Talk is a learning technology more integral to teaching and more essential than paper and pencil or electronics.
~Leslie A. Rex and Laura Schiller in
Using Discourse Analysis to Improve Classroom Interaction
In classrooms, it is through talking and writing that students learn and teachers teach. Discourse analysis provides teachers with the intellectual, analytic, and pedagogical tools for reflecting on and rethinking models of learning, instruction and academic knowledge. Exploring Language and Learning in Classrooms (EDUTL 6301) introduces in-service teachers to the use of discourse analysis to improve classroom learning. This “hands on” course examines and reflects on the use of spoken and written language as used to facilitate academic learning in classrooms. Using videos and transcripts drawn from classroom interactions and events, teachers use discourse analysis to reflect on how language is being used and how to create deeper and richer opportunities for academic learning. Participants must currently be teaching or co-teaching in a classroom and be able to video record events in that classroom. Variations of this course are available as independent study, outreach/engagement and as in-service. Taught by Melissa Wilson
Discourse analysis has helped me to see how all the small interactions, conversations, and non-verbals add up to learning, as well as how they relate and form patterns. I now have names for many of the things that students do and say, which I might not have deemed important previously. It has made me a more thoughtful, reflective teacher …. I can use DA to understand my students better and to see where student problems and successes stem from.
~ Gretchen, mid-career high-school teacher
Ethnographers of literacy and language study oral and written language practices embedded in social and cultural contexts. Ethnography offers a fertile framework for research involving the use and acquisition of literacy, language and literacy socialization, language and identity as well as for bilingualism, vernacular dialect speakers, and English language learners. The two-semester course Ethnography of Literacy and Language (EDUTL 7431 and 7432) introduces this field of inquiry and is highly recommended for those considering literacy or language-focused studies. In the first semester, students learn about theories and methodologies used in this field; select a topic and population for research; and critically review available literature on that topic and population. In the second, students continue to learn about theory and concepts relevant to the field, focusing more on methodology and carrying out an ethnographic pilot study, including data collection (participant-observation, writing field notes, audio and video taping, collecting documents, and conducting surveys) and data analysis (writing analytic memos, coding field notes and transcriptions of taped discourse, developing models, and reporting on the research). Taught by Mollie Blackburn, Sarah Gallo and Laurie Katz.
…for classroom teachers interested in discourse analysis or ethnography.
On Discourse Analysis
Barnes, D., & Todd, F. (1995). Communication and learning revisited: Making meaning through talk. Portsmouth, NH: Heineman.
Mercer, N. (2000). Words & minds: How we use language to think together. London: Routledge.
Rex, L. A. & Schiller, L. (2009). Using discourse analysis to improve classroom interaction. New York, NY: Routledge.
Rogers, R. (2004). An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education. Mahwah, N.J.: L. Erlbaum Associates.
Agar, M. (1994). Language shock: Understanding the culture of conversation. New York, NY: Quill.
Egan-Robertson, A., & Bloome, D. (Eds.). (1998). Students as Researchers of Culture and Language in Their Own Communities. Cresskill, NJ: Hampton Press.
Heath, S.B. (1983). Ways with words. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Landis, D. & S. Mirseitova, S. (Eds.) (2015). Knowing what’s local: Ethnographic inquiry, education and democracy. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Press.