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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 44, No. 3, February 2010

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 44, No. 3, February 2010

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Countering Theoretical and Curricular Narratives

    Mark Dressman, Sarah McCarthey, and Paul Prior

  • What ‘Hard Times’ Means: Mandated Curricula, Class-Privileged Assumptions, and the Lives of Poor Children

    Elizabeth Dutro

    Abstract: In this article, I present a qualitative analysis of third graders’ experiences with a unit from their district-mandated commercial reading curriculum in which the children made strong connections between a fictional account of a Depression-era farm family’s economic hardships and their own 21st century lives in a city with one of the highest childhood poverty rates in the United States. The language of the curriculum revealed class-privileged assumptions and an instrumental,competency-based approach to literacy that provided no official space for resonance between reader and text around the issue of poverty. Employing depth hermeneutics, a form of critical discourse analysis, I discuss analyses of three texts: the literature selection, the children’s written responses, and the teacher’s edition for that unit. Implications for research and practice include the importance of analyzing complex interactions between curriculum, policy, and the material realities of children’s lives; the need to hold commercial curricula accountable for recognizing and engaging the experiences of children living in poverty; and the academic and moral imperative to include the lived knowledge of students and the emotional dimensions of response in what counts as successful literacy engagement.

  • Developing Academic Identities: Persuasive Writing as a Tool to Strengthen Emergent Academic Identities

    Paula M. Carbone and Marjorie Faulstich Orellana

    Abstract: This paper examines how writing samples produced by middle school students reveal their emerging academic identities through their rhetorical choices in writing. Analyses of two texts produced by each student revealed students’ implicit understandings of the requirements of academic voice. Through comparisons of each student’s texts, strategies for taking up academic voices become more transparent. We provide analytic tools with which to reframe how student essays that may not conform to expected conventions of academic writing might be read by teachers, and we suggest that instructional intervention to fill gaps in students’ written expression can facilitate students’ emergent academic identities.

  • Student Microtransformations in English Classrooms

    Paula Wolfe

    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to use psychoanalytic theory to examine how attempts at critical teaching in two English as a Second Language (ESL) classrooms related to changes in student subjectivity. The research critiques critical pedagogical assumptions regarding transformation and empowerment through a Lacanian perspective. More specifically, the persistent problem in critical pedagogy research–that it does not explore the effect of critical practices on student actions and beliefs–is examined. Based on a two-year study in ESL classrooms in the Southwestern U.S., this report uses case studies to outline types of changed comportments, or microtransformations, that students exhibited. Microtransformations are defined as instances in which small events triggershifts in student practice and consciousness in ways that counter critical pedagogical narratives but are consistent with Lacanian theoretical perspectives.

  • Announcing the Alan C. Purves Award Winner (Volume 43)

    Haeny Yoon and Phil Wilder (2009 Award Committee)

    Abstract: The 2009 Alan C. Purves Award Committee is pleased to announce this year’s recipient, Rebecca Black, for “Online Fan Fiction, Global Identities, and Imagination,” which appeared in the May 2009 issue of Research in the Teaching of English.

  • The 2009 NCTE Presidential Address: Sailing over the Edge: Navigating the Uncharted Waters of a World Gone Flat

    Kylene Beers

    Abstract: The following is the text of Kylene Beers’s presidential address, delivered at the NCTE Annual Convention in Philadephia, Pennsylvania, on November 22, 2009.

  • Announcements

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