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Title:Rewriting writing: classrooms as the construction site for literacy between teachers, students, and the curriculum
Author(s):Yoon, Haeny
Director of Research:Dyson, Anne H.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Dyson, Anne H.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Harris, Violet J.; DeNicolo, Christina P.; Lo, Adrienne S.
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):scripted curriculum
literacy & writing
professional development
teaching and learning
teacher collaboration
Abstract:Schooling in these contemporary times is a highly contested issue, launching many reform efforts aimed at improving the state of schools. Amidst growing concerns over the quality of schools, there have been numerous efforts to standardize teaching and learning through the implementation of scripted curricula, increased attention towards testing data, and a focus on decontextualized basic skills. More specifically, these efforts at standardizing the practice of teaching work to narrow conceptions and ideologies related to language development and literacy practices, especially marginalizing children from diverse, cultural communities. This dissertation raises questions about scripting teacher practice through curricular and assessment tools. This project investigates the negotiation that takes place as teachers and students interact with each other, using curriculum as a mediating tool. In this 4-month ethnographic study of a group of kindergarten teachers, the interpretation of curriculum and the agency of teachers and students is examined within two spaces: teacher collaboration meetings and writing events in the classroom. Specifically, the project seeks to answer the following research questions: How do teachers construct their beliefs about literacy in collaborative spaces? How do teachers interpret and enact the mandated, literacy curriculum (the official curriculum)? How do teachers and students construct the enacted literacy curriculum together? Thus, by analyzing the interactions inside and outside of the classroom, this work describes the ways that curriculum is translated and transformed. Data for this study centers around three kindergarten teachers as they worked through the goals and ideologies of curriculum as well as those tools used to assess the development of children. Additionally, this study features a kindergarten classroom where literacy practices were interpreted and re-interpreted as children interacted with their teacher, their peers, and the curricular materials. By describing these interactions, the project sought to illustrate the agency of teachers and students as they opened up narrow ideologies of language development. By observing and highlighting the writing possibilities of children, this study shows the need to challenge assessments used to define children’s literacy potential, the need to open up the bounded literacy curriculum, and the need to broaden the definitions of literacy attributed to children. Ultimately, this study advocates for flexible and “permeable” (Dyson, 1993) curriculum, allowing teachers to make space for children’s literacy practices, which are situated and contextual. Thus, instead of looking to outsiders and non-practitioners in the development of standardized, literacy curriculum and its corresponding professional development, teachers need space to make decisions on instruction, grounded in the work of the children in their classrooms.
Issue Date:2012-09-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Haeny Yoon
Date Available in IDEALS:2012-09-18
Date Deposited:2012-08

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