While grammar is a core aspect of written and oral communication, many find grammar instruction equally frustrating and boring, and as such, grammar receives very little formal attention in the university system (Hoffman). My thesis draws attention to this overlooked, and yet central component of composition, and asks a radical question: “what happens when you try to cross the teaching of grammar and anti-racist pedagogy in the classroom?”
According to the literature, Standard English grammatical practices have a much more prominent role in perpetuating hegemonic ideology than one would think (Phillipson, Inoue, Micciche, Clark, Greenfield). In fact, Standard English grammar’s structural nature and historical lineage of whiteness makes it a perfect candidate for critical deconstruction and examination of privilege and power.
In this work, I capitalize on both grammar’s capacity for larger social exploration and its pedagogical flaws to argue that we as a field consider (a modified version of) a still largely underrepresented grammar pedagogy: rhetorical grammar. I build off of Martha Kolln and Laura Micciche’s conceptions of rhetorical grammar and use the multicultural concept of raising critical consciousness, the sociological lens of colorblind racism, and the linguistics concept of code-meshing to further self-examination of the practices’ gaps in practicing inclusive and equitable pedagogy. Through this lens I develop the beginning steps for a much-needed model of implementation so instructors can better utilize rhetorical grammar to prompt discourse on race and privilege in first year composition classrooms.