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[Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth across Time and Space



Michael,
I was wondering where to enter this conversation and your referencing Poppa
Joe and Mamma C leaves a opening.  Your comment:

 It feels like they are riding along with the students, following that
waves of history, the same waves the poets at the open mic invite their
audiences to follow.  Orlando Fals Borda talks about living with those who
you might open up learning spaces for (I am trying really hard not to use
the word teach).  Understanding that the lives they live at the moment are
completely integrated into their pasts and foreground for their futures,
where past and future actually becomes intermingled in the celebration of
living - vivencia he calls it, and sensi pasentes (I know I butchered the
spelling on that).  It seems to me that is what Pappa Joe and Mamma C are
doing much more than traditional teaching of language arts.

So what they are doing is an actual celebration of "living" where past is
completely integrated into the present
AND
their pasts within this present moment are fore/grounded for their
futures.

I read Winn's retrospective article as fully participating in this
celebratory way of "being-in-the-world".  I want to focus on the section of
the article "Freedom Dreaming With Youth Poets and highlight some insights
that Winn shares with us.

Winn reflects on how Poppa Joe "cultivated" his garden which was originally
a place flodded with broken crack vials. Using this metaphor of
"cultivating Joe's garden", Winn asks what is similar to the way Joe
cultivated the land where most could not "imagine" that anything beautiful
or worth salvaging could grow.  What is similar is the way [or approach] of
the radical Black TRADITION where dreamers dream "out loud" creating a
world [of possibility, a world of perhaps] deeply committed to creating and
sustaining literate identities within cocreated classes [places or
localities which Winn refers to as third spaces]
What were Poppa Joe's and Mamma C's "models"?
The models came out of a TRADITION from the 1960's and 1970's [Black Arts
Movement] THIS particular context or social situation within an existing
"tradition" was the model which already existed and "informed" Poppa Joe
through the past existing in the present moment. I believe it is this
"aspect" [what I will call "living tradition] that is key to Winn's
retrospective narrative. Poppa Joe and Mamma C "essentially" created
ADPLC's in the public school context from a "place" of having lived within
and lived through the Black Arts Movement "as" a "tradition".  It is the
honouring of this "living tradition" that empowers the Power Writers.

Winn then mentions that she found the theory of "communities of practice"
framework helpful.  However, she also critiques that this model "does not
suggest the sense of INTIMACY" that Winn regards as a key feature of
historicizing literacy.  Historicizing literacy privileges the "lived
experiences" and "legacies" of the participants.  It is this backdrop of
"a" history that seems to need amplification. No technology of reproducing
Poppa Joe's "approach" if the reproduction has never been "lived through"
and generates a "tradition" that is a "living" tradition.

I have not used the term "hermeneutical" but this narrative is a living
example of a diacritical hermeneutical "approach"  Dialectical for Gadamer
was the movement between the known and unknown without synthesis. The
movement is reciprocal from known to unknown AND from unknown to known
WITHIN historicality.  The reciprocal movement of the past within the
present moment and the anticipation of the future within the reciprocal
movement of past in the present AND present in the past [as living past]
In this encounter BOTH the past "horizon" AND the present "horizon" are
BOTH transformed. The past does not stay in the past and is located within
"situations" of development.

I am not sure if Winn acknowledges the similarities of this retrospective
to the diacritical movement of "philosophical" hermeneutics but I find the
parallels very insightful.

Larry

On Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 5:33 PM, Glassman, Michael <glassman.13@osu.edu>
wrote:

