Thursday, September 24, 2009
"Today, I am calling on all of you to join with us to build a transformative education law that guarantees every child the education they want and need..." -Arne Duncan

Friday, December 5, 2008

Multiple Discourses in a Diversifying Student World
The ELP: Ethnography Learning Paper (one pager)

Luke Schnickel

1. Placing theory into action, I find myself continually trying to accommodate, actuate, and view my practicum class as a place “where inquiry into culture takes place, where dialogue across cultural boundaries occurs” (Fecho 371). My classroom interactions and processes have driven me to inquire into language itself, through the eyes and written works of established Standard English and the multiple discourses presented in school settings. This inquiry has led to further inquiries which now form the basis of my case study.
Case Study Inquiry- Can a teacher maintain a class with multiple discourses in relation to Standard English learning and home dialect, and if so, how?
Inquiry Questions
- What are students’ attitudes and reactions to Standard English?
- How, and when, do students replace S.E. for home dialect (and vice versus)?
- How can a teacher enable a student “to consider and use language in diverse ways (Fecho 368)?
- What is the impact of language upon, and in, a diverse classroom?
- How does language, both S.E. and home dialect complicate student identity?
2. List of Primary Sources
- Blevins Junior High
- Teacher Becky Hauser
- Students Jasmine, Devon, Kristina
3. Major Findings
-In relation to Jasmine- It is the teacher’s job to make sure she has the base of Standard English, and to make certain that her transfiguration of Standard English is not impeded upon, as it does not impede upon her learning.
- The best method to analyze data is through active questioning and review.
-I learned to constantly question how I can help further the content understanding and language development of the students. I found that through the review of what occurs in the classroom, I am able to make progress and modify lessons to fit the students. The constant review and active modification has helped me develop results and start to understand my own inquiry question.
- The most interesting aspect I encountered while researching and analyzing the findings of said research was the fragmentation of student identity through multiple discourses.
4. Implications/further questions
- It takes a teacher who has the belief that students can “transcend the circumstances into which they were born…” (Delpit 156).
- The correction of grammar during class can sometimes force a teacher to lose a student, and also lose a teachable moment.
- It is important to let students’ natural discourse become the one from which they communicate. However, it is important for students to acquire Standard English as a second discourse, so it is up to a teacher to find other methods in which to apply its teaching, such as a grammar chart.
5. List of Secondary Sources
Wheeler, Rebecca S. "Teaching English in the World: Code-Switch to Teach Standard English." English Journal 94.5 (May 2005): -. October 2008. .
Delpit, Lisa. "The Politics of Teaching Literate Discourse." Other People's Children: Cultural Conflit in the Classroom. Ed. New York: New York Press, 1995. 152-156.
Gee, James P. "Literary Discourse, and Linguistics: Introduction and What is LIteracy ." Journal of Education 171.1 (1989): 5-25.
Fecho, Bob. "Critical Inquiries into Language in an Urban Classroom." Research in the Teaching of English 34 (February 2000): 368-395.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The first three moved from theory to practice to the complications of putting the question into practice. The gap missing is long-term use and the actuality of the application. I feel that theory falls upon theory and practice forgets to follow suit, or becomes complicated until a new theory presents itself. It is a cycle where nothing gets completed. I want to address this, but the research so far is lacking.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Language Inquiry

How does a teacher maintain a class with multiple discourses in relation to SE learning and home dialect? The reason I choose this question and then modified it is because I dont completely know how I would handle this situation but Fecho offered me some solutions, or at least directions towards solutions. Fecho talks about students as inquirers into language, and creating an environment in which students question where language comes from and how it works, especially within different settings. He gave three examples of students, Robert, Crea and some other girl whose name I forgot. The three students had different perspectives even though they came from similar environments. through discussion, after Crea gave her speech, the idea of when SE and when home dialect are appropriate came into the classroom. Some students saw SE as a means, some saw it as a problem, and some students offered (in their own words) the idea of crossing the borders and using both. Delpit offers the idea and some methods in which this is possible, and I agree with a chart. The chart would help the different student discourses and Luke is awesome!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Am I stuck in my discourse?

Gee introduces the idea of the big "D", and its composition. A person is comprised of a primary discourse and many secondary discourses, all falling under the umbrella of the big "D." A person's primary discourse is acquired without conscious knowledge. It is natural. Gee states that a secondary discourse can never truly be taught, because it can never be truly acquired. A person has to consciously register that they are trying to enter another discourse. This is where the water gets murky, and I find myself optimistically disagreeing with Gee. Delpit, the author responding to Gee, believes dominant discourses can be learned, and further used to further oneself in the "system." This helps students work outside their primary discourse and fit into a larger culture, without the effort showing. This is the ground on which I choose to stand as a teacher. Even if it is not true, I believe it important to holster the negative and register the positive and the possibilities that can be given to students through teaching students outside of their natural discourse. I also find it important to consider Delpits "not-teaching" and "not-learning" ideas, so when teaching, I can recognize is someone is not-learning or I am making the mistake of not-teaching, that way I can correct the error. I believe that having multiple discourses is what creates a complex and intelligent person, and I plan to offer that to my students.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Quickwrites before blog entry

Gee redefines discourse, or more so clarifies his vision of the defining aspects of the word. He changes discourse to Discourse. What could this possibly mean? Well, in the world, as in education, there are primary discourse and secondary discourse. Primary discourse is the first and foremost, the epicenter of a person’s language being. The primary discourse is first learned by a person, and therefore cannot be replicated. You cannot once again relive childhood and reacquire a language, attitude, style, and personality as a primary discourse. Therefore languages (or more so discourses) that are acquired after the primary discourse are secondary discourses. Both primary and secondary discourses fall under the large “D,” the new definition of Discourse. A person has many discourses in their lives, not just one. Gee argues that a person has many secondary discourses, but only one primary discourse. Now ask yourself, what is your primary discourse and what are your secondary discourses?

Delpit is independent, strong, and forceful. She reminded me of the saying, “stand for something, or fall for everything.” She disagrees with master Gee on the acquisitions of discourse, but agrees with him on the nature of it. There is also a dispute over function. One aspect of Delpit that I was at first confused about, but now see the light, is what she thought about not-teaching. After hearing her definition, which is against non-teaching (a logical negative), I don’t know where I stand. I don’t know if I agree with Gee, or want to take a more optimistic view with Delpit. Maybe there is a ground I can find in-between, where I can correct on papers, but not in the classroom.