- Paperback: 331 pages
- Publisher: Natl Council of Teachers (February 1, 1997)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0814150292
- ISBN-13: 978-0814150290
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,922,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mina P. Shaughnessy: Her Life and Work
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Even before the publication of her pioneering work, Errors and Expectations, Mina P. Shaughnessy was recognized as the leading figure in the field of basic writing and as a devoted advocate of Open Admissions. Her career at City College and the CUNY Instructional Resource Center spanned the turbulent years of Open Admissions, and throughout the late sixties and seventies she worked with a commitment and intensity to her students that was unparalleled. As Adrienne Rich has said, Mina Shaughnessy knew "that education was not only a means of access to power, but a form of power in itself: the power of expression, of language." Author Jane Maher has recaptured that intensity in her account of Shaughnessy's remarkable personal and professional life. As a result of her work, Shaughnessy came to realize that "the open admissions experiment, wherever it has been seriously undertaken, has yielded a few truths that I... would walk the plank for - and one of them is that the young men and women we call remedial have the capacity (by now the proven capacity) to become competent writers and to do so, if everyone works very hard, even within the harsh limits imposed by the college timetable." Although Shaughnessy's career was relatively brief - she died in 1978 at the age of 54 - her work as a teacher, a scholar, and an administrator has had a profound and permanent effect on basic writing as a discipline and on the education of underprepared students. As she herself said, "Open Admissions is forcing the real question - not how many people society is willing to pay to salvage itself." From her roots in South Dakota to her professional life in New York City - expertly chronicled here by Maher - Shaughnessy won international recognition fighting for the rights of those students who had been denied for so many years the right to a college education.
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Through the use of excerpts from Shaughnessy's own letters and journal, the reader is treated to the momentary and well-earned celebrations and the constant, almost overwhelming struggle of her daily fight. It is inspiring and at the same time disheartening. One individual changed so much by her sheer will and determination. However, some of the elitist inhabitants of the ivory tower still lord over those who were not so fortunate in their early education.
This book is an excellent place for new teachers to begin their education in teaching.