> This is really interesting I think, because it actually challenges what
> our ideas of education are.  I think I would go beyond Peter's idea of
> teachers using the everyday lives of their students to help them move
> towards higher mental functions, that perhaps it is something more complex,
> making education simultaneously a celebration and a critique of their
> everyday lives.  A celebration of the history they live, such as you find
> at the cafes by day and open mics for community expression of life.  A
> critique as a recognition of a society which is quick to participate, where
> identity soon might become a commitment number or a prison number (I found
> that very poignant).  I have not read Maisha's work beyond this article but
> it seems to me Poppa Joe and Mama C were not trying to use the curriculum
> to teach their students what they must know, as an addendum to curriculum,
> but introducing them into the deep, bubbling cauldron of knowing.  Giving
> the students the space to learn.
>
> I am assuming when you are talking about the issues of boundaries Mike you
> are talking about Pappa Joe and Mama C.  On one level I think the idea of
> boundaries are overt.  Do they have to open up a learning space across the
> street from the school because there is some unseen boundary (I really hope
> to get a chance to read this book).  On the other hand I am left to think
> that boundaries are something that we create.  That in a larger sense Papa
> Joe and Mamma C were not dealing with boundaries because they were living
> in a world that did not create them - boundaries are imported from another
> world.  It feels like they are riding along with the students, following
> that waves of history, the same waves the poets at the open mic invite
> their audiences to follow.  Orlando Fals Borda talks about living with
> those who you might open up learning spaces for (I am trying really hard
> not to use the word teach).  Understanding that the lives they live at the
> moment are completely integrated into their pasts and foreground for their
> futures, where past and future actually becomes intermingled in the
> celebration of living - vivencia he calls it, and sensi pasentes (I know I
> butchered the spelling on that).  It seems to me that is what Pappa Joe and
> Mamma C are doing much more than traditional teaching of language arts.
>
> Michael
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2015 3:54 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth
> across Time and Space
>
> That is for sure the topic I had in mind. And it speaks to the issue of
> continued marginalization and class maintenance.
>
> Do others on the list have analogous examples?
>
> mike
>
> On Sun, Mar 29, 2015 at 11:23 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:
>
> > Mike, I'll offer an answer. I do think you've captured the essence of
> > Winn's MCA piece, and raise a good question about those teachers who
> > both teach the school curriculum and also work with kids in other
> > contexts, or at the very least, participate on communities of practice
> > that are quite different from schools with respect to literacy
> expectations.
> >
> >
> >
> > I'm guessing that most teachers primarily teach. I taught HS English
> > for
> > 14 years and it's a killer in terms of the amount of work required,
> > especially when it comes to grading student writing. I coached sports
> > for 4 of those years, and interacting with kids on the track and on
> > the basketball court helped me get to know kids in very different
> > ways--they are much more "themselves" when engaged in practices and
> > games than during the formal hour of class we'd share once a day.
> >
> >
> >
> > So, I wouldn't quite call it a "failure" to engage, because one reason
> > I had to get out of coaching was that it left me with no life
> > whatsoever outside school and coaching. That became emotionally
> > unhealthy for me after
> > 4 years.
> >
> >
> >
> > I do know of others who've taken up work-related interests that map
> > onto their formal public school teaching roles.
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYgxCHtArmA provides a video of a
> > teacher in Georgia who, after the school day is over, is active in
> > community literacy in the spoken word tradition. (Paul Ayo is a stage
> > name; I forget his teacherly name.) His involvement in this C.O.P. in
> > turns informs his efforts to teach his kids.
> >
> >
> >
> > But it’s a very difficult task to manage, because teaching is so
> > demanding. If I would offer a generalizable lesson for educators, it’s
> > that it takes considerable passion to take on extra duties beyond the
> > classroom (and my experience is as an English teacher, where we grade
> > a lot of student writing and often have 150 students a day).
> > Sometimes, these passions do not necessarily involve kids, at least
> > not directly. I know of teachers, for instance, who live in a
> > different city from the one in which they teach and are on their local
> school boards.
> > http://www.steppenwolf.org/Plays-Events/productions/bio.aspx?id=463&cr
> > ewId=1345 links to a guy I used to teach with at the same high school
> > he still works at; his passion is theater, and I don’t know how he
> > manages to do both.
> > Other teachers assume roles in professional organizations like the
> > National Council of Teachers of English, eating up all available time;
