Marcelle Haddix from Syracuse University was the third presenter in the department’s speaker series, “the Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life.” Haddix’s presentation was titled  “Are You Still Helping That Community?”: Toward a Publicly Engaged Teacher Education and a Focus on Community/ies, and described this way,

Working from a scholarship-in-action, community engaged framework, Marcelle Haddix will discuss ways that notions of community/ies and public engagement are defined and taken up in English and literacy teacher education. Her talk will feature examples from two areas of scholarship. The first area involves a study of the ways students of color navigate the multiple discourse communities they inhabit as preservice teachers and their construction of teacher identities in the current climate of teacher preparation programs. Specifically, Marcelle will highlight the ways that teacher candidates of color define public engagement and what it means for them to work with/in urban schools and communities. The second examines the experiences of secondary English and literacy preservice teachers enrolled in a Teaching Writing Course where students coordinate and facilitate a community writing event for local middle and high school students. In looking across both areas, her talk will articulate new directions for encouraging community building and public engagement in English and literacy teacher education.

Marcelle Haddix’s faculty page on the Syracuse University website says this about her,

Marcelle Haddix completed her PhD in Education with an emphasis in Literacy, Language, and Learning at Boston College. Her background includes work as a secondary English language arts teacher, college administrator, composition instructor, and teacher educator. Professor Haddix is a critical English Educator who focuses on how to best prepare all teachers for working in culturally and linguistically diverse settings. She teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in literacy and English education. Haddix also directs the “Writing Our Lives” project, a program geared toward supporting the writing practices of urban youth within and beyond school contexts. A highlight of this project is the annual Youth Writing Conference that brings together middle and high school students, teachers, university faculty, and community members.

Haddix’s scholarly interests center on addressing the literacy achievement gap that persists for children of color, particularly among African American boys. Her work is featured in Research in the Teaching of English, Language and Education, and Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, and she is a frequent presenter at annual meetings for the National Council of Teachers of English and the American Educational Research Association. She was most recently selected by the Standing Committee on Research of the National Council of Teachers of English to receive the 2010 Promising Researcher in English Education Award.

Here’s a video of Marcelle Haddix’s presentation. Antero Garcia had this to say about it, “Marcelle Haddix’s presentation as part of the ongoing Literacies of Contemporary Civic Life series was thrilling. A recent graduate, currently teaching in a local school told me this was the talk she ‘needed’ to hear. Likewise, many attendees (both in-person and via email afterwards) shared that they were invigorated and renewed by Dr. Haddix’s frank discussion of the needs of preservice teachers of color, the challenges with wanting to ‘help’ a community, and the possibilities that unfold (to lift a phrase from one of her research participants) when we shift our stances as teachers and teacher educators.”

English Department Communications Intern Brianna Wilkins attended the presentation, and has this to share:

Tuesday March 3, 2013, marked the third speaker series of the semester. We were graced by the presence of Marcelle Haddix, Assistant Professor at the School of Education, at Syracuse University. Before she spoke on her topic for the night, she mentioned that she and Antero Garcia share a lot in common; primarily their love of pop culture, focusing on topics such as their love for television and reality shows. It was nice to see that educators too have their guilty pleasures, and as the audience shared the laughter between Haddix and Garcia, the ice was immediately broken. Early that day, Haddix received the opportunity to visit Pam Coke’s research methods class. She said that she really enjoyed what she witnessed; she then joked that after visiting such a great class, she had great expectations of the audience as we listened and divulged in conversation about the theme of being a publicly engaged educator, and being an active part of the community you that you work with.

From numerous conversations that Haddix has had with prospective educators, it was clear that lot of them are only a part of the community they taught during work hours, but once they clocked out, they go back to living their own separate lives. She focused on the notion that teaching and learning is not relegated to the confines of a of the K – 12 classroom, where teachers are positioned as depositors of knowledge, and funds of knowledge that young people bring to school from their homes and communities are neglected. She insisted that in order for students to better connect with what they’re learning, a relationship of familiarity must be established with both the students, and their teacher.

Having experienced being the only black student in many of her classes back in the 80s and 90s she mentioned that unfortunately not too much has changed since then, primarily in higher education. In conversations that she’s had with students of color, they express that they feel as if they don’t fit in with the majority, and they tend to shy away from the crowd, which diminishes their opportunity to succeed. Her discussion opened the eyes of many, showing that race can become a barrier in the classroom, which leads to unintentional segregation between students and possibly even teachers. We were given ideas that helped us understand that that as a community both parties are helping and learning from each other, and how we should all work to create an environment that is accepting of another; an environment where everyone is comfortable enough to be themselves, and grow together as a community.

~Brianna Wilkins

More about this series: Throughout the spring semester the department will host nationally recognized literacies-based researchers and educators to discuss how literacy and youth civic participation intersect from varying, interdisciplinary perspectives. The speakers will be presenting their work and engaging in dialogue from 5:30-6:30, followed by a brief reception. These events are free and open to the public. All of the speakers will be presenting at the CSU campus in Clark A 205.