"The whole movement of life is learning" (Krishnamurti). "To be an act of knowing, then, the adult literacy process must engage the learners in the constant problematizing of their existential situations" (Freire). "Once you learn to read, you will be forever free" (Douglass). "I can learn anything I have the desire to learn" (White, S.G.).

Friday, March 29, 2013

Family Discourse

So I suppose this had to happen. My anthropological lens is seeing different Discourses. Gee's article really opened my eyes and gave a name to what I tried to call societies. Discourse is so much richer, because it includes all the values and non-verbal or intellectual manners in a group. Something I think about is family literacy. I think I've mentioned (possibly too much) that I have a blended family. My two older daughters are my husband's, and the two younger are mine. I spent six years alone after I lost my first husband. I thought of myself and my children as a kind of a triumverate. We created our own family Discourse, because we had no family for 900 miles. Over the years, I gave my children a different upbringing. They have knowledge of so much of history that many parents don't provide their children. Not necessarily the history in the books, but - I'm trying to put my finger on what to call it. They know who Ruby Keeler is. They can identify a Bob Fosse film. They can identify the movie with the phrase "what an ***hole" (Ghostbusters). They know what a 741 is (it's the dewey decimal number for humor under the old library system). They're computer literate (occupational hazard). They have their own political views and we have spirited discussions when the subject arises. They can become VERY spirited, but that's okay. Boscherts don't raise their voices. Lillemons do. And it IS a discourse. Tom (my husband) is very aware that there's a closeness between the three of us that's kind of different. I imprinted on my children and we have a Discourse that our older daughters aren't a part of. It's not anyone's fault, though. It's just what evolved because of our lives. Tom has become a member of our Discourse; he's the only father the children know. He's not 'like' us, but he has his place. And I'm aware that I have to modify our environment when all four children are with us (we try to vacation together every year). For years I saw the Discourse of my husband's family, but never had a name to put to it. I just knew I wasn't a "Boschert". Could I teach my older daughters the literacy of the triumverate? I don't know. I tried putting Bloom's Taxonomy to it. Could they remember it? Could they apply it? Could I analyze it? Some people just accept things the way they are. I have a tendency to analyze. So now I will be trying to remember the new taxonomy to look at what we learn. I've always used the old Bloom. To quote Holden Caufield, "So it goes."


  1. Thank you for sharing your life with us, Joyce. I really enjoy your story. Just as you said, the fact that your older daughters are not part of the particular family discourse is not anyone's fault, but the result of different life experience. In this case, the life experience are assumptions (I have been addicted to the concept of assumption. I'm sorry if it is annoying)that on one can pick up within a few days.That's why others are excluded from the discourse. I believe it will be a great idea to use Bloom's Taxonomy to incorporate your older daughters. The top layer of the new model is to create, which means that you can create the new family discourse with all the family members based on your collective experiences. You are an amazing mother, and I am sure you will also do it greatly this time.

  2. Annie - you're awesome. I find so much of what we do in class, in our blog, and in our readings in my life. My poor husband has to listen to my enthusiasm : )

    Joyce M.

  3. Such a thoughtful post, Joyce! Sometimes Discourse analysis gets overused as a way of explaining groups, identity and belonging. But you have used it extremely well here. Now, there may be more to the triumvirate than a shared Discourse: your history. If we historize Discourse by delving for the shared narratives, we may get to an even fuller understanding! Peeling Peeling Peeling....


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts on this post. Diverse opinions are welcomed.