> > others are in teacher-research groups or other professional development
> initiatives.
> >
> >
> >
> > So, the exemplary teachers that Winn describes are unusual in that
> > they carve out time to take on additional passions, and do so directly
> > with kids. I suppose my coaching fell into that category, and I could
> > not have gone to graduate school or met my significant others in life
> > without giving up the coaching.
> >
> >
> >
> > Hope that’s what you had in mind. p
> >
> >
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
> > xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> > Sent: Sunday, March 29, 2015 1:57 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of
> > Youth across Time and Space
> >
> >
> >
> > Peter--- Thanks to Greg McV's mediation  :-))  I wanted to ask you the
> > question I have been asking on the list in general but not getting
> > much help with ( or not understanding much of the help I was getting!).
> >
> >
> >
> > You write at the end of your summary of Maisha's narrative,
> >
> >
> >
> > *And so she explores trajectories that are robust and highly
> > energized, yet that depart from those taught and assessed formally in
> > education.*
> >
> >
> >
> > So here is my question in a nutshell. The big lesson i took from
> > Maisha's trajectory of work was not only that there is a vibrant,
> > literate, cultural thriving alongside of school failure, there are
> > teachers with lives in both worlds who appear to be able to bridge
> > those worlds for the kids so that schooling makes sense, has its uses
> and interpretations,  in two worlds.
> > (This is always true of teaching/learning in my view, but it is very
> > marked here in many socially significant ways).
> >
> >
> >
> > Others have failed where several of the people who play a central role
> > in Maish'a narrative succeed. What are the generalizable lessons we
> > can take from these examples. I did not see this so much a question of
> > trajectories, at least in this narrative. That is probably my lack of
> > expertise in this line of current literacy work.
> >
> >
> >
> > mike
> >
> >
> >
> > On Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 12:56 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu
> <mailto:
> > smago@uga.edu>> wrote:
> >
> >
> >
> > > Winn's 2015 MCA article was voted as this issue's discussion paper,
> >
> > > and in the absence of an opening opining post thus far, I'll try to
> >
> > > start the conversation.
> >
> > >
> >
> > > Maisha is a mid-career African American researcher with a strong
> >
> > > dedication to investigating the literacy activities of Black youth.
> >
> > > Her paper traces themes that she has explored in 4 projects, each of
> >
> > > which yielded a book, from her career stops at Berkeley, New York,
> >
> > > Atlanta, and now Madison, Wisconsin (all in the USA). If I can
> > > extract
> >
> > > one major theme from this work, it's that AA youth who are often
> >
> > > characterized as having low literacy are in fact highly interested
> > > in
> >
> > > language usage and linguistic performance, and immensely skilled and
> >
> > > productive in their linguistic lives. Without using a Vygotskian
> >
> > > vocabulary, she asserts (and here I provide the Vygotskian terms)
> > > that
> >
> > > through their use of speech, they elevate their thinking to higher
> >
> > > mental processes, although not such that schools can recognize them.
> >
> > > And so she explores trajectories that are robust and highly
> > > energized,
> >
> > > yet that depart from those taught and assessed formally in education.
> >
> > >
> >
> > > I'll take a detour here to refer to a talk that our mutual friend
> >
> > > David Kirkland gave at the National Council of Teachers of English
> >
> > > convention last November, in recognition of receiving NCTE's highest
> >
> > > research award, the David Russell Award. What follows is taken from
> > > a
> >
> > > book chapter I've drafted for a collection on adolescent literacy,
> > > in
> >
> > > which I describe Kirkland's findings. I'll let this stand as my
> >
> > > opening conversational turn, in hopes that others will find avenues
> >
> > > through which to enter the discussion. I think that what follows is
> >
> > > relevant to what Maisha talks about in her article-hardly
> >
> > > comprehensively, but I see these issues as undergirding her general
> >
> > > perspective on students from (mostly) African American communities
> > > who
> >
> > > lead rich literacy lives while being assessed in school as being
> > deficient.
> >
> > >
> >
> > > scores of scholars, many of them from an African American heritage,
> >
> > > have expanded on Heath's (1983) findings, investigating African
> >
> > > American literacy development in a variety of regions and settings.
> >
> > > These scholars (e.g., Kirkland, 2012) have found that although Black
> >
> > > students are continually measured to have low and declining literacy
> >
> > > rates in school, they live rich lives with print, spoken, and
> >
> > > multimodal texts in their teeming literacy lives once outside the
> > tolling of the school bells.
> >
> > > Kirkland (2014) makes a key distinction in considering how such
> >
> > > opposing conclusions could be found on the same population. School
> >
> > > achievement tends to be measured in single-sitting examinations that
> >
