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[Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth across Time and Space
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- Date: Tue, 31 Mar 2015 16:16:34 +0000
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- Thread-topic: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth across Time and Space
I agree with this completely,
"I didn't ever think that the reason for doing poetry slams was to break down walls in schools, but to raise community awareness and stimulate agency in young people, both which create joyful belonging in a time of their lives when joyful belonging is not present in their educational experiences. This in addition to encouraging them to participate in a river-like tradition of writing and orality among the African diaspora, a tradition which is not a dead thing, but something quite, quite alive."
But then I think Mike poignant and urgent question moves to the forefront, how do you get teachers to then bring this joyful experience into the literacy processes, the interlocutors who we invest with this responsibility - without relying on very specialized personalities that seem to be part of Poppa Joe's and Momma C's personality, and even they seemed to need to establish a second environment where this literacy is acceptable or at least not challenged.
I just had a long talk with a student. We were talking about something as simple as moving away from a rubric, and yet as much as he has questioned the ideas of formalized education, he is having trouble thinking outside of what he has been taught is good education. A second compelling question asked is can we, I guess use educational schools to advance this idea of a joyful literacy deeply based in traditions and participation in culture. But many of the students in schools of education are there because they were successful in formalized education practices. It is really hard to convince somebody in practice if not in theory there might be another way, even if the way that is being critiqued is failing.
To paraphrase Upton Sinclair,
It is very hard to convince and educator of one approach when their expertise in education has been developed and is dependent on another approach.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Annalisa Aguilar
Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 11:57 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth across Time and Space
Hello Larry and esteemed others,
I'm wondering if my posts are getting out there? I had offered that there was the possibility of the energetic rewards that come with doing an outside-school, in-the-bookstore activity for the teachers Poppa John and Mamma C?
I was also unsure of the idea of shattering of boundaries? Is that a fair representation that boundaries are shattered? Can't they just be transforming? Shattering sounds so violent and aggressive.
Also, Maisha uses the word "trajectories" which suggests to me jumping over boundaries, with a movement upwards, boundaries that (normally) confine or constrain, unless we are to interpret this adjective as a missile going through a wall.
I didn't ever think that the reason for doing poetry slams was to break down walls in schools, but to raise community awareness and stimulate agency in young people, both which create joyful belonging in a time of their lives when joyful belonging is not present in their educational experiences. This in addition to encouraging them to participate in a river-like tradition of writing and orality among the African diaspora, a tradition which is not a dead thing, but something quite, quite alive.
Joyful belonging is a part of literacy I think, why do we read anything, if not for that?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org <email@example.com> on behalf of Larry Purss <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 12:25 AM
To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth across Time and Space
I share your wanting to explore what makes these teachers exceptional. You repeated Mike's question and I will repeat it again as we need to explore what "type" or "kind" of situation develops these exceptional teachers [in and out of school. Greg wrote,
In fact Michael Cole posed these questions after reading Winn's work:
[How do we] better understand how the special teachers, those who were involved in local community literacy practices/values/histories, managed to include them in their public high school classrooms with all of the rules, regulations, standardized testing, etc. that is involved.
Does such boundary shattering require exceptional people?
What are the boundaries to such boundary shattering??
So the question becomes do we need exceptional people [with agentic will and purpose] that enables the shattering of "boundaries" or do we need social "situations" that have a certain definition/boundary that "contains"
the energy required to shatter or break through preconceived boundaries.
Another way to discuss "social situations" is to use the concept of "worlds" that express a "subject matter" that matters. Winn uses the metaphor of "spaces" when she asks "In what spaces do people of African descent engage in literate practices such as reading, writing, and speaking, beyond school settings?" Now I ask if it is "necessary" that these alternative "spaces" of "experiential"
learning may be "necessary" AS MODELS in order for possible "boundary shattering" in schools. In other words, there must be alternative "subject matter that matters" that may be necessary before boundary shattering of preconceived notions of "formal schooling" becomes possible. This is a notion of "dialectical" moving reciprocally from the known to unknown AND from the unknown to the known.
The "known" in this retrospective was honouring "tradition" and expressing loyalty to "tradition". Winn asks what are the "salient" characteristics of these literacy communities that honoured tradition? The most salient characteristic is that these literacy communities ARE MEDIATING spaces in which tradition "speaks" and is performed and it is these "spaces" which offer the containers/boundaries AS MODELS for navigating the labyrinths of preconceived formal schooling.
This focus on honouring what has come before is recognizing a "historicizing literacy" as another salient characteristic of this "mediating space". Subject matters that matter emerge within pre-existing traditions that acknowledge the "textured lives" of our youth. These salient characteristics are moving beyond the traditional conceptualizations of literacy to focus on "experiences" of literacy as encounters with the "subject matter". [that matter to the subjects/youth.
