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2012 August RTE, v47.1

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Research in the Teaching of English
Volume 47, Number 1, August 2012

Level(s): College

ISBN/ISSN: 0034-527X

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Research in the Teaching of English
Volume 47, Number 1, August 2012

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Editors’ Introduction: Literate Practices Are Situated, Mediated, Multisemiotic, and Embodied
Mark Dressman, Sarah McCarthey, and Paul Prior

Examining Digital Literacy Practices on Social Network Sites
Amber Buck
Abstract: Young adults represent the most avid users of social network sites, and they are also the most concerned with their online identity management, according the Pew Internet and American Life Project. These practices represent important literate activity today, as individuals who are writing online learn to negotiate interfaces, user agreements, and personal data, as well as rhetorical situations. Examining the social, technological, and structural factors that influence digital literacy practices in online environments is crucial to understanding the impact of these sites on writing practices. Applying Brooke’s concept of an “ecology of practice” to writing in digital environments, this article examines the digital literacy practices of one undergraduate student through his self-presentation strategies. In considering the roles that social network sites play in individuals’ literacy and identity practices, writing researchers and educators can better understand the literacy practices that students engage in outside of the classroom and the experiences they bring to their academic writing.

Kristina’s Ghetto Family: Tensions and Possibilities at the Intersection of Teacher and Student Literacy Agendas
Denise Ives
Abstract: Despite a growing awareness among teachers of the importance of recognizing and valuing a broader range of students’ literate resources and experiences, including those that are culturally and linguistically linked, in many language arts classrooms students’ literacy practices continue to be marginalized—remaining peripheral to, if not at odds with, the central work of the classroom. This ethnographic study, featuring a sixth-grade African American girl, examined one such case of marginalization that occurred in an urban English language arts classroom during an integrated novel study unit. Drawing on the Bakhtinian concept of dialogism, the study considers how a student-authored play showcasing cultural and linguistic resources disrupted the planned curriculum and how tensions were negotiated by the teacher, student, and researcher. In spite of the student’s efforts and the teacher’s best intentions, hegemonic centripetal forces resisted and ultimately marginalized students’ literate interests and agendas in this classroom. Recommendations from this research include planning on, and for, dialogism by deliberately structuring curricula so there is both time and space for students’ literate interests, resources, and abilities.

Voice Construction, Assessment, and Extra-Textual Identity
Christine M. Tardy
Abstract: The concept of voice has long attracted the attention of teachers, but more recently has also been the focus of a growing body of research aiming to understand voice as self-representation in writing. Adopting a sociocultural orientation to voice, studies have revealed much about how textual choices are used by readers to build images of text-authors; however, such research has been limited to contexts in which the author’s actual identity is unknown by the reader. Research has offered limited insight into how an author’s embodied self figures into readers’ voice construction, or how voice construction is connected to readers’ assessments of text—with or without knowledge of the author’s identity apart from the text. This article takes up these issues by exploring how readers’ exposure to videos of two second language (L2) student-authors influenced voice construction and evaluation of the students’ papers. Through primarily qualitative and intertextual analysis, the study concludes that voice construction, extra-textual identity, and assessment are related and interacting constructs, though these relationships are neither straightforward nor predictable. Methodological, pedagogical, and theoretical implications of this conclusion are discussed.

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