Date of Award

2009

Degree Type

Closed Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Amy Seely Flint, Ph. D. - Chair

Second Advisor

Mary Deming, Ph. D.

Third Advisor

Maudine Jefferson, Ph. D.

Fourth Advisor

Miles Anthony Irving, Ph. D.

Abstract

Abstract Making Meaning, Out of Meaning Making by Alda M. Blakeney This study examines the ways in which three elementary teachers appropriated and implemented a defined literacy curriculum in their classrooms. The overarching question guiding the study is, “What are the social and cultural patterns of meaning making in the literacy practices of three elementary teachers?” The study is framed by sociocultural perspectives of learning (Bourdieu, 1986; Gee, n.d; Vygotsky, 1978). Literacy practices involve the cultural, social, political, and historical ways of interacting and making sense of the world. Therefore, to study literacy practices of three elementary teachers means to study the social and cultural contexts in which they occur. Field notes, interviews, and teacher-produced artifacts were analyzed using emergent coding schemes (Spradley, 1979; LeCompte and Schensul, 1999). Findings from the study revealed that the literacy practices of these three teachers were standards driven, emphasizing a foundational approach to literacy development. Additionally, the teachers focused on transforming Spanish speakers into English readers. These findings suggest that the social and cultural patterns of meaning making between and among teachers and learners are not equally represented in the curriculum. Moreover, the teachers did not disrupt commonly held beliefs and practices about literacy, thereby maintaining the status quo. Implications for this study including equipping teachers, both pre-service and in-service with knowledge of critical theory and literacy, with a goal of increased engagement in literacy practices and a democratized production of knowledge.

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