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ERIC Number: ED374428
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Nov-22
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
The Language of Classroom Democracies: Assessing Language and Learning within the Student Culture.
McCallister, Cynthia
Anne Haas Dyson's concept of the "child collective" and Colette Daiute's concept of "youth genres" can be useful observational frameworks for better understanding classroom dynamics. In studying classrooms where children are given opportunities to collaborate, Dyson's "child collective" identifies those behaviors that children use to express their own identity in classrooms, which allow children the freedom and flexibility to communicate and interact freely. Similarly, Daiute observes that children have their own means of communicating among themselves, which include the following approaches: (1) playfulness; (2) experimentation and approximation; and (3) affection (i.e., raising of voices, giggling). In observing their own classrooms, teachers will notice that their students indeed have their own means of communicating among themselves. For instance, one group of kindergarten students who were playing a detective game had developed "secret files," which were coded so that only they could read them. A number of transcribed conversations among students furthermore shows them identifying and sharing common problems as "kids." The challenge to teachers is to structure classrooms so that students have the opportunity to use exploratory language and to construct knowledge. In an important study, William Corsaro emphasizes the importance of teachers setting up boundaries within which a peer culture can develop. (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Reports - Evaluative; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A