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Crossing Borders: Teacher Pedagogical Discourse Practices in a Non-Profit Community Media Center

  • Author(s): Ayers, Richard James
  • Advisor(s): Mahiri, Jabari
  • et al.
Abstract

The communication skills of teachers, their repertoire of discourses and rhetorical tools, are central to successful educational projects. This dissertation analyzes discourses as complex social practices to determine how they contribute to (or inhibit) things like student engagement, effective student learning, and student initiation into professional practices. Through classroom observations and teacher interviews, this qualitative case study illuminates the discourse practices of two teachers at a non-profit youth development media program. It considers how these teachers negotiate the intersectionality of professional radio discourse with other youth discourses to facilitate student learning of complex content as well as technical and journalistic skills. I propose the term Global Emergent Discourse to capture the mixture of diverse cultures and of global and local identities reflected in the classroom communication of these students and their teachers. This is a hybrid discourse that results from the colliding mixes and collages of their lived experiences. The findings of this study indicated that the deployment of discourse by the teachers in this setting was the enactment of an invented hybrid that was neither formal professional English nor the primary community discourses of the students in the two classes. It was a mixture that marked points of unity as well as steps towards induction to new discourses that reached across different generations and different local experiences within the complex web of Global Emergent Discourse. This hybrid discourse allowed these two teachers to effectively engage students in a complex curriculum of journalism, media literacy, and technical skills. It also marked a validation of the perspective and values of both the teachers and the students and stood in contrast to and critique of the one way transmission of knowledge and framing of educational goals that is often reflective of schooling in the United States.

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