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The Kiss and the Ghost

Sylvia Ashton-Warner and New Zealand

Edited by Alison Jones and Sue Middleton

Sylvia Ashton-Warner, novelist and educationist, was extraordinarily famous in the 1960s. She maintained that young children best learn to read and write when they produce their own vocabulary, especially sex words—like ‘kiss’, and fear words—like ‘ghost’. Educators lauded her.
Her autobiographical novels about teaching in remote schools, and being culturally abandoned in a remote country, New Zealand, attained enormous international popularity in both literary and educational circles.
But she had an intensely ambivalent relationship with the land of her birth. Despite receiving many accolades in New Zealand, she claimed to have been rejected and persecuted by her homeland. In her darkest moments, she railed against New Zealand and New Zealanders, even stating in one television interview: “I’m not a New Zealander!”
This is the first book to make Sylvia Ashton-Warner’s passionately difficult relationship with New Zealand its central focus. Its contributors argue that, rather than stultifying her, the country she decried produced Sylvia and her work. In addition, infant schooling in New Zealand in the post-war years was relatively radical and progressive, and education officials seemed to welcome Sylvia’s ideas about literacy.
The edited collection includes chapters by Maori teachers and others who worked with Sylvia, as well as recollections of her son, Elliot Henderson. It reprints her Teaching Scheme that was originally published in New Zealand in the 1950s. And it celebrates her novels as brilliant and angry evocations of life in the wildness of New Zealand.

Multiple Literacies Theory

A Deleuzian Perspective

Edited by Diana Masny and David R. Cole

Visual Data

Understanding and Applying Visual Data to Research in Education

Edited by Jon E. Pedersen and Kevin D. Finson

The visual inputs we receive can be collectively called visual data. Precisely how one defines visual data is a key question to ask. That is one of the questions we asked each author who wrote a chapter for this book. If one comes to a decision with respect to what visual data are, then the next question becomes, “What are visual data like?” Then, “What do they mean?” As with any data, we can collect it and compile it, but if we don’t have some way to bring meaning it, it has little value to us. The answers may not be as straightforward as one might assume at the outset.
The extent to which visual data permeates what we do as educators is such that it may be difficult to identify every discipline in which it emerges. In this book, we have tried to provide a forum for authors from a cross section of common disciplines: visual arts, English, literacy, mathematics, science, social science, and even higher education administration.

Confronting Intolerance

Critical, Responsive Literacy Instruction with Adult Immigrants

Series:

Stephen G. Mogge

Confronting Intolerance: Critical, Responsive Literacy Instruction with Adult Immigrants captures the experience of adult immigrants who are improving their English literacy while confronting an intolerant political culture. It examines recent immigration policy and the anti-immigrant fervor that has gripped the United States and describes the perseverance and struggles of immigrant students to pursue their goals through literacy education.
The book offers a powerful and vivid example of critical pedagogy blended with sociocultural perspectives of literacy education in an effort to raise student consciousness and alter the political culture. Confronting Intolerances is an ethnographic, teacher research narrative that describes a year in the life of the author’s classroom with adult Latino immigrants, mostly Mexican, in a Chicago, Illinois (USA) settlement house.
Specific focus is given to immigrant students’ response to reading material that was selected to meet individual ambitions but was also selected to meet the concerns and anxieties that surfaced in response to the intolerant climate. The book describes students’ engagement with narrative and informational reading and displays the students’ evolving perspectives on politics, economics, culture, and race as these relate to Latino immigrants in the United States.
Through extensive classroom dialogue and descriptions of students engaged in political activities, the book explores the students’ emerging sense of what it means to become “American” amidst an immigrant backlash. It takes the reader through a year in a settlement house classroom, and reveals the hopes, dreams, and struggles of immigrants who continue to pursue America’s promises—those realized and those broken.

Critical Literacies in Action

Social Perspectives and Teaching Practices

Series:

Edited by Karyn Cooper and Robert E. White

Critical Literacies in Action: Social Perspectives and Teaching Practices asks how educators can become more experienced in order to truly support literacy, particularly for children of poverty or for those who have been labeled “at-risk”. This is especially important in current times, since a literate individual is one who is more successfully able to situate him- or herself within a continuum of lifelong learning in order to fulfill personal goals and to participate fully within the wider societyal context.
Although the word “literacy” has been with us for a very long time, the very meaning of the term itself has become increasingly complex due to a multiplicity of factors. At least in part, this complexity is a function of expanding and interconnecting notions of what it is that constitutes modern literacy as well as the increasingly technological nature of the world within which individuals live and learn. As such, a new horizon in literacy research has appeared, promising to renegotiate traditional definitions of the term “literate” and what it means to be critically literate in this increasingly complex world.
Definitions of literacy have also evolved along with the evolution of the computer. Currently, the term “literacy” describes a commitment to and participation in a multiplicity of meaning making systems, many of which exhibit ever-greater degrees of interdependence with one another. The term “Critical Literacy” has come into use relatively recently and is generally regarded as a sub-category of Critical Pedagogy—“Critical” because it promotes an agenda for positive social change.

