments, and additional curricular materials similarly promote the following goals:
To forge a responsive and ethical academic community
To develop foundations for achievement in pluralistic societies
To incorporate participation from diverse individuals in decision-making
To contribute to technological and economic development
To engender an awareness of and appreciation for the arts
To achieve these goals, the First-Year Writing program employs a genre-studies approach. With this approach, students explore, critique, analyze, and produce different genres of writing, and adapt the theme of cultural diversity to aid this exploration. Furthermore, the genre studies approach promotes academic integrity by employing assignments that require students to engage in responsible composing and research practices.
Course texts further encourage students to explore the relationships between the genres in which writing is composed, and the ways in which arguments, beliefs, and philosophies are constructed in a society comprised of people from varied cultural and ethnic heritages and backgrounds. With the genre studies approach, students also produce different genres of writing and investigate the decisions that various readers and writers make when reading and composing in these genres. And, finally, the genre studies approach provides students with opportunities to compose texts using different technological platforms in ways that enhance writing processes, analytical skills, and creativity. These enhancements may potentially support students’ short and long term career goals.