> > > are based on problems posed by test-makers, with scores computed for
> > statistical manipulation.
> >
> > > Ethnographies tend to be conducted outside school over time, with
> >
> > > detailed documentation of social and cognitive processes through
> > > which
> >
> > > self-chosen literacy goals are pursued, often with feedback,
> >
> > > affirmation, critique, and other forms of response helping to shape
> >
> > > literacy products, including readings. Such studies of urban Black
> >
> > > students' literacy activities focus on what the youth consider to be
> >
> > > authentic, meaningful processes and products, and typically find
> > > that
> >
> > > literacy achievement is high, sustained, and of great social value.
> >
> > > These literacy practices are characterized by their highly social
> >
> > > qualities as youth perform for one another and use texts to position
> >
> > > themselves amidst youth culture and others in their environments-a
> >
> > > stark contrast to the solitary, detached manner in which their
> > > literacy
> > is measured in school assessments.
> >
> > > Kirkland (2014) finds a set of related problems associated with
> >
> > > relying on conventional school assessment to stand as definitive
> >
> > > measures of literacy attainment. First, the literacy problems on
> > > which
> >
> > > they are tested are not posed by the students. Rather, they are
> >
> > > designed by adults paid to generate test problems that meet some
> >
> > > psychometric standard for reliability across the whole testing
> >
> > > population, often one dominated by middle class students whose
> >
> > > practices are more congenial to such testing. This approach of
> > > norming
> >
> > > answers according to one dominant demographic produces feelings of
> >
> > > alienation from the examinations and consequently from school on the
> >
> > > part of those from other cultural groups, given that school becomes
> >
> > > associated with punitive testing that is indifferent to what the
> > > kids
> > find important in their literacy lives.
> >
> > > Second, the exams assume that their test items are isomorphic across
> >
> > > test-takers; that is, they are premised on the idea that the
> > > learning
> >
> > > tasks they present to students are understood in the same manner by
> >
> > > all within the test-taking population. In particular, the test
> >
> > > designers tend to assume that the task as they envision and intend
> > > it
> >
> > > is in turn taken up by all students in the same fashion in which
> > > they
> >
> > > offer it. Newman, Griffin, and Cole (1989; cf. Smagorinsky, 2011)
> >
> > > refer to this phenomenon as the problem of assuming a task or
> > > problem
> >
> > > isomorph in which a learning problem is presented to people of
> >
> > > different backgrounds in different settings under the assumptions
> > > that
> >
> > > this standardized procedure will be interpreted identically by all
> > > who
> >
> > > encounter it, because that is how the designers believe it should
> >
> > > work. The likelihood that the tests are constructed in relation to
> >
> > > autonomous texts-texts with an inherent meaning that is not subject
> > > to
> >
> > > reconstruction and instantiation of additional meanings by
> > > readers-is
> >
> > > highly unlikely, given the dubious nature of the assumption in light
> >
> > > of virtually any social or constructivist perspective on textual
> >
> > > composition and interpretation (see Nystrand, 1986 for a general
> > critique; and Smagorinsky, 2001, for an elaboration of a cultural
> > theory of reading).
> >
> > > Such attention to contexts is not only not available in the
> >
> > > standardized world of assessment, it obliterates such matters as
> >
> > > "exogenous" or outside factors, particularly poverty, from the
> >
> > > calculations, reifying the assumption that the tasks are isomorphic
> >
> > > (Berliner, 2014). The ethnographic work assembled by Kirkland
> > > (2014),
> >
> > > however, demonstrates that literacy practices and tasks are situated
> >
> > > and constructed and not amenable to standardized treatment.
> >
> > > Finally, school-based definitions of literacy are securely grounded
> > > in
> >
> > > print, ignoring the vast compositional means available to youth
> > elsewhere.
> >
> > > Kirkland (2014) concludes that "As they age, Black males learn
> >
> > > literacy less in school and more outside it. This literacy learning
> > > is
> >
> > > defined less by print et al. and more by a variety of social and
> >
> > > cultural assets/flows necessary for achieving meaning and message
> >
> > > making important to their lives" (n. p.). As many have noted (e.g.,
> >
> > > Kajder, 2010), the Black population is one of many social groups in
> >
> > > which print literacy serves as but one compositional tool among many
> >
> > > in the digital world of the 21st century. What is starkly evident
> > > from
> >
> > > Kirkland's comparison is the fact that young African Americans who
> > > are
> >
> > > consistently measured as having low literacy in school assessments
> > > are
> >
> > > reading and composing texts of great social value once school's out.
> >
> > >
> >
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > --
> >
> > "Each new level of development is a new relevant context." C.H.
> > Waddington
> >
>
>
>
> --
> "Each new level of development is a new relevant context." C.H. Waddington
>
>