Mike Rose Essay

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“Entering the Conversation”
Mike Rose’s essay, “Entering the Conversation,” questions the prevailing methods of teaching college level literacy to under-prepared students. The core courses for incoming freshmen “have traditionally served to exclude working-class people from the classroom. It doesn’t, of necessity have to be that way” (12). Rose is trying to prove that an education in the humanities does not have to be exclusive or elitist. Just because remedial students lack literacy skills, it is not through a shortage of intelligence; rather, it is due to poor education and a lack of overall support. Rose’s parents were Italian immigrants who were both poorly educated. He grew up in South Los Angeles, which is an area characterized by its poverty. As a result of his upbringing, Rose’s top priorities did not include academics. Though he managed to float through highschool unchallenged, Rose was not prepared for the demand of college level courses. When his grades began to dip below a C average, Rose knew that he would need help from his professors outside of class. Because of his educational background, Mike Rose was hesitant to visit the faculty for extra help for fear they would view him as “stupid” (11). He soon learned that his teachers encouraged him to seek out help even though it was initially daunting. If Rose did not want to struggle through college with below average grades, he knew that it would be in his best interest to take them up on their offer for help. Labeled early on as a mediocre student, Rose drifted uneventfully through most of his early education. However, newfound determination and a group of dedicated teachers soon pushed Rose to reevaluate himself. This change in perspective proved to be a turning point for Rose who would then go on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University. “The teachers that fate…sent my way worked at making the humanities truly human. What transpired between us was the essence of humane...
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