Today, two new ESOL students joined my class. We are a small group (5) of intermediate/advanced level speakers that meet on Saturday afternoons in a computer lab. I never know in what direction our class discussions will go. We have the Internet at our fingertips, the possibilities are endless. Everyone agreed to read and discuss stories about famous Americans. In the absence of special requests, I chose Rosa Parks in honor of Black History Month. Just as I had hoped, discussion about Rosa Parks generated the word discrimination. We talked about this word at length, and then I heard the word immigration. We decided to watch YouTube of President Obama's call for immigration reform. However, we stayed on the surface. We didn't get personal.
This group is working through the process of getting acquainted. We need a foundation before we can begin digging deeper. Asking too many questions would have been rude. It's too soon to reveal personal stories. We will take it one step at a time, bringing in "important things" (realia, codes, artifacts). Week by week, we will dig deeper. We will read and write our stories. We will position ourselves on the edge of taking action. I have no idea what we will do or where we will end up. One time, students created skits and performed them for other classes. Another time, students spoke about perseverance, sharing successes and failures with fellow learners. I am the facilitator at this stage. I make the arrangements so that "action" can take place. This is what I was doing before I had a name and label for it. I didn't know what to call it, I didn't know what the heck I was doing Then I took my own action. I began to study. Now I see that one label for what I do is problem posing/critical pedagogy.
It was because I felt so strongly about this methodology that I knew I needed to study and learn more. Taking literacy to the streets (my bold way of describing it) doesn't exactly translate well to a grant proposal. I need to describe pedagogy and show how what I do brings positive outcomes for my program. That's how I ended up in Oliver Hall.
To me, an important difference between study and practice is our positioning. I am a subject in the practice on Saturday afternoons. I am physically part of the process. If we consider our sociocultural model, I am positioned somewhere in the muck around the inner culture of learners, trying to connect with them, trying to show how action will put them on a path out, or to a bigger circle? OK, getting a little too metaphorical and hokey. I will be describing this in detail in my study.
When I sit at my computer to blog and write a papers, I am in a different position. I am not "in" the model, or in sync with any practice. I am a detached researcher (ha ha), an object on the outside looking in. Even though my ADLT 650 1-2-3 project includes my practice, my work environment, my colleagues, I am standing back and looking through a lens. I am not in sync or practicing, I am studying now. To me, there is a big distinction between the two, though I probably need to do a better job of describing it. But then again, that's why I'm studying. I'm somewhere in my own inner circle looking for a path.
Thanks for reading my post! Susan