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Research in the Teaching of English, Volume 51, Number 3, February 2017

Cover Art for Research in the Teaching of English, Vol. 51, No. 3, February 2017

Table of Contents

  • Editors’ Introduction: Writing and Its Development across Lifespans and in Transnational Contexts [FREE ACCESS]

    Heather Falconer, Ellen Cushman, Mary M. Juzwik, and Mandie B. Dunn

  • Remembering Michoacán: Digital Representations of the Homeland by Immigrant Adults and Adolescents

    Silvia Noguerón-Liu and Jamie Jordan Hogan

    Abstract: Previous research has documented the potential of digital projects for immigrant students to capitalize on their transnational knowledge. Yet, there are only limited insights on the practices and perspectives of immigrant adults in digital/multimodal composition. In this article, we explore how visual media are used by adults and adolescents as resources in the production of digital texts, and as artifacts to elicit accounts and memories. We draw from transnational approaches to theorize the role of technology in facilitating connections with students’ home countries. We use social semiotics and testimonio lenses to examine media they selected to represent their hometowns in (or nearby) the Mexican state of Michoacán. Lastly, we adopt methods of practitioner inquiry and artifactual literacy to elicit information about participants’ understandings and choices in the composition process. Our findings show that while transnational ties were relevant for all participants, their understandings about their hometowns differed across generations. Adults represented the homeland as a source of healing and miracles, while youth focused on concerns about crime and corruption. We also document the complexities of access to visual media through search engines. We show the ways family networks, travel, and media consumption shaped the composition choices students made, as well as how their current circumstances, roles, and concerns led them to share testimonios of struggle and faith. We discuss contributions to digital writing research across generations, and implications for pedagogical practices that leverage students’ transnational ties and migration histories

  • “Because I’m Smooth”: Material Intra-actions and Text Productions among Young Latino Picture Book Makers

    Angie Zapata and Selena Van Horn

    Abstract: As theorization of multimodal text processes and productions continues to outpace classroom practices, research that contributes understandings of how composers are living out multimodal processes is needed. In response, we turn to thinking with theory (Jackson & Mazzei, 2012) as both a methodological and an analytic approach to understand how multimodal composing processes and products come to be. We provide strategic sketches (Leander & Boldt, 2013) focused on third graders “Efrain” and “Trinidad,” not aiming to display the data in a traditional sense, but instead to ask of ourselves, the data, and theory: What material intra-actions emerge among two young picture book makers? What social, cultural, and material worlds are performed in their final picture book productions? Thinking with theory and data was an effort to experience some of the moment-to-moment nuances of young children’s multimodal processes, to appreciate the lived social, cultural, and material realities animated in their picture books, and to develop sensitivities to the possibilities of the material turn in post-humanist studies for literacy research. The analytic questions produced point to the saliency of diverse literature as aesthetic inspirations for multimodal texts, and of improvisations with varied art tools and media as openings for multimodal processes. This paper advances previous related scholarship through strategic sketches that invite readers to experience the complexity and the cultural significance of the multimodal processes and products that emerge when classroom expectations of a proficient writer include the ability to improvise and become with diverse materials and meanings, not just to command “standardized written English."

  • Genre Repertoires from Below: How One Writer Built and Moved a Writing Life across Generations, Borders, and Communities [FREE ACCESS]

    Angela Rounsaville

    Abstract: As recent transnational literacy scholarship has shown, acculturation theories homogenize migrant experiences with literacy, often placing young writers on a developmental continuum that implies distancing from homeland practices and communities. Absent more complex theories, the relation between homeland practices, transnational experiences, and local literacies remains difficult to determine. This conundrum prompts this study’s guiding question: How does the transnational inhere in and motivate local literacies? Drawing from lifespan interviews and collected texts of one adult transnational writer (“Clara”), I examine how situated practice coordinates the “here” and “there” within transnational social fields. I find that orientations to and purposes for literacy inherited and made in Clara’s childhood, particularly her and her family’s experience of transnational migration, persisted as sets of patterned social actions that she self-assigned to diverse types of local writing; findings show her building up genre from an emic perspective over time. While Clara’s genre infrastructure persisted at the level of social action, linguistic achievement of those genres was more precarious. I call this set of self-generated, patterned social actions Clara’s genre repertoire from below, and argue that it guided and governed her movement across texts encountered and produced in home, school, and work contexts to ultimately become a bridge across difference in her work as a bilingual educator. This grounded study contributes the construct of genre repertoires from below and its method of genre mapping to make visible how extracurricular and in-school literacy grow together in response to and in support of transnational writers’ everyday experiences.

  • Forum: Deeper than Rap: Expanding Conceptions of Hip-hop Culture and Pedagogy in the English Language Arts Classroom

    H. Bernard Hall

    Abstract: Since the early 1990s, language and literacy scholars have explored the pedagogical potential of hip-hop culture in the English language arts classroom. Despite more than 25 years’ worth of peer-reviewed research documenting its effectiveness, hip-hop pedagogies continue to be relegated to the margins of English education policy and practice. In this essay, I argue that the future of “hip-hop based education” (HHBE) research in English education demands moving beyond making a case for hip-hop’s pedagogical merits and toward helping teachers and teacher educators put theories of HHBE into practice, given their various identities and institutional contexts. Thus, I begin by addressing practical and philosophical dilemmas regarding the role, purpose, and function of hip-hop-based curricular interventions in this current era of the Common Core State Standards. As the title of this Forum piece suggests, hip-hop culture and pedagogy are more than just rap music and textual analysis. Therefore, I seek to shift the conversation from pedagogies with hip-hop texts to a more complex unit of analysis known as “pedagogies with hip-hop aesthetics.” With a broader and deeper understanding of hip-hop cultural knowledge, as well as the tensions and contradictions contributing to the shortcomings of HHBE research, I conclude with a call for additional studies that “show and prove” the possibilities (and pitfalls) of hip-hop pedagogies in English language arts and English education classrooms.

  • Forum: Taking the Long View on Writing Development

    Charles Bazerman, Arthur N. Applebee, Virginia W. Berninger, Deborah Brandt, Steve Graham, Paul Kei Matsuda, Sandra Murphy, Deborah Wells Rowe, and Mary Schleppegrell

    Abstract: Studies on writing development have grown in diversity and depth in recent decades, but remain fragmented along lines of theory, method, and age ranges or populations studied. Meaningful, competent writing performances that meet the demands of the moment rely on many kinds of well-practiced and deeply understood capacities working together; however, these capacities’ realization and developmental trajectories can vary from one individual to another. Without an integrated framework to understand lifespan development of writing abilities in its variation, high-stakes decisions about curriculum, instruction, and assessment are often made in unsystematic ways that may fail to support the development they are intended to facilitate; further, research may not consider the range of issues at stake in studying writing in any particular moment.To address this need and synthesize what is known about the various dimensions of writing development at different ages, the coauthors of this essay have engaged in sustained discussion, drawing on a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives. Drawing on research from different disciplinary perspectives, they propose eight principles upon which an account of writing development consistent with research findings could be founded. These principles are proposed as a basis for further lines of inquiry into how writing develops across the lifespan.

  • The 2016 NCTE Presidential Address: What Arts of Language Matter Now? [FREE ACCESS]

    Doug Hesse

    Abstract: This is the text of the speech that NCTE President Doug Hesse gave at Annual Convention on November 17, 2016.

  • Announcements [FREE ACCESS]

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