Social Connection and Annotation for More Just Learning Futures | LEARN: Marginal Syllabus, Spring 2021

February 23, 2021
By Educator Innovator

Welcome to LEARN: Marginal Syllabus for Spring 2021. Together via LEARN—Literacy, Equity, and Remarkable Notes—we gather as educators to socially read, annotate articles about literacy and equity, and work toward justice-directed literacy education.

This spring, during our third annual LEARN syllabus, we will read four articles published in the NCTE journal Research in the Teaching of English. The four articles will amplify conversation aligned with the Black Lives Matter at School Year of Purpose that calls on “educators to reflect on their own work in relationship to antiracist pedagogy and abolitionist practice, persistently challenging themselves to center Black lives in their classrooms.”

We will share one article a month, March through June, along with a set of curated annotations and a recorded conversation with Marginal Syllabus partner authors about the article.

We invite you to consider these ways of engaging:

    • Watch the recorded discussion between the partner author/s and invited readers of the month’s selected text.
    • Read a curated set of public annotations that feature colleagues who have been invited to be additional readers as they discuss educational equity.
    • Annotate the articles publicly using Hypothesis to engage in conversation with other readers who also choose to create and respond to public notes.
    • Organize your own private annotation group for a course, book club, or research team to discuss each article using a private discussion setting in Hypothesis.
    • Follow #marginalsyllabus and @writingproject via Twitter for additional information, links to resources, and ongoing announcements.

LEARN is a collaborative project of the National Writing Project (NWP), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the Marginal Syllabus team, with the support of Hypothesis. Since 2016, any article included in the Marginal Syllabus has shared a counter-narrative to educational injustice and, through social reading, has invited educators to critically discuss texts about power, equity, and more just learning futures. This 2021 syllabus was organized with our partners and all partner authors featured in this syllabus have agreed to have their scholarship publicly annotated. Marginal Syllabus uses the social annotation technology Hypothesis to support social reading and annotation, adding multiple voices to critical conversations about equity, literacy, and learning.

The Spring 2021 Syllabus

As the articles below are activated monthly, click on the links to read a blog post with more information about each month’s text, access the annotatable version of each text, and watch the NWP CoLab discussion with partner authors.

Dates Author/s Read, Watch, Access
March Jennifer D. Turner, University of Maryland

Autumn A. Griffin, University of Pennsylvania

“Brown Girls Dreaming: Adolescent Black Girls’ Futuremaking through Multimodal Representations of Race, Gender, and Career Aspirations.” Research in the Teaching of English, 55(2), 109-133. 2020.

Join us for the March 2nd NWP CoLab via Facebook:

April Latrise P. Johnson, The University of Alabama

Hannah Sullivan, The University of Alabama

“Revealing the Human and the Writer: The Promise of a Humanizing Writing Pedagogy for Black Students.” Research in the Teaching of English, 54(4), 418-438. 2020
May Ebony Elizabeth Thomas, University of Pennsylvania “‘We Always Talk About Race’: Navigating Race Talk Dilemmas in the Teaching of Literature.” Research in the Teaching of English, 154-175. 2015
 June Lamar Johnson, Michigan State University “Where do we go from here? Toward a critical race English education.” Research in the Teaching of English, 53(2), 102-124. 2018

Why Social Annotation?

Reflecting on her experiences with the Marginal Syllabus, Michelle King of the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project, has written that “to annotate is to observe, remark, and/or note down. [It is] an act of love because of one’s commitment to stay in relationship with the creator and other readers and observers.” This infographic she created is available as a PDF download to support others in thinking through the question of why annotate together.

Social annotation is a form of digital dialogue. Through social annotation texts become discursive contexts. Digital resources, like Marginal Syllabus articles, are marked up to share information, enable collaboration, and produce new knowledge. The Marginal Syllabus leverages social annotation for justice-directed dialogue in literacy education. By facilitating group reading and social annotation, the Marginal Syllabus provides public and beneficial opportunities for educators’ literacy learning as “annotation can function as both a literary device and means of social inquiry for educators writing to advance their equity-oriented professional learning” (see Remi Kalir’s recent article in English Journal).

How to Participate

Each month this spring, from March through June, we will share a blog post with background information about each featured article, a link to access and read the annotatable version of each text, and an embedded video to watch our webinar discussion with partner authors.

  • Watch the partner author webinar by visiting each month’s blog post, linked via the table above.
  • Read a curated set of public Hypothesis annotations that feature literacy educators discussing educational equity, simply by clicking on the article link within each blog post. When you click to access each article, you’ll be able to read–by default–the text and curated set of annotations side-by-side as a model of equity-oriented discussion.
  • Annotate the articles publicly using Hypothesis to engage in open conversation with other readers who create and respond to public notes. Start by creating a free Hypothesis account.
  • Organize your own private Hypothesis group for a course, book club, or research team to annotate and discuss each article.
  • Follow #marginalsyllabus and @writingproject via Twitter for additional information, links to resources, and ongoing announcements.

Follow #marginalsyllabus and @writingproject via Twitter for additional information, links to resources, and ongoing announcements.

Marginal Syllabus Resources

In addition to information about the 2021 syllabus, we encourage literacy educators to visit the following Marginal Syllabus resources to learn more about our project.