"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.).

Monday, February 24, 2014

Case study: zzzzzz?

How is everyone doing on your case studies? I will admit to being very overwhelmed in class when this checklist was given to us—it’s so much to cover and I thought I didn’t know that much about my event (filling out a travel authorization form at VCU). But shortly after getting the assignment, Caitlin came over and we sat on my floor with our laptops and within two hours I had written five pages! I didn’t know I had so much to say about TAFs (this acronym is not really a “thing” at VCU but using it in the paper was better than writing travel authorization form over and over again). There are so many layers to all these tasks that we perform every day--I remember it took me weeks to learn all the policies to do the TAF correctly, and add to that a new computer system and there is so much going on.

I'm with you, J Lo--this project is not giving me "goosies" yet!

The only thing is that the paper, to me, reads really boring. Maybe that’s because I have such a long and complicated relationship with the TAF. I didn't even enjoy writing that part, as it was pretty tedious and I am sure I forgot a step or two, even after rereading the paper. I cannot see how someone who doesn’t work at VCU would want to read the technical bits of filling out one of these things in Chrome River. But I suppose that is Dr. Muth’s problem—drink some coffee before you read my paper, please!

I am told by everyone in Capstone that this is one of the best projects in the program so I am hoping I wake up when I research and start to talk about the power dynamics that are a part of this literacy event!


  1. I'm with you, I feel the same way about my case study. Like, UGH who cares, this is so boring. But I think that when you get to the research part, you're going to realize, oh man, there's so much more to this, and people have OPINIONS about it, and it's going to be fun to hear those opinions, I think. I also think it's going to be fun to organize the information into a larger-view picture of one of the MANY mandatory literacy events on our campus. I always joke that if you're smart enough to do fiscal or HR stuff at this university, that you're too smart for the job that requires it.

    Anyway, I'm just glad that we have the ability to sit down together and brainstorm and think about each other's projects---it gives a great sense of perspective and helps me think about my case study in a different light.

  2. It's funny how this 1-2-3 thing goes--for some, the topic is too volatile, for others too depressing, for others boring....For some, its too "hot" , for others, "too cold." But Melissa, keep in mind that the project should involve a literacy event (practice) that causes tensions and is perceived differently by folks at various power positions. If your study meets this criteria, then yes, the descriptions of the text and it's uses may not win you the Nobel Prize for Literature, but what you uncover just might open up new ways of seeing and thinking about humanity-at-work! :)

  3. Melissa, I think I should read your case study design. Trying to fill out TAF's is a tremendous literacy event, and now that I am no longer involved with fiscal processes in my office, I feel excluded from the dominant discourse! :-) Perhaps I could learn something.

    Joking aside, I think that the data collection portion of the project will be really interesting. I am curious about what people will have to say and what conclusions you will draw from it.

  4. I'm right there with Caitlin- once the actual interviewing and data collection begins, the project will be much clearer and not so boring anymore. Ensuring anonymity will certainly lead to some brutally honest answers from your co-workers and I for one am interested in hearing these!


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