Winn describes these activities as forging collective "third spaces" [page 59] which CULTIVATE literate identities emerging within traditions of being. These third spaces provide rich historical contexts that are necessary in Winn's retrospective to accomplish boundary shattering within formal schooling.
To preserve literate historical communities [as locations of shared identity] it was necessary to "stage" literate "events" viewed by their participants as a "mission" that presented subject matter that matters.
Winn is describing the manifestation of a "legacy" of literacy within a tradition for people of African descent which "inspires" the participants.
Winn chose to begin her retrospective in the 1940's leading up to present day literacy movements as presentations of subject matter that matters AS LEGACY. In the exchanging of written and "spoken" words [as sayings] community institutions are formed that extending the traditons that exist as "living tradition" and not merely history as the past. THIS is a diacritical understanding, of tradition as continuing to be 'living'
within current community as democratic engagement.
Poppa John and Mamma C participated passionately and intimately within this particular "tradition" Was it them as agentic individuals that was "exceptional" or was it the subject matter that matters that was "exceptional"? I propose that what is exceptional is to be able to stage events that keeps this tradition "alive".
To return to Mike's question, it seems that the "salient" characteristics is to view language and word as expressions of a p articularsubject matter that matters [is meaningful]. Gadamer would ask "who is doing the "speaking"? and he would answer it is the subject matter that "speaks"
diacritically through encountering "traditions" that risk our prejudices.
I suggest that it is possible to understand Winn's retrospective as this type of a quest to honour the tradition/subject matter that speaks through us. In this speaking "through" the tradition boundaries are shattered and we can possibly approach the future as continuing to live the truth of our tradition as empowering the subject matter that matters.
I am aware that my focusing on the term "tradition" will generate a response and am fully aware of the "shadow side" of tradition as "static"
or "systematic" but I am suggesting there is another way to understand tradition as expressed in Winn's retrospective reflections on what she has come to value as developing within a social situation as an intimate third space of mediation.
On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 7:53 PM, Greg Mcverry <email@example.com>
> Barriers do arise in schools. Many students live behind walls, both
> real and imagined, dictated by the needs that survival necessitates.
> Words and meaning have power, and this makes learning a political act.
> School should never be *done* to students rather students should*do*
> their learning on to the world.
> I truly believe we have education backwards. We strive for college and
> career readiness hoping to grow GDP with a flow of technical workers
> as means for civic contribution. Instead we should worry first about
> community and civic readiness. Then, and only then, will college and
> career follow for those who have been robbed of their agency and culture.
> When students leave schools wanting to make communities a better place
> they engage in literacy practices steeped in academic discourse. When
> kids see how they can "get theres" by being an agent in the world many
> realize life requires learning beyond high school.
> Community, as a thread, permeates Maisha Winn's retrospective on her
> research. In Exploring the Literate Trajectories of Youth Across Time
> and Space <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10749039.2014.990037> Winn
> described a series of ethnographic studies that draw heavily on the
> socio-cultural work of Heath and the literacy as action found in the
> work of Cole, Gutierrez, Lunsford, Smagorinsky, Street, and many
> more. Winn first described out of school spaces for learning and then
> either found similar spaces or applied these lessons to more formal learning spaces.
> African Diaspora Participatory Literacy Communities
> Winn describes African Diaspora Participatory Literacy Communities to
> encapsulate the poet cafes and bookstores she studies:
> ADPLCs, as literacy or literary-centered events outside of school and
> work communities that combined oral, aural, and written traditions
> through an exchange of words, sounds, and movements that privileged a
> Black aesthetic
> She then describe many of the tenants of learning found in
> socio-cultural views of learning. Lately, and I think too often
> removed (or maybe all inclusiveO from their theoretical base, this
> framework has been labeled connected learning
> <http://connectedlearning.tv/>. It is interesting to see Winn draw on
> many of the same principles.
> Winn's description of learning matches Gee's adaptation of Community
> into Affinity Spaces. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affinity_space>
> Like other open mics, POSA, is an invitation to both novice and
> seasoned poets to share their writing in a space that promotes
> reading, writing, thinking, and activism, as well as collabo- ration
> among elders and children. V.S. Chochezi and Staajabu, the mother
> daughter poetry duo also known as Straight Out Scribes (SOS), begin
> with saying "hello," in several languages punctuated with a decidedly urbanized "What's up!"
> She draws Gutierrez's ( 2008 ):
> concept of "sociocritical literacy"-that is a "historicizing literacy"
> that privileges the lived experiences and legacies of
> participants-provided the much needed space to analyze the activities
> of both classes against the backdrop of a history of Black poets and writers.
