ERIC Number: ED334579
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar-22
Reference Count: N/A
Obscured by Metaphor: "Community" vs. the Reality of a Writing Class.
A case study analyzed the function of language (how language was being used and for what purposes) in a composition classroom from a systemic linguistic perspective. The subject was a young woman of Iranian-Macedonian descent and the researcher was the subject's composition teacher. The study focused on the subject's use of metaphor in relation to communal uses of metaphor in the classroom. Three levels of analysis (micro, intermediate, and macro) were used, analyzing: (1) grammatical-semantic metaphor in the subject's language; (2) lexical metaphor in the subject's texts; and (3) lexico-semantic metaphor as it appeared in communal texts. The subjects' texts--both spoken and written--were not well-received in the classroom, and she herself defined herself as an outcast. Results indicated that the subject did not fit into the classroom "community" because she was deploying the same set of linguistic resources--metaphors--in ways that did not mesh neatly with the ways most students were deploying metaphorical uses of language. Findings suggest that the commonly accepted notion of "community" and the notion of resistance fail to explain why some students do well in composition classrooms and why some do not. Students should be taught that conflict is constitutive, normal, and necessary; it explains the dynamism of language and meaning, and it is inherent in social groups. Findings also suggest that composition teachers should conceptualize their classrooms not as communities but as "collectivities" and begin to listen actively for the metaphors students offer to define themselves as a group-in-process. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Composition Theory
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (42nd, Boston, MA, March 21-23, 1991).