Co-construction. Negotiation. It is in a new activity system
(Cristobal) or when there's a change in the activity system (Ya-Meer)
that identities are re-co-constructed.
I wasn't thinking about identities when I began observations. I was
thinking about social relations. "Identities" seemed the appropriate
construct in only some of the classroom relations I saw, but they each
could have been cast that way. Unfortunately, most schools don't have
the resources that the one in the article did. My "screen writer"
returned to being home schooled and looking into community college. The
Latina student was new to the school. I don't know how things went in
other classes, but where I observed her, relations were shaped very
much by there being only 4 girls in the class of 16 and the ethnic
self-segregation in the class. She stood out because she resisted a
stable identity. I saw her speak Spanish once--to resolve the tension
in group work when the English speaker didn't want to give up control.
With this in mind, what strikes me about Ya-Meer is that the conflict
was as much about Charles as Cristobal.
On Wednesday, September 29, 2004, at 08:12 PM, White, Phillip wrote:
> From: Lara Beaty [mailto:email@example.com]
> I think, yes. The conflict need not be overt, but there is always a
> conflict in "choosing" identities and the actions consistent with them,
> the conflict of having identities accepted and actions being perceived
> as such, etc. I'm thinking in particular of a youth who referred to
> himself always as a "screen writer" but came across to his classmates
> simply as "weird" (and other less friendly terms) and a Latina student
> who spent most of her time enacting a European-American identity. The
> conflicts were made visible through my observations, but I think
> they're always there as long as the potential is greater than the
> actualization. Yes?
> okay, yes this makes sense - what i believe i noticed in the
> Roth article is that for Ja-Meer and Cristobal that the conflict was
> situated in their own individual identies _not_ being reflected in the
> other - Ya-Meer didn't see himself as a superior student reflected in
> Cristobal, and Cristobal did not see himself as a good teacher
> in Ya-Meer. hmmmm. now i'm wondering if this article isn't about
> new identities are constructed but rather how we co-construct with
> others the identity we wish to be seen by. did the screen writer ever
> get others to see him as a screen writer rather than weird? or the
> latina student? how did she fare?
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