> This notion of learning as a sense of community around a shared
> purpose was traced back to The Black Arts Movement which
> unapologetically sought to incorporate a Black aesthetic into visual
> and performing arts along side the Black Power Movement, which
> advocated self-determination and self-definition among Black Americans
> What is interesting is this Black aesthetic, as of all American
> History greatly influences our cultures. You see this in the rise of
> hip hop culture. I actually stumbled into a similar space for learning
> in Cambridge, MA.
> What made the ADPLC a space where learning thrived was community and a
> shared purpose.
> Poppa Joe and Mamma C
> Winn then described a few formal learning places that drew from the
> same history and values of the out of school places. Once again
> community came first.
> When describing one classroom Winn wrote:
> These student poets used the Power Writing circle to build community
> while reading original compositions aloud in an open mic format, much
> like the venues I observed in Northern California, and engaging in
> giving and receiving feedback. In the context of these literacy
> communities, Poppa Joe and his guest teachers taught by modeling.
> Culturally responsive classrooms were also central to the Winn's thesis.
> Yet she noted these were often hardest for classrooms. Winn and Latrise P.
> Johnson explored culturally relevant pedagogy. They describe how it
> means much more then reading a book with a black kid on the cover.In
> fact Winn notes that the most successful spaces drew on student lives:
> used the material of students' lived experiences, such as
> disproportionate contact with law enforcement and police brutality, as
> resources for rich dialogue and their struggle to translate the
> dialogue into writing
> As Peter Samgorinsky pointed out recently on the XMCA listserv this
> work reflects recent scholarship by David Kirkland
> <http://twitter.com/davidekirkland> who detailed the many powerful
> ways black youth challenge dominant narratives.
> Winn points out that it is the arts that are the dominant path to
> having students write their own story on to the world. She noted:
> I also learned how theater arts builds community and supports
> marginalized youth as they build and sustain literate identities.
> Learning from Winn
> Literacy instruction is identity work. It is political. The question
> was posed on the XMCA listserv about recreating these experiences in
> the classroom.
> Anna Aguilar noted a memory of a teacher creating a Zine. Smagorinsky
> stressed the role of coaches. I couldn't agree more. We need to
> realign schools so that students are empowered by designing the
> community. I was intrigued by this idea in the listserv:
> For Ilyenkov, language is not the ideal, but its 'objectified being',
> its material form. The ideal does not exist in language for Ilyenkov,
> or in other material phenomena, but in forms of human activity.
> In many ways writing instruction must be attached to a human activity.
> Technically it already is an activity but it is one students are
> forced into and motivated by exploring new identities in memes or
> engaging in coaching relationships such as in Soccer.
> In fact Michael Cole posed these questions after reading Winn's work:
> [How do we] better understand how the special teachers, those who were
> involved in local community literacy practices/values/histories,
> managed to include them in their public high school classrooms with
> all of the rules, regulations, standardized testing, etc. that is
> Does such boundary shattering require exceptional people?
> or perhaps
> What are the boundaries to such boundary shattering??
> Community Matters
> These efforts do take exceptional people. They also require us to
> challenge the boundaries, such as limited views of literacy.
> Our fascination with accountability reform is at the heart of ripping
> away what Winn values. Kirkland, as Peter points out, notes how
> limited assessments of what counts help to dissuade youth as school is
> done to the them.
> Winn wants learning done onto the world. As Michael Glassman (again on
> the XMCA listerv) noted Papa Joe and Mamma C did more than teach language arts.
> We must recognize community where ever it exists.
> Another barrier arose around accountability based reform and that is
> the removal of the arts from schools. Content rich instruction and
> arts that allow students to do the identity work necessary to be civic
> and community ready.
> Can these exceptional teachers exist. Yes. Are they rare. Yes, that is
> the definition of exceptional. Are they only found in school? No.
> On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 5:51 PM Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> > Well, ed schools are pretty disputatious places, so I'd never say
> > that there's an orthodoxy to follow. I'd agree with your situated
> > perspective, even as the world of ed psych still appears to operate between the ears.
> > There are teachers who import all sorts of interesting possibilities
> > into their classrooms, even with all the oppressive testing and
> > centralized curricula that assume that all kids' minds have the same
> > architecture
> > might be the wrong word, since it might come across as static--other
> > welcome).
