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ERIC Number: ED537941
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 345
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-2671-4513-0
Writing Out Loud: The Intellectual and Epistemological Work of Developing a Community of Poets in an Urban Elementary Classroom
Pacheco, Denise L.
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of California, Los Angeles
In an era of reductionist approaches to teaching and assessment, this dissertation returns to the fundamental question: "What is the value of writing, particularly poetry writing, in our society today?" The poet's central task, to abstract reality through symbols, requires profound cognitive and emotional work (Vendler, 2004; Steele, 2000). As young poets use their imaginations and literary tools to experiment with the power of language they are introduced to radical possibilities--the world as it could be. Through poetry students can speak to the U.S. President, be a leaf on a tree, or grow wings and fly above the city. For non-dominant students who typically experience little exposure to formal arts education, this is particularly significant (Darling-Hammond 2007, 2004). This dissertation uses an interpretative critical case-study approach to investigate the pedagogical practices, student participation and learning in a creative writing intervention, "The Writing Out Loud Project." I designed and implemented this project to introduce a class of fifth grade students in South Central Los Angeles to college level texts, literary analysis, and poetry writing. Grounded in the theoretical insights of Chicana feminist epistemology (Anzaldua, 1999; Anzaldua, 1998; Castillo, 1994; Moraga, 1993), the work of Paulo Freire (2005, 1970) and cultural-historical approaches to learning and development (Cole, 1996; Cole & Engestrom, 1993; Vygotsky, 1978) this study argues that the intellectual and metaphorical nature of poetry writing is instrumental to facilitating a complex epistemological awareness of one's identity and experiences in the world. This nuanced form of expression is useful for bringing institutional recognition to students' articulation of voice. By federal standards urban English Learners are in need of standardized curriculum and instruction. This dissertation counters that assumption, arguing that poetry writing allows students to practice meaningful ways of using language to develop complex forms of thinking and expression. Through the use of micro-ethnographic methods, this study provides an examination of the discourse and social interaction that characterized the learning environment in this project and the distinctive pedagogical practices that engendered its development. As opposed to practicing isolated literacy skills, the Writing Out Loud Project assisted students in stepping into the literary craft and sensibility of a poet. Findings from this study centralize the pedagogical creativity and multiple levels of expertise involved in apprenticing students in the cultural process of becoming a poet. In this case, effective pedagogical practice involved simultaneously drawing upon knowledge of both teaching and poetry. Findings also show the degree to which the instructor and many students in the study used forms of discourse and joint activity to create a unique, more humanizing learning environment in which ideas and creative products, such as a well-crafted metaphor, were valued and developed collectively. Through expert assistance from the instructor and peers, students' identities as poets grew through repeated encounters of collaborative writing, thinking, and word play (Holland et al., 1998). This study offers new insights for educational policy regarding the academic achievement of non-dominant students and contributes to an understanding of the teaching practices and curricula necessary for meeting these students' needs. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Elementary Secondary Education; Grade 5
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California