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LRA 2013 - Scott Storm

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Scott Storm

on 26 August 2017

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Transcript of LRA 2013 - Scott Storm

Academic Language and Identity in an Urban High School English Class

Research Questions
(Baumann & Graves, 2010; Graves, 2006; Laflamme, 1997; Lesaux, Kieffer, Faller, & Kelley, 2010; Marzano et al., 2001Snow, Lawrence, & White, 2009; Nagy & Townsend, 2012; Townsend & Collins, 2009; Zwiers, 2008).
Classroom Context
Discourse Competence
Reproduced Discourse
Employed Discourse
Interlaced Discourse
Discussion & Implications
Intervention Curriculum
Methods of Data Collection
Ethnographic field notes, conceptual memos, and researcher journals

All formal student writing (117 multi-page essays/papers)

Pre/post word depth of knowledge assessment for all students

Pre/post semi-structuredinterviews with five focal students

Transcripts of Audio Recorded Class Discussions (~60 hours)
Methods of Data Analysis
Theoretical Framework

1)How does student competence with academic discourse change over the course of this specific teaching-intervention?

2)In both writing and speaking, how do students in this class experience and describe the process of learning academic language?
(Delpit, 1995; Finn, 1999; Freire, 2000; Laflamme, 1997; Davis, 1944; Thorndike, 1917; Thurstone, 1946)
More research is needed that addresses students’ lived-experience.
(Anzaldua, 2007; Bernstein, 1962; Delpit, 1995; Snow, 2010)
Literacy is not only a set of skills, but has social meaning, is constructed in situ, and is inseperable from social contexts
(Anderson, 2002; Anzaldua, 2007; Butler, 1995; Markus & Nurius, 1986; McCarthey, 1998; McCarthey & Moje, 2002; Moje & Luke, 2009; Sfard & Prusak, 2005; Yagelski, 2000).
Discourse is theorized as:
Provides a heuristic to understand power relations
Cultural Capital
“systems of durable, transposable dispositions, structured structures” in the mind of the individual which are “predisposed to function as structuring structures”
(Bourdieu, 1990, p. 52).
Academic language is a specialized linguistic code.
Intervention research suggests "best practices" may improve academic vocabulary learning.
Vocabulary knowledge has been linked to reading ability, comprehension, and potential social mobility.
Literacy is a Social Practice:
(Bakhtin, 1981; Barton & Hamilton, 1998; Barton & Padmore, 1994; Gee, 2000; Heath, 1983; Ivanic, 1998; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Maybin, 1994; Street, 1984)
Literacy & Identity are Closely Coupled
“ways of combining and integrating language, actions, interactions, ways of thinking, believing, valuing, and using various symbols, tools, and objects to enact a particular sort of socially recognizable identity” (Gee, 2011, p. 29).
(Albright & Luke, 2008; Bourdieu, 1977; Bourdieu, 1990; Bourdieu & Passeron, 1990; Grenfell, et al., 2012).
Teacher Research
Ethnographic Perspective
Vocabulary-Intervention Studies
(Campano, 2007; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2009; Dewey, 1997; Giroux, 1988; Goswami, Lewis, Rutherford, & Waff, 2009; Goswami & Stillman, 1987; Green & Bloome, 1997; Herr & Anderson, 2005; Laseaux, et al, 2010; Schon, 1987; Snow, Lawrence, & White)
Methodological Framing
Public urban high school English class (26 students)
Over 90% free or reduced lunch students
90% of students identified as African-American
District historically low-performing on high-stakes tests
Adaptation of Coxhead Academic Word List

Culturally Relevant Teaching

Dialogic Classroom: Discussion, Socratic seminars, writing, assessment

(Anzaldua, 2007; Bourdieu, 1990; Carter, 2005; Delpit, 1995; Gardner,1993; Ladson-Billings, 1994; Lee, 1995; Lorde, 1984; Rodriguez, 2004; Schoenfeld, 1987; Vygotsky, 1978; Wiggins & McTighe, 1998; Willis, 1981)
Inductive, qualitative, empirically-grounded coding framework (Strauss & Corbin, 1990)

Initial Coding:
data coded at the sentence level--Atlas.ti used
What is being said? How is it being said?
Analytic tools from theoretical framework: NLS, identity, Gee, Bourdieu
133 codes established

Axial Coding:
Key categories established
Formed and reformed to reflect empirical realities

