Promoting Adolescent Literature with Ubuntu during CWP-Fairfield's Young Adult Literacy Labs and Teachers Institutes

Promoting Adolescent Literature with Ubuntu during CWP-Fairfield's Young Adult Literacy Labs and Teachers Institutes

Fairfield University’s Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, director of the Connecticut Writing Project and associate professor in educational studies and teacher preparation in Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) and Men’s Basketball Head Coach Sydney Johnson with students in a sports literacy workshop through CWP.

Game On!: Sports/Activity CWP Writing Lab (l-r): Robel Mertab of Bassick High School, Dr. Bryan Ripley Crandall, Max Sommer of the Hopkins School, Sydney Johnson, Fairfield Stags Men's Basketball Head Coach, and Fairfield Stags Point Guard Aidas Kavaliauskas ’20.

This summer, the Connecticut Writing Project (CWP) at Fairfield University hosted 30 teachers and 200 students (third through 12th grade) at a broad range of writing programs.

Led by Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, associate professor in educational studies and teacher preparation in Fairfield's Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP) and director of the CWP, programs from June through August consisted of two teacher institutes and 12 Young Adult Literacy Labs for grades 9 - 12, including Ubuntu Academy, a literacy lab for immigrant and refugee youth, and Project Citizen: Fresh Th’Inking with the Prose, a writing lab where professional writers guide students to find their voices and write their lives.

“Above all else, we’ve been celebrating the importance of community in our writing processes,” said Dr. Crandall, describing what he hopes students gain from CWP programs. “Writing unites communities, and when communities collaborate, there’s so much more we all have to say.”

This past summer, Dr. Crandall hosted the CWP’s teacher’s institute, made possible through a contribution from the late Professor Vincent J. Rosivach, PhD.  

“He witnessed the work of our teachers and students and wanted to see it continued,” Dr. Crandall explained. “Before he passed, he made a donation making it possible for this year.” 

For educators, Dr. Crandall said he and the CWP programs hope to have emphasized the “importance of listening to youth to inform their own instructional practices.”

The teachers who participated in the summer institute for teaching writing had several opportunities to work alongside young people in the literacy labs — all are published in the program’s annual anthology, POW! Power of Words.

Throughout the workshops, “we reflect through a lens of Writing Activity Genre Research (Russell, 2009) and of 'Ubuntu,' the South African Bantu philosophy for togetherness and community,” Dr. Crandall said. “We explore how young adult literature helps us to build innovative writing communities. A writer becomes a writer, we believe, when he or she feels part of a larger writing community.”

In the vein of Ubuntu, and with the power of community and literacy in mind, Dr. Crandall has organized a free documentary film screening of Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters, which will be open to the public on Thursday, October 11 at 7 p.m. at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts.

Following the screening there will be a Q&A panel discussion with Dr. Crandall, men’s basketball Head Coach Sydney Johnson, the film’s producer Taylor Sharp, and the founder and executive director of Hoops 4 Hope, Mark Crandall.

“The Hoops Africa event at Fairfield will exemplify not only Ubuntu, but what I feel is at the heart of a Jesuit tradition,” Dr. Crandall explained.  “Here is a story of men and women who are giving of themselves for others, working with local, national, and global communities to make the world a better place.”

The film is a collection of stories that celebrates the past, present, and future of basketball in Africa, spotlighting the sport’s impact on African society and its development on the continent. It is scheduled as a kick-off event for the Saugatuck Story Fest, a two-day literary festival to be held in Westport, Connecticut.

Learn more about Hoops Africa and register for the Oct. 11 screening .

Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters Film Screening and Q&A Panel

Date: October 11, 2018
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Quick Center for the Arts

Additional Details:

The Connecticut Writing Project and Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University present a free screening of Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters on October 11, 2018 at 7 p.m. in the Kelley Theatre at the Quick Center for the Arts.  The film is a collection of stories that celebrates the past, present, and future of basketball in Africa, spotlighting the sport’s impact on African society and its development on the continent. It is scheduled as a kick-off event for the Saugatuck Story Fest, a two-day literary festival to be held in Westport, Connecticut.

Following the screening there will be a Q&A panel discussion with: Fairfield University’s Bryan Ripley Crandall, PhD, associate professor in educational studies and teacher preparation in the Graduate School of Education and Allied Professions (GSEAP); Men’s Basketball Head Coach Sydney Johnson; the film’s producer Taylor Sharp; and the founder and executive director of Hoops 4 Hope, Mark Crandall.

Watch the Hoops Africa: Ubuntu Matters Trailer 

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Last modified: 10-12-18 12:00 AM

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