An academic discourse is chemistry. If you identify yourself as a chemist, I think you should be able to explain formulas, theories, experiments, and the periodic table. I am in no way literate for this academic discourse community. I could not tell you half of the things on a Table of Elements or how to conduct and experiment using chemicals and formulas. Being literate in this field means knowing the basic foundation of chemistry as well as obtaining more in depth knowledge about the subject. For example, a chemist would explain things differently to me than he would his lab partner. This consensual language between the chemists allows them to further advance in the field without worrying about having to make sure the other person knows what you are talking about. It is kind of like having to take a pre-requisite before you are allowed to take the class you want. Authority has to make sure that you are proficient and can function in that academic discourse community.
I once had a teacher that would only talk about her personal life. It wasn’t a big class, only one of about 15-17 students. There were about 6 students that would always sit near her desk and they would just talk to her the whole class. All the teacher would do was pass out busy work then go back and talk to those students. They were always loud enough to where the rest of the class could hear their conversation. They would gossip and talk about their weekends or their personal lives. The teacher even admitted to the students that she occasionally smoked at times. I even heard a rumor that she hooked up with one of those students, but it’s a rumor so who knows if it was true or not. This type of behavior from a teacher was extremely inappropriate in my opinion. At the time, I was a freshman in high school and didn’t care as much because I didn’t want to do actual work. But at certain times I would think about how this teacher even got a job or is maintaining her job if this is the only kind of behavior she displayed. She would often wear clothing that was absolutely not appropriate for teacher. This affected the way I acted towards her. I gave her respect to her face but in reality I actually didn’t. Maybe I didn’t necessarily respect her, more of the fact that I wasn’t rude to her. I didn’t take her opinions or her teachings seriously at all. I’m pretty sure I didn’t learn one single thing in that class.
Literacies, Academic Discourses, & Conventions of Appropriateness
Conventions of appropriateness- understandings developed overtime about the kinds of behaviors associated with teaching and learning, which are, and are not, appropriate. Includes: academic behaviors in the classroom; kinds of interactions he of she has with students; whether and how textbooks are used.
Examples of teachers- respecting your teacher also along with willingness to learn
In order to be literate in an academic discourse, one must be able to converse with someone of that specific in that discourse in a way that exemplifies their knowledge of that Discourse. There are “qualifications” in order to get into an academic discourse community. For example, an art major would have no idea what a physics major is talking about when explaining dynamic pressure. And vice versa; a physics major would not really know how to write an artistic reflection.
How to join an Academic Discourse?
-You must know the terminology and “language” of that Discourse.
-It is authority that oversees that certain Discourse.
-There are no magic steps or formula to get into a certain Discourse.
Technology is growing so fast in today’s world; there isn’t much we do without it. Whether it’s in class taking notes, on the phone with your family, or even making food for yourself, technology is used more than we know. As we have integrated so much of our lives with technology, we must become technologically literate. We can’t have a professor trying to teach the class through power point without knowledge of how to use the computer or a person trying to operate a car without knowing how to use the sophisticated technology that comes along with it. The article defines “technological literacy” as “the ability to use, manage, assess, and understand technology” (Technological Literacy: Shackelford). It also goes to explain the “three interdependent dimensions: knowledge, ways of thinking and acting, and capabilities”. This put a whole new perspective on technology that I had never thought about before. Yes, I have thought about technology but not in those terms. It is different to see them put so formally when we use them so frequently and informally in our everyday lives. Thing that got my attention the most was the requirements for essential technological concepts that must be proficient for children in certain grade levels. As I reflect on my years of primary school, I think about how unaware I was that I was taught these concepts and skills. I didn’t think of it as learning because different forms of technology were the new, cool thing that everybody was learning to use. For example, when I was a kid it was popular to have a Gameboy. It a little bigger than a box of cards and it only had a few buttons on the front. Now a days you see kids playing with these big iPads. These iPads have helped children change they way they think in terms of “creativeness, innovation, and systematic thinking” (Iowa Technology Literacy). As technology affects our present and future lives, it is important that citizens of society “have a basic understanding of how technology affects their world and how they exist both within and around technology” (Technological Literacy: Shackelford). So the real question is: are the children using technology, like the IPad, learning a deep understanding of technology literacy concepts or self-directed learning? I think that using these IPads at such a young age if used at an absolute minimum. A technologically literate person must understand the “planned and unplanned consequences”, be “familiar with the core concepts and scope of technology”, and understand the reflections of “the values and culture of society” (Technological Literacy: Shackelford). Therefore, children should be taught the proper ways to use technology and the importance behind them.
