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Exclusion & Inclusion In Classroom Texts & Talk- Bigler

Exclusion & Inclusion In Classroom Texts & Talk- Bigler

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Published by woodstockwoody
Creating environments in which students’ “ways with words” and lived experiences are conceptualized
as resources in assisting students as they build bridges to the larger world requires more than the
introduction of new methods of teaching into the English classroom.
Creating environments in which students’ “ways with words” and lived experiences are conceptualized
as resources in assisting students as they build bridges to the larger world requires more than the
introduction of new methods of teaching into the English classroom.

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Published by: woodstockwoody on Oct 10, 2010
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11/25/2013

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On Exclusion and InclusioninClassroom Texts and Talk
Ellen Bigler
National Research Center on Literature Teaching and LearningUniversity at AlbanyState University of New York 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, New York 12222Report Series 7.51996
Preparation of this report was supported under the Educational Research and Development Center Program (Grantnumber R117G10015) as administered by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Departmentof Education. The findings and opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the position or policies of thesponsoring agency.
 
National Research Center on Literature Teaching and Learning
The National Research Center on Literature Teaching and Learning is a research and development centerlocated at the University at Albany, State University of New York. The Center was established in 1987 (as theCenter for the Learning and Teaching of Literature), and in January 1991 began a new, five-year cycle of work sponsored by the Office of Educational Research and Improvement, U.S. Department of Education. The Center’smission is to conduct research and sponsor activities to improve the teaching of literature, preschool through grade12, in schools across the nation.Center-sponsored research falls into three broad areas: teaching and learning processes, curriculum andassessment, and social and cultural traditions in the teaching and learning of literature. Special attention is givento the role of literature in the teaching and learning of students at risk for school failure, and to the developmentof higher-level literacy skills, literary understanding, and critical thinking skills in all students.For information on current publications and activities, write to: Literature Center, School of Education,University at Albany, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222.
Acknowledgments
The research and writing of this report were supported by the National Research Centeron Literature Teaching and Learning. This work would not have been possible without thecooperation of the teachers and administrators in "Arnhem" who allowed me access to theirschools and classrooms. Special thanks go to James Collins of the University at Albany, SUNY,the Project 11 (Traditions and Transitions) Director, and to external reviewers Roseann DuenasGonzalez, University of Arizona, and Caroline Heller, University of Illinois at Chicago, for theirdetailed and thoughtful comments on earlier drafts of this paper. They are not responsible for anyerrors of fact or interpretation found in the current document.
 
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On Exclusion and InclusioninClassroom Texts and Talk
Ellen BiglerRhode Island CollegeThe percentages of students from backgrounds that are ethnically or linguistically distinctfrom the white majority are increasing in our schools. For instance, in New York State over 40%of public school students belong to an ethnic minority, and at the national level “minorities” bythe mid–21st century are projected to become the majority (Henry, 1990). At the same time thatthe numbers of ethnic minority students are increasing, they, along with their white working-class peers, continue to lag behind in school on conventional measures of educationalachievement that are linked to the likelihood of continuing education and ultimately to economicwell-being: school grades, retention rates, high school completion rates, and standardized testscores. Concerns of minority communities over the schooling their children receive, first givena national forum beginning in the 1950s, are today echoed by others disturbed by the glaringeducational inequalities that persist for ethnic and linguistic minorities and working-classstudents.Among the areas of inquiry considered in the search for explanations for unequaleducational outcomes has been the classroom environment itself. Attention to the consequencesof “cultural mismatches” between student and teacher, with subsequent calls for “culturallyappropriate” or “culturally congruent” instruction, was an early focus beginning in the late 1960s.Increasingly, however, such alterations are viewed as only one element in creating classroomcommunities that enhance nonmainstream students’ opportunities to succeed academically.Moving beyond such classroom alterations, Nieto (1992), for instance, calls for
affirming
diversity in schools; Ladson-Billings urges culturally relevant pedagogy that “provide[s] a wayfor students to maintain their cultural integrity while succeeding academically [and helping]students to recognize, understand, and critique current social inequities” (1995, p. 476); andNelson-Barber and Meier stress the need for teachers to create classroom environments that“grant voice and legitimacy to the perspectives and experiences of those who are different fromthemselves—communities that do not require students to surrender personal and cultural identityin exchange for academic achievement” (1990, p. 5). Their works suggest that teacher responsesto students’ linguistic and cultural diversity, particularly with domestic minority students whohave less reason to accept the legitimacy of the schools (Ogbu, 1978), may be critical inestablishing the trust needed for nonmainstream students to consent to learning.What might such classrooms look like? In this paper I focus on elements of the classroomenvironment that have been addressed in such analyses, examining “texts and talk” in two middleschool English classrooms in order to analyze some of the processes through which studentvoices and lived experiences can be either excluded or included. I examine how the classroomenvironments that the two teachers construct—through literature choices, classroom pedagogy,interactions with students, and responses to linguistic and cultural diversity—work in ways that

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