Mother Tongue English Class
COMBINING PERSONAL EXPRESSION WITH CRITICAL READING & WRITING
The original Mother Tongue English Class—where the Project began—is an academic English and writing class for smart, capable, teen parents who have important things to say. In a discussion-based environment, we cultivate sophisticated literacy skills and critical reading and writing practices.
The class balances guidance in personal expression with academic instruction. Many teen parents need grounding in proper English usage to enter college and/or the economy at the level at which they’re capable of functioning. A better grasp of academic English gives them more tools and greater vocabulary reserves with which to guide their children’s early development.
Good readers make good writers, and reading assignments are chosen for their relevancy to these teens’ experiences, with the underlying premise that readings are of high literary quality. We read a diverse collection of teen-parent-authored essays; fiction, drama, and poetry related to young parenting and outsider status; articles and reflections that address current events and social issues; and pieces that speak to the power of voice, writing, metaphor, and expression.
A public forum
INVITING TEEN PARENTS TO SHARE THEIR STORIES, REFLECTIONS, AND OPINIONS; AND INCREASING COMMUNITY AWARENESS OF THE MANY EXPERIENCES OF TEEN PARENTHOOD
The culminating assignment of each Mother Tongue English Class includes a refined personal essay for publication on the "Mother Tongue" blog of the Santa Fe Reporter, Santa Fe's alternative weekly newspaper. Once a student has published a post on "Mother Tongue," she will be invited to submit an unlimited number of future guest posts and will continue to work with a writer/editor/teacher/mentor to refine her writing for publication.
The first Mother Tongue English Class generated four successful "Mother Tongue" student posts:
Lauren Whitehurst's "Mother Tongue" blog has been a part of the Santa Fe Reporter’s website since 2011 and inspired the Mother Tongue Project.