Analytic checks:
Triangulation of Findings
Hunt for disconfirming evidence to avoid premature analytic closure
“Critical Friends” & “Member Checks” bolstered trustworthiness of findings
Data analysis suggests an improved competence with academic Discourse over the course of the intervention.
Pre-intervention interview data exhibited more linguistic markers of traditionally non-academic speech.
Post-intervention interview data included more markers of academic Discourse
“Yeah, that would expand my vocabulary a lot and I could speak more better.”
Travis: Pre-Intervention
Travis: Post-Intervention
“Yes, because it can give a person a type of agency over certain people or obstacles and help further the genre of life.”
word-learning as memorizing definitions,

learning as passive,

identity as innate/unchanging.

Saw assimilation into a dominant culture as ideal

Potentially reproduced inequalities in society.

Only occurred pre-intervention
“um, maybe just reading it a lot, that’s pretty much easy. Studying the definitions stuff like that.”
“It tells me that I am not the perfect student that I am not extremely smart or extremely intelligent. It keeps me in my place and tries to tell me, boy, you are stepping over the line and trying to act as I’m someone I’m not….[Academic Discourse] might cause me to want to act just overly intelligent, bright, extremely smart kid that everybody is trying to hold a high candle up to.” -Khonner
Words as tools
Literacy as a set of skills
Learning as active
Identity as fragmented or compartmentalized.
Ideology of code-switching,
Academic language as instrument for social mobility
Partial assimilationist stance highlighting both issues of agency and structure
"I used to do this thing at [a local elite private college] and there you are surrounded by a lot of people, I would say a higher class of people so in that way you have to do like a code-switching so you have to talk the way you would expect them to talk."
Medina says, “um people in power go by these rules and if we want to get on their level, we have to abide by them too….[to be successful you need] to really get into the text and understand the words and terms you know the terminology used.”
Learning as active
Literacy as a lived identity
Academic language as a way of being
Academic identity as active/changing/lived-tension
Academic identity as Interlaced with other cultural identities
Explicitly examined metalinguistic and societal-power structures
Ideology of pluralism
Potentially enacted empowered forms of cultural production.
“Interlacing an academic identity along with our own and embracing it not just assimilating to it….I think you can take on like multiple personas...you can still be smart and kick ass if you want….We’re just assimilating into what other people think we should be, and developing a different discourse can give us agency to create our own Blackness.”
“Not acting as a sponge…To not take everything as truth and to kind of analyze it and develop your own opinion about it. That’s really important….The American Dream doesn’t exist because in order to achieve that American Dream you have to have, you have to grow up under certain conditions and it’s not possible for everyone….It starts with the community, your family, your school and like all those factors have to be right to achieve the American dream and someone like on the outside looking in will be like ‘you worked hard you achieved this.’ There are thousands of other people working hard that didn’t achieve it.”
Current vocabulary research frames academic vocabulary learning as using "words as tools" (Naggy & Townsend, 2012) which aligns with the "employed discourse" topography.

We must move beyond seeing words as tools to viewing words as "a way of being."

More research is needed that continues to look at students' lived-experience and identities.
“I was reading Jane Austen...when I read a book it’s like I turn into the way they’re talking so I went on Facebook and, and I typed like I was talking in Austen-Talk and I was like Oh, Jane Austen much? I felt myself in her. I don’t know strange or something. It’s pretty cool.
Harvest Collegiate High School
Scott Storm
Transformative Vocabulary:
Methodological Tensions
Teacher and Researcher
Identities & Power

Teacher-Research as Political Act
Implications for Policy:

A pedagogy that helps students enact an interlaced discourse is in line with the Common Core State Standards.

Use the CCSS to frame why we need vocabulary work and a pedagogy for interlaced discourse.

Implications for Practice

Traditional vocabulary instruction (words Monday, test Friday), associated with "reproduced discourse" may further inequality.

"Employed discourse" still has significant constraints.

"Interlaced discourse" has many affordances and should be a pedagogic goal.
Implications for Research
Implications for Theory
Academic language continues to be a gatekeeping mechanism into particular fields of power.
Students are not only building cultural capital by learning more words but are shifting dispositions, discourses and identities.
Though some have critiqued Bourdieu's model of habitus as being one of structural determinism...
Habitus may be more malleable
Thus, purposeful pedagogy with academic language may not just have the potential to provide students with more cultural capital but rather may in fact work towards transforming underlying habitus.
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