analysis, social organization, classroom talk

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Theory as tool

I'm frequently thinking about theory and its uses in research and now and then I come across examples of theory put to 'good use'. I found one yesterday.

Hassett, D. (2006). Technological difficulties: A theoretical frame for understanding the non-relativistic permanence of traditional print literacy in elementary education. Journal of Curriculum Studies, 38(2), 135-159.

What Hassett does in the article is to use Foucault's notion of 'technologies' to explore "how it is possible that early-literacy programming maintains traditional print literacy as the primary focus of instruction in an age of multiple literacies and multi-modal forms of communication." (p. 136)

In her examination, Hassett examines the 'literacy myth', Clay's concepts about print, shared writing and independence as an aspect of literacy instruction. I loved the last two. By coincidence, I have previously tried to address aspects of early writing instruction currently said to provide scaffolding for learning. I never quite pulled it off (don't think I was using the right tools), however, Hassett does using theory. For example, she examines shared writing and points out how teacher construction of texts in conjuntion with students is likely to produce written texts that are strongly located in print-based notions of writing (so linear, left-right placement and so on).

Even better was her examination of independence as a construct in early literacy education. It's too length to quote but here is a snippet from the argument:

"If the learning environment and the training have been done 'correctly', the individual functions in self-motivated and self-regulated ways -with high self-esteem and a sense of self-worth for jobs well done. if an individual is not using the well-appointed, print-rich classroom, not a problem of pedagogy, not a problem of the curriculum content, not a problem of the training, but a problem of the individual. Given that the classroom and routines are structured in such a way that students are to feel secure, happy, and motivated, then, from the beginning of the school year on, the expectation is that individuals ill be enthusiastic about being an individual who is learning in the classroom. Those who aren't have 'problems'! (p. 152)

Anyhow, anyone who is interested in thinking outside the current literacy regime would find this article a very, very good read.

Sunday, June 14, 2009


Recently, I had the luxury of purchasing a lot of books from amazon using some consultancy money. One that I am enjoying is an edited collection by Hester and Francis on 'respecifying sociological knowledge'. Last night I was re-reading the first chapter (written by the authors)which forms an introudction. Here's a bit that i really liked and try to keep in my head,

"... the general thrust of Garfinkel's argument is exemplified by his remarks on the use of the 'first rendering theorem' and so we will comment briefly on this. Thus by, 'the first rendering theorem' Garfinkel refers to the practice amongst social scientists of transforming ordinary actions into analytic objects, or more precisely, instances of theoretical phenomenona. The process of transformation is premised on the position that there is 'no order in the plenum'. In other words, ordinary 'concrete' social life can only properly be understood by being transformed into analytical objects since only the latter enable orderliness to be displayed. In this transformation, the original orderliness of the phenomena, as it was produced by the parties to it such that it was intelligible as the phenomenon it was, is lost from view." (Hester and Francis, 2007, p. 8)

So, you see why I can't keep it in my head. At the same time, the idea is the core of ethnomethodological work so I need to.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

beefing things up

beef1 005
Originally uploaded by angie cat
Here is another pic that i took during Beef week. I loved the way the owners had set up a living area and then placed their cattle in it. How calm are they btw?

I'm into escalated writing at the moment. I've just been working on an article with my friend Robyn Brandenburg. It is another article about transcription but drawing on Robyn's experiences of it during her phD. The tentative title is:

Transcribing the unsaid: Finding silence in a self-study.

We are also hoping to develop a conference proposal out of it for AERA in 2010. I will also be working on another proposal for AERA and will use my kids in cyberspace project for that. Probably I will use more of the lizards transcript and recording.

Most importantly, I need to get into writing my symposium paper for the pragmatics conference in 12-17 July. That paper will take me back to my PhD work and hopefully I will get a proper CA paper out of it. I'm giving myself a month to do the paper and will definitely need all of that. It will coincide with getting ready for term 2 so things are going to be hectic.

Last week marked three years in Rockhampton for me. What can I say?

beef1 003
Originally uploaded by angie cat