Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Allow myself to introduce myself last time I think

The use of language defines who we are what we're about and what we mean to those around us. The various communities we interact with are as much a part of us as we are a part of them. I am a Corrections Officer but even within that very small communities there are certain smaller discourses. I am a black man, I am a part of what I would consider the Hip-hop generation, I'm a poet, a football coach, a student and a teacher in training. There are perameters and jargon specific to all of these communities that I navigate between on a daily basis. My speech is the only thing that is effected in my transition between one and the next. I fell I'm always the same person, I don't even notice when I switch codes but after examining my many discourses I know that I do.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Allow myself to introduce myself, again

Language is a very powerful thing, I can remember in the seond grade my ability to communicate with others earned me what I would consider a position of power. I was selected as a representative to the school council at my elementary school and elevated to vice president and eventually president because I was able to communicate the needs of the students to the administration and communicate the concerns of the administration to the students. My use of language in this capacity put me in certain situations that have shaped who I am as a man. Being charged with the leadership of a campus and being looked to as the voice of a student body, placed me in situations where my use of language was directly responsible for the direction of a school. My principal seemed more impressed at my ability to lead those significantly older than myself than anything else. Language and communication can be scary many people have a great fear of public speaking, being placed in position where I had to it at a young age allowed me to overcome it early and capitilize on it later in life. Having a positive experience with language has allowed me to develop a healthy relationship with language in all forms.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Allow Myself to introduce Myself Volume 3

School and literacy haven’t always co-existed happily for me I recently wrote a poem and one of the lines is I wanted to teach before I’d been taught. In the 11th grade I was put into advanced American Literature which was part of a humanities track that was reserved for “really smart” students and my scholastic achievement to that point certainly didn’t warrant my placement in such a class. On the first or second day the teacher had the class select a passage and analyze its meaning. I can’t remember what passage I chose, why I chose it, or what I said, but I can remember Ms. Scarborough telling me I was brilliant at the bottom of my paper. She lectured about how reading was as much about understanding what the words on the page meant as it was about knowing how to pronounce them and use them correctly. Her class wasn’t just about reading stories it was about understanding them and understanding how and why they made people feel the way they did. Ms. Scarborough was one of many really good teachers I’ve had and her influence is part of the reason I want to be a teacher to this day, she allowed me to look at literacy and my relationship with it in a completely different way. I learned how to read at four but I didn’t learn why I needed to read until I was sixteen. I want to help my students get this place, I want to be a teacher that they remember for teaching them why words are important not just that they are.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

"En Los Dos Idiomas"

By Teresa Espinosa

Where There's A Will, There's Lirico

The first part of this article talked about the course of the ethnographic study of Compadrazgo which means Compadre in Spanish which is translated as Godparent. The relationships of the 45 people consisted of family, friends and compadres. Their socio economic status were working class with limited or no formal education. Some had elementary (primaria 1-6th) and middle (secundaria 7-9th) school education while others had to work immediately to help support the family. What did this say about literacy? Well, some were taught literacy in school while others took th initiative to learn on their own. They called it lirico (lyrically). These are men in their mid thirties who learned literacy as lirico, which means they, "picked it up" informally from others (470). Farr called this a bare bones approcah which makes sense since the people were teaching themselves simply by copying the letters from a cigarrette box or by asking questions along the way and no formal schooling.

What I found very interesting was how some men were able to read and wrote poorly and one particular person was able to write but had to have someone read his response letters to him. Farr says, " that neither learning reading first nor writing first is more natural" (473). This study proves that both reading and writing can be learned without formal schooling. I supposed from this we can infer that when learned in this manner, literacy is bare boned and not mastered until there is formal schooling. The people who write lirico say that they know they will probably never write write properly since they don't know punctuation. However his belief that he didn't read well, he scored considerbly high on a fromal test of English literacy. Farr believes that learning lirico literacy is effective.

Monday, May 18, 2009

American Indian Communities

To some degree, Native Americans seem to have common culture with others such as African Americans in that they are strongly rooted in "storytelling traditions, the flow and structure of oral narratives, and the importance of oral traditions" (493). Studying these characteristics when observing a Native Americans writing skills may greatly benefit the teacher in locating the zone of proximal development of the individual student. It doesn't seem too far fetched to embrace the diversity of the cultures when trying to teach English to Native Americans. To deny students the roots of their culture makes the teaching process seem insignificant.

Ever-shifting oral and literature traditions

The societal consequences of literacy are based on the experiences of the people have with written language and their oral interpretation of it. A litterate society differs significantly at the cognitive level from that of a culture of oral tradition. Shirley Brice Heath cites research done by Goody and Watt, Ong, and Havelock to support her assertion of the extreme differences between oral and litterate societies. The differnces don't give one supperiority over te other and Heath uses research from Dodd to explain "Certain discourse forms, such as the parable or proverb are formulaic uses of language which convey meanings without direct explanation."(443) Heath goes on to state that "truth lies in experience and is verified by the experience of listners."(443) Oral tradition are especially prevelant in societies where access to written language is restricted or prohibited. Heath utilizes her own research to decribe the "Literacy Event" Heath says this occurance "is any occasion in which a piece of writing is integral to the nature of participants interactions and their interpretive processes.(Heath 1978)"(445)
The oral expression of te written language is an important dynamic in Heath's research, she goes t great length to explain the paralell evolution btween the traditions of what's spoken vs. what's written. She examines the art of story telling as a literary device and an extension of written language and an expression of personal involvement. A story given orally must have all of the same elements that a written story has to be successfull, and a written story is always attempting to invoke the human emotion that comes naturally to stories in te oral tradition. During her breakdown of the differences and similarities between written and oral traditions Heath raises an important question; written improves oral, what is the oral impact on written language?

Autobio #6 "Switching Discourse Gears"

By Teresa Espinosa

I had to do another "week 6" since I had the perfect weekend for this topic...

"Switching Discourse Gears"

It was the perfect weekend for this autobio since my family went to my mother's house for a bbq. It is interesting because I noticed right away when I switched discourse. On the way to my mother's it is about a 30 minute drive and my husband and I were discussing the swine flu issues in Mexico. My argument was how over dramatic some parts of this country is reacting an his argument was that we should over react, this way more people will practice cleanliness more consistantly.

While we both has strong arguments going, once we reached my mother's house, the conversation came to a halt. I tried to carry the conversation over to where my sisters were and they were disinterested. Instead, they changed my topic of conversation to gossip about another sister that wasn't present. Once in a while my sisters will discuss world news but it is not that common. They like to stick to gossip and local news. The discourse changed immediately after arriving.

It's not that I don't enjoy the occassional gossip but it gets boring and tedious after a while. When I try to discuss what is going on in school or world news/politics, they quickly become disinterested and shift gears.