Education is a dance of complexity and struggle. Unfortunately, our educational system is tied to the observable and the verifiable, not the randomness of human beings and their diverse forms of expression. The reality of the contemporary classroom is a context of multifaceted diversity, with each classroom reflecting unique combinations of ideology, culture, and language, played out in numerous forms and permutations of multi-textual discourses. The influence of each contextual space is only limited by one’s ability to understand its complexity and to acknowledge it.
Teachers and learners are roommates of sorts, connected by the web of discourse and praxis, woven inside the global community. We live in a world where common understanding is desperately sought, yet one where language is often not tied to common understanding. Exploring the need for shared community within this context, Griffith provides a path in which the diverse ways of knowing can interlace to form pedagogical moments in which teachers and learners can deconstruct and construct alternatives.
Cultural narration is based on a series of social relationships, which can be compared to reading the world as a series of texts. As readers become a part of the reconstruction process, the educational system can be visualized as a series of cautionary tales about possibilities, about ways to live and build community in this modern/postmodern world. The author focuses on the nature of discourse and the importance of engaging in dialogue about what it means to be other-conscious, what it means to address questions about who we are and how we came to be who we are.
This path is continuously “under construction;” it is always in the process of becoming what is appearing on the horizon. As teachers learn to commit themselves to the gaps revealed by the narratives of their students, classrooms become discourse communities and contact zones, co-constructing contextual discourses which acknowledge ritual and gesture manifested in various forms of text.