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Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 50, No. 3, February 2016

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 50, No. 3, February 2016

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Spatial and Material Relationships in Teaching and Learning English [FREE ACCESS]

    Ellen Cushman, Mary M. Juzwik, Cori McKenzie, and Kevin G. Smith

  • Scaling as a Literacy Activity: Mobility and Educational Inequality in an Age of Global Connectivity

    Amy Stornaiuolo and Robert Jean LeBlanc

    Abstract: This article takes up an area of central concern for educators in an era of global connectivity: howto account for the mobility of people, texts, and practices while simultaneously addressing persistent educational inequalities. In attending to the ways people participate in unequal globalized contexts,even educational contexts constructed to bring students and teachers together, we examine how resources such as time, space, materials, national identity, genre, and language are all unequally distributed and unequally ordered in various hierarchies. We propose the notion of scale to offer literacy researchers a flexible conceptual tool with which to examine educational inequities by capturing how movement and mobility are not simple processes of relocation; rather, literacies and texts are always dynamically constructed in relation to hierarchical orders of varying spatial and temporal dimensions. Through multisited ethnography, we engage in a scalar analysis of teachers’ cross-cultural collaborations to illustrate how they produced various categories of space and time (e.g., local, national, global) through routine literacy engagements. In explaining how different scales are invoked, implicated, and constructed in interaction, we find that participants engaged in six scalar moves-upscaling, downscaling, aligning, contesting, anchoring, and embedding-and offer these in response to the pressing need to develop sensitive analytical toolsthat can bring to the surface the ways inequalities are inscribed in literacy practices and texts.Implications of conceptualizing scaling as literacy activity include disrupting smooth narratives of global connectedness in educational collaborations and highlighting the multiscalar nature of all literacy practice.

  • Rewriting Struggles as Strength: Young Adults’ Reflections on the Significance of Their High School Poetry Community

    Logan Manning

    Abstract: In a moment when schools are failing to meet the needs of many youth, recent research has suggested that relational and art-based pedagogies, such as spoken word poetry, offer possibilities for repurposing classrooms to meet the needs of students who have experienced marginalization in schools and other institutions. This article contributes to the literature in critical pedagogy and youth spoken word by taking a retrospective perspective to analyze what a group of urban youth who experienced failure in schools remembered as meaningful from a high school poetry class they identified as empowering. Using case study and interview methods to unpack participants’memories of their poetry class as early adults, the study identifies that the poetry community served as a turning point for many youth because it allowed them to nurture healing relationships in the context of a school community that helped them shatter institutional silence about various forms of oppression and trauma and sparked changes in the ways they saw themselves as individuals and community members. Through participation in the structures and rituals of this literacy-learning community, participants remembered developing agentive identities and transforming their struggles into sources of strength. That this class and the writing practices it engendered continued to hold meaning for this group of youth, who had otherwise held generally negative narratives about schooling, advances current perspectives on the role of nontraditional approaches to literacy instruction in schools.

  • “The Hangout was serious business”: Leveraging Participation in an Online Space to Design Sims Fanfiction [FREE ACCESS]

    Jayne C. Lammers

    Abstract: Much of the research on youth digital literacies relies on the experiences of exceptional cases, while less is known about more typical youth who share their writing in online spaces. Through the examination of a novice writer in an online space, this article explores the convergence of factors shaping young people’s networked writing and addresses recent critique of the New London Group’s(1996) Designs of Meaning framework. Data were gathered during a two-year ethnographic investigation of an online affinity space, The Sims Writers’ Hangout, and analyzed through a Designs of Meaning lens. Data sources include the writer’s posts on the site, responses she received from others, her Sims fan fiction texts, interview responses, and researcher field notes. Findings of this study make visible the multiple factors influencing this writer’s choices, revealing how Available Designs from within and outside the site shaped her creations and how she leveraged her online participation to Design products that met the expectations of this audience. This analysis contributes to the field’s understanding of how online affinity spaces influence youth digital literacy practices and argues that a Design perspective makes such shaping more visible. The article also argues for a more complicated notion of affinity space audiences as collaborators, rather than just supportive reviewers. These findings suggest the need for continued study of typical participation in online spaces and future research to examine networked writing within classroom contexts.

  • Forum: English Research from 1984 to 2015: A Then, Newer, and Now Look through the Eyes of Our RTE Editorship [FREE ACCESS]

    Judith A. Langer and Arthur N. Applebee

  • Announcing the Alan C. Purves Award Recipients (Volume 49): Critical Approaches to Language Research with the Potential to Change Educational Practice: This Year’s Purves Award Honorees

    Mariana Souto-Manning, Gerald Campano, and Kimberly Parker (2015 Award Committee)

  • The 2015 NCTE Presidential Address: Advocacy as Capacity Building: Creating a Movement through Collaborative Inquiry [FREE ACCESS]

    Kathy G. Short

    Abstract: Kathy Short’s presidential address as delivered at the NCTE Annual Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on November 22, 2015.

  • Announcements

  • Abstracts in Arabic

  • Abstracts in German

  • Abstracts in Japanese

  • Abstracts in Korean

  • Abstracts in Mandarin

  • Abstracts in Russian

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A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy, and Language Arts