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ERIC Number: EJ1008171
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 19
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 57
ISSN: ISSN-1559-9035
Activist Literacies: Teacher Research as Resistance to the "Normal Curve"
Simon, Rob; Campano, Gerald
Journal of Language and Literacy Education, v9 n1 p21-39 Spr 2013
Teacher/practitioner research, with its emphasis on the intimate relationship between knowledge and teaching, can be a methodological basis for developing rich conceptions of literacy and alternative practices. Teacher researchers theorize from the thick of things, from actual educational contexts that they shape daily. This informs new practices and educational possibilities for students. Like disability studies, activist teacher research is concerned with the relationship between the built world and social identity and agency. Both frameworks challenge medical models for diagnosing and individuating identities, and emphasize how material structures and social practices stigmatize differences and curtail access to fuller human flourishing. These perspectives also suggest alternatives. As a methodological stance on classroom practice, practitioner research provides a framework for working against deficit notions of students' identities and literacy practices, and working toward re-envisioning the "normal" in classrooms as intersections of students' multiple worlds of culture, language, experience, and potential. In this article, the authors draw on their own work and the work of other literacy teacher researchers to describe three ways educators resist the normal curve through what they characterize as counter-practices. Drawing on disability studies, the authors analyze how these kinds of resistances characterize different but overlapping understandings of educational access with their own contradictions and possibilities. In their conclusion, the authors look across the examples to suggest how activist literacies involve challenging the ideological foundations of institutions and practices.
Department of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Georgia. 315 Aderhold Hall, Athens, GA 30602. Tel: 706-542-7866; Fax: 706-542-3817; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California