ERIC Number: ED331074
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Teachers and Students "In the Field": What We Have (re-)Learned from Anthropology.
Strange as it may seem, the classroom is not, by and large, accepted within the composition discipline as a scene for genuine knowledge-making and theory-building. Teachers should go back to the "concrete materials" from which knowledge and theory are made. An example of what can be learned in the classroom comes from an effort to encourage students to reflect on the extent to which people are "constructed" by culture. Students are encouraged to bring up, in class and in their writing, examples of groups with which they are affiliated. As an assignment, students in a community college writing course are asked to identify one community to which they belong and to describe the roles they and the other members play. Turning from community, attention is next directed to culture. The anthropologist Clifford Geertz's "'Deep Play': Notes on the Balinese Cockfight" is used to prompt discussion about culture. Students are then asked to observe a ceremony from their own communities. Finally, students are asked to do a reading of a television advertisement as indicative of the culture's values and beliefs. Students gain much from this kind of research into culture. And just as students have come to see the significance in their "local knowledge," so too teachers may come to see that "what happens" within the community of the classroom on a day-to-day basis is worthy of observation and may even generate knowledge. (TD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Guides - Classroom - Teacher; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).