In this reading, it talks about discourse community, specifically academic discourse communities. I know what a discourse is but I had never really materialized the idea of a “discourse community”. It was helpful when Johns included the definition of discourse community “as a basis for sharing and holding in common; shared expectations, shared participation, commonly (or communicably) held ways of expressing. Like audience, discourse community entails assumptions about conformity and convention”. Discourse communities enable members throughout the world to maintain their goals, regulate their membership, and communicate efficiently with one another. Discourse communities are not only within individuals that often affiliate with several people with varying levels of involvement and interest, but they are professional as well. This is where it gets tricky. Communities of practice are similar to discourse communities, except they are more focused on some kind of practice that unites the team as a whole. Where as discourse communities focus more on texts and language that keep on their goals and keep members communicating with one another. It was interesting to read about how discipline-specific allegiances have basic, generalizable, textual, and rhetorical rules for the entire academic community. Although faculty want to their students to understand certain academic prose, yet it is unfair to expect such high expectations from them because they may have not been taught it or just taught something different in general. The composite of arguments about the nature, values, and practices in general academic prose include: explicit texts, prevailing the topic and argument in the introduction, writers providing “signposts” for the readers to help guide them through the test, the distance between the writer and the text that the language of the texts should create, how texts should maintain a “rubber-gloved” quality of voice and register, how texts should contain a set of social and authority relations, the text should display a vision, and complexity of intertextuality. All these points are valid, yet it is unfair to expect students to maintain all if these perfectly in their writing. I agree with the intertextuality argument. I think it is critical for one to be able to retain information and be able to create a derivative work that is unique from the original work.
Another part of the text that got me thinking was when Johns talked about how students become affiliated with academic discourse communities. In order to become active academic participants, students must make some sacrifices that can often create personal and social distance between them and their families and communities. Students are asked to change their language and therefore face the challenge with the affiliations of their home cultures in order to take on the values, language, and genres of their disciplinary culture. This made me think about the Chicanos and the other stories we read. As the people from different cultures tried to adapt to American culture, they often felt judged or unwelcome. This may be a result of the unwillingness to bend or adapt some of their disciplinary norms to accommodate these people’s interests, vocation, and language. As Johns takes a deeper look into the academic aspect of it, she offers ways to solve these challenges students face when required to sacrifice major cultural and linguistic aspects of their lives. One last thing I really liked from the text is when Johns states that we should be developing “students who explore ideas and literacies rather than seek simple answers”.
The most significant thing of today’s class lead discussion was the examples. The examples of different cultures and culture shocks that people experienced is what made the class I think. The examples helped to make us understand that although we say we know other cultures are different but we don’t truly experience it until it happens to us. It was significant also in the way we could express ourselves. We could tell a long story with lots of details, be funny about it, or cut right to the point. It also allowed us to get to know one and another better. It showed us that we are all similar in the way that we all have these experiences yet we are different in the way or context that we experienced it. I think your culture is directly tied to your Discourse. As these examples were being shared, I thought about how these cultures are not just a part of society but also a part of our Discourse. You wouldn’t be the same person with the same experiences in a different environment therefore you wouldn’t have the same Discourse(s) you have now. I think it is possible to alter and adapt to new cultures that get integrated into our Discourses.
Oh lets talk about my visit to France. While walking around the town in Toulon, France, my mom, sister and I got hungry. We stopped at this little café thinking it would be a good place to stop and get something to eat. We sit down and the waiter hands us menus that are all in French. Let me back track and tell you that we were on a European cruise and had been going to 7 different countries throughout the 12-day cruise. France was our last stop until ending in Barcelona, Spain. Every other country had English subtitles on their menus, except for France. None of us could read the menu and the waiter did not speak any English at all. You could tell from the second that we sat down that the waiter did not like us because we were Americans. This made me really mad. Why would they be treating us this way? Why do they hate us so much? I started to think if this is what it would feel like for them to come to America. I realized that as Americans we don’t accommodate our guests that well and that we sometimes even have stereotypes and prejudices against them, even when we don’t know them. As the waiter was stereotyping me as a dumb American I will admit I was stereotyping her as one of the rude, disrespectful French person.
Culture, Literacy, and Discourse
Culture is changing faster than we know it.
We have to learn to accept certain aspects of our culture and other cultures.
Miss America clip- Talked about how Nina was the first Miss America winner to be criticized after winning because of her ethnicity.
Food- food is a huge part of culture. Ex. We were given cupcakes and French Biscotti. The French Biscotti was more earthly and natural tasting. The cupcakes clearly represented the American culture. Cupcakes are sugary and sweet and clearly genetically modified.
As we go to different countries, we experience different cultures. It makes us aware of other countries’ cultures and realizes the big and little differences. These different cultures create different Discourses.
Literacy Vignette #3
My vignette discusses the struggle I had with reading. I think it just a little example of the struggles that come with literacy, specifically in my case with reading. Reading is one of main parts of literacy and it is critical to master the skills of reading comprehension in order to be successfully literate. Instead of trying to impress others, I worked hard on improving my reading skills and I still continue to work on them today. This shows that literacy may include a whole host of things but it is also changing and therefore you must keep working constantly to improve it.