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ERIC Number: EJ831313
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Mar
Pages: 12
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0360-9170
Community Dialogue: The Bridge between Individual and Society
Wells, Gordon
Language Arts, v86 n4 p290-301 Mar 2009
In Shakespeare's "As You Like It," Jaques offers the image of the world--or society--as a stage on which "one man in his time plays many parts." The question is: how does he (or she) know how to play those parts? Jaques seems to be suggesting that individuals are the creation of society, and the parts they play are written in advance for them. But elsewhere, Shakespeare seems to suggest that men and women are autonomous agents, each influencing and being influenced by those with whom they have dealings. Seen from this latter perspective, society is just a collection of individuals. However, in this paper, the author suggests that neither perspective is adequate and that the relationship between individual and society can only be properly understood if individuals recognize the key role of communities and their members as mediators of this relationship, largely through the use of language. The author also focuses on classrooms in which the teachers had a more inclusive conception of a classroom community than most of those he observed in Bristol, and he describes some of the ways in which they worked with the children to bring such communities into existence. But first, he provides a background, he explains why he considers talk to have such a central role in the formation of a classroom community and in the learning in which its members engage. (Contains 2 figures and 4 footnotes.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom (Bristol)