Noted educational researcher and activist, Pedro Noguera, proclaimed that we need to ask this question: what gets young people excited about learning? The pointed nature of his question seems critical here. While his concerns were largely aimed at the current K-12 testing machines in New York, his call is easily relatable to higher education. Inspired by Noguera’s ongoing activism and vision for critical education, this year’s FYW research question will be framed with Noguera’s call: what excites our students about writing?
In particular, like with the original question Noguera proposes, there is an underlying assumption that students are writers, do get excited about writing, and that they are not the “other” to teachers and administrators as the sole site of intellectual production. The question does not ask how or why students become motivated, interested, or engaged. In other words, the question does not already assume that students are automatically remedial, disinterested, or incompetent; if, anything, the question assumes that our teaching can create this reality more than any marked, generic, or essentialist construction of "our students."