Series:

Patrick J. Lewis

If story is the basic principle of mind—then what are we doing in elementary schools? In this provocative exploration of narrative, the author writes from the idea that story is integral to the generation of meaning in human experience. Indeed, story plays a significant role in the formation of identity and the development of greater empathic understanding.
The text begins with a discussion of the epistemological and ontological nature of narrative in human understanding and then travels across the narrative landscape of the school setting. Through an examination of the impact of standards and accountability emphasis on curriculum, the author suggests current practice may be undermining student learning and engagement. Further, the author places oracy in temporary opposition to literacy, challenging us to rethink our assumptions about the role of literacy (ies) learning. Without negating the importance of literacy, attention is drawn to what is lost in chasing the assumed inherent good-ness of a text-based literacy and how this might hinder the growth of our children.
The value of narrative in developing teaching practice and promoting significant learning is brought to the foreground of the discussion, which naturally journeys into an exploration of curriculum raising serious questions about developmental approaches to curriculum construction. How we think but not in school will appeal to elementary teachers, early literacy teachers, teacher educators and those interested in narrative.

Language, Capital, Culture

Critical Studies and Education in Singapore

Series:

Edited by Viniti Vaish, S. Gopinathan and Yongbing Liu

Singapore has been taken by many researchers as a fascinating living language policy and planning laboratory. Language and education policy in Singapore has been pivotal not only to the establishment and growth of schooling, but to the very project of nation building. Since their inception, ‘mother tongue’ policies have been established with two explicit goals. Firstly there is the development and training of human and intellectual capital for the expansion and networking of a Singaporean service and information economy. Secondly there is the maintenance of cultural heritage and values as a means for social cohesion and, indeed, the maintenance of community and regional social capital. These tasks have been fraught with tension and contradiction, both in relation to the conditions of rapid cultural, economic and political change in Asia and globally, but as well because of the tensions between the so called ‘world language English’ and Singapore’s three other official languages, Tamil, Malay and Mandarin. This has been complicated, of course, by the challenges of vibrant regional dialects and the emergence of Singlish as a powerful medium of community life.

Notational Knowledge

Developmental and Historical Perspectives

Edited by Eva Teubal, Julie Dockrell and Liliana Tolchinsky

Permanent external representations in the form of drawings, maps, musical scores, figures, graphs, writing, numerals, hallmarks and signatures are part of our daily landscape and permeate most social activities almost from the moment we are born. This book is about humans’ appropriation, understanding and use of external representations.
The authors, all established researchers, present first hand research in the domain of notational knowledge. They reflect on the peculiar features and representational mechanisms of notational systems based on cultural conventions such as musical notation, graphs, writing, numerals and mathematical notation as well as on unique notations that children create in new situations. There are two chapter clusters in the book. The first cluster considers these systems from a historical perspective. Authors focus on the characteristics of these systems in different cultures and at different times and analyze the ways in which notation systems evolve and transform our social interactions, our ideas about language and about other domains of knowledge. The second cluster of chapters takes a developmental perspective. In these chapters the authors focus on the individual appropriation of these systems and highlight the interest for studying permanent external representation as a domain of human development. In particular, authors explore the ways in which notation systems are acquired, the extent to which children are sensitive to their distinguishing constraints and to the particular contents they come to represent and question the future of notations. Both the historical and the developmental perspectives are crucial for understanding the relations between culture and cognition. We can learn about the human mind through analyzing the social processes of invention and transformations of cultural artifacts and also through the individual and social process of appropriation of the cultural artifacts already created.
A common theme in the book is that permanent external representations are not just instruments for expressing given information or tools for communication, they are objects to think with. They not only keep record of existing knowledge but are themselves instrumental in the creation of new knowledge. There are conceptual, linguistic and esthetic distinctions that may be unattainable without notational means.
The book will be useful for students of psychology, philosophy, linguistics and education and for every one interested in understanding ways in which knowledge is generated, recorded and scrutinized.
Although there are other volumes on writing, literacy, and numeracy, and some chapters are available in other volumes on the history of writing, mathematics or musical notation, the present proposal is unique and timely for the range of notational systems it embraces, for including both an historical and a developmental perspective and for the number of theoretical frameworks it discusses.

Resisting Qualifications Reforms in New Zealand

The English Study Design as Constructive Dissent

Edited by Terry Locke

New Zealand has been a veritable “laboratory” for a range of social experiments in the last twenty years, including an arranged marriage with neo-liberal economic policies during the late 80s and 90s. These experiments extended to education, where students, teachers, teacher educators and researchers have experienced wide-ranging “reforms” in administration, curriculum and qualifications. The most contentious of these have been a series of untrialled and radical qualifications reforms. This book offers a critical examination of these reforms from the perspective of a group of educators who resisted them by doing the unthinkable: devising their own national qualification and making it work.

Reading, Writing, and Thinking

The Postformal Basics

Series:

Paul L. Thomas and Joe Kincheloe

In a world gone mad with standardized curricula and the degradation of the profession of teaching, P. L. Thomas and Joe Kincheloe attempt to bring sanity back to the discussion of the teaching of some of the basic features of the educational process. In Reading, Writing, and Thinking: The Postformal Basics the authors take on the “rational irrationality” of current imperial pedagogical practices, providing readers with provocative insights into the bizarre assumptions surrounding the contemporary teaching of reading, writing, and thinking. The authors are obsessed with producing an accessible book for multiple audiences—parents, teachers, scholars of education—that moves beyond critique to a new domain of the social and educational imagination. Readers of Thomas’ and Kincheloe’s book embark on a mind trip beginning with “what is” and moving to the realm of “what could be.” In this context they introduce readers to a critical theory of thinking—postformalism—that moves the social and educational conversation to a new terrain of individual and social consciousness.
Tired of the same educational policies and “solutions” in the teaching of reading, writing, and thinking, the authors become socio-psychic explorers who move readers past the boundaries of contemporary pedagogical perception.