> > Hoping for others to weigh in. p
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: email@example.com [mailto:xmca-l-bounces@
> > mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of mike cole
> > Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 5:28 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate Trajectories of
> > Youth across Time and Space
> > Peter-
> > At first I didn't get at all what the connection between the
> > discussion
> > Ilyenkov and Maisha's work, but I think its a great idea to discuss
> > the question you pose. Is "literacy" idealized differently in the
> > two communities of practice (school and outside-school)? I have
> > difficulty keeping straight with ideas such as "subjective image of
> > reality" but
> > seems to be little doubt that there are different values being
> > embodied
> > standard school literacy practices and the multi-modal,
> > practices in the sites that Maisha describes. Seems like this could
> > be a useful lens for addressing my question about
> > the practices and associated values of an evening get together at a
> > community center can be at least part of a high school educational
> > curriculum.
> > Only sometimes under special conditions seems to be the answer. Is
> > that answer accepted in Ed schools these days?
> > mike
> > On Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 1:08 PM, Peter Smagorinsky <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > > OK, I hit send accidentally. To continue:
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Peter Smagorinsky
> > > Sent: Monday, March 30, 2015 4:02 PM
> > > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > > Subject: RE: [Xmca-l] Re: Winn's Exploring the Literate
> > > Trajectories of Youth across Time and Space
> > >
> > > I'm going to do some exploratory thinking here, so please pardon
> > > the half-baked nature of what follows (half-baked is a long-time
> > > value on xmca in its embrace of thoughts in emergent process).
> > >
> > > Winn's article has gotten little traction as a discussion topic,
> > > so I'll combine it with something that's gotten even less
> > > attention, an article that someone (Annalisa, I think) sent awhile
> > > back and that I'm re-attaching here.
> > >
> > > I'm focusing on the early section about Ilyenkov's notion of the
> > > ideal, which I can't say I completely grasp. So please bear with
> > > me as I grope my way through this effort to link the two articles.
> > > I'll paste in the section of the attachment that I see as
> > > potentially, if I'm getting this right, helpful in understanding Winn's essay:
> > >
> > > Although there is a considerable literature in the West that
> > > focuses on the rôle of language in the social production of
> > > consciousness, what sets Ilyenkov apart is his distinction between
> > > language and the ideal. For Ilyenkov, language is not the ideal,
> > > but its 'objectified
> > > being',27 its material form. he ideal does not exist in language
> > > for Ilyenkov, or in other material phenomena, but in forms of
> > > human activity. His entry on the ideal in the 1962
> > > encyclopædia-article defines it as 'the subjective image of
> > > objective reality, i.e. a reflection of the external world in
> > > forms of human activity, in forms of its consciousness and
> > > will'.28 One can think of the ideal as the significance that
> > > matter assumes in the process of its transformation by human
> > > activity. In other words, it is only in-and-through human activity
> > > that matter takes on the character of an object with
> > significance.
> > > To be clear, Ilyenkov was not referring only to parts of the
> > > material world that individuals directly transform, but to all
> > > matter that society comes 'in contact'
> > > with. Idealisation is, for
> > > him, a social phenomenon. In the same encyclopædia-entry, he wrote:
> > > An ideal image, say of bread, may arise in the imagination of a
> > > hungry man or of a baker. In the head of a satiated man occupied
> > > with building a house, ideal bread does not arise. But if we take
> > > society as a whole, ideal bread and ideal houses are always in
> > > existence, as well as any ideal object with which humanity is
> > > concerned in the process of production and reproduction of its real, material life.
> > > his
> > > includes the ideal sky, as an object of astronomy, as a 'natural
> > > calendar', a clock, and compass. In consequence of that, all of
> > > nature is idealised in humanity and not just that part which it
> > > immediately produces or reproduces or consumes in a practical
> > > way.29
> > > >From this perspective, all matter appears in individual
> > > >consciousness
> > > already transformed
> > > and idealised by the activity of previous generations, and this
> > > ideal informs the individual's activity in the present.
> > >
> > > OK, back to me. What I'm wondering is this: Is "literacy"
> > > idealized differently in the two communities of practice (school
> > > and
> > outside-school)?
> > > In school, at least formally, literacy is idealized as the "proper"
> > > use of language in textual production and composition, with only
> > > the most formal versions acceptable as evidence of literate performance.
> > > Adherence to formal rules is the only way to meet the scholastic
> > > ideal. At the same time, as soon as kids leave class and go into
> > > the hall, other ideals become available, at least for 5 minutes of
> > > passing
> > time.
> > >
> > > Outside school, the whole world of literacy possibilities become
> > > available, with many ideals to guide production. The discourse
> > > genres that govern spoken word performances for the communities of
> > > practice that Winn focuses on are one possibility, but there are
> > > countless possibilities that suit different trajectories.
> > >
> > > Well, hope that makes some sense. I'm entirely open to the
> > > possibility that I've misunderstood Ilyenkov in seeking a way to
> > > understand him via Winn. As we say in the South: What do y'all
> > > think? p
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > --
> > "Each new level of development is a new relevant context." C.H.