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ERIC Number: ED511803
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Sep
Pages: 38
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 64
Making Sense of Time as Context: Theoretical Affordances of Chronotopes in the Study of Schooling and Student Success. WCER Working Paper No. 2010-11
Compton-Lilly, Catherine
Wisconsin Center for Education Research (NJ1)
Time regulates the lives of educators. Time on task, 45-minute classes, 2-hour literacy blocks, 10-week marking periods, and 40-week school years are central to teachers' lives and to the operation of schools. In contemporary schools, benchmarks, standards, promotion, retention, graduation, and ultimately school success are all intricately connected to time. Recently, politicians, policy makers, and educators have increasingly focused on what students should be able to do at certain points in time. Passing standardized tests, achieving grade-level standards, and attaining text-level benchmarks all involve temporal expectations. Time plays a significant role in the culture of schools and in the ways students and staff experience schools (Ben-Peretz & Bromme, 1990). As Zerubavel (1981) argued, "time seems to constitute one of the major parameters of the context on which the meaning of social acts and situations depends" (pp. 101-102). However, recent analyses have focused on time as a resource and have neglected the sociological and semiotic meanings that accompany time. Unlike earlier discussions of time, this paper makes a case for recognizing "time as context"--as a constitutive dimension of experience that informs the ways students make sense of literacy, schooling, and themselves. Time is important because long-term processes--such as literacy learning, identity construction, and school trajectories--all involve longitudinal meaning construction. As Bloome, Beierle, Grigorenko, and Goldman (2009) explained, "people take hold of time, they structure, organize, and represent it, give it meaning and social significance, and experience it both individually and collectively in terms of those meanings and social significances" (pp. 314-315). In this paper, the author uses a case study approach to explore various aspects of time as it relates to the specific learning trajectory and affordances of one low-income, African American student, Jermaine Hudson. The author argues that time is a dimension of the contexts in which Jermaine made sense of his world and himself. (Contains 6 tables and 5 figures.)
Wisconsin Center for Education Research. School of Education, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1025 West Johnson Street Suite 785, Madison, WI 53706. Tel: 608-263-4200; Fax: 608-263-6448; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Spencer Foundation
Authoring Institution: Wisconsin Center for Education Research