The reason I’m going to NTCE next week is to present my initial findings as well as obtain advice on a pilot study I designed this summer and implemented starting last month in October.
The study centers around paying attention to the literacies (writing, communicating, media development) students naturally bring to the classroom but are not typically sanctioned by school practices. My curiosity lies in whether students become more engaged in the ELA classroom when given the opportunity and the authority to use those unsanctioned literacies in ELA classroom openly. I decided to test this through developing a weekly project where students in two of my classes develop their own zines. (Zines are DIY magazines that often times hold counterviews of mainstream culture, are not meant to be polished, and are self distributed to a community.)
As a young man, punk rock, rock n’ roll, and hardcore subcultures were my mainstays in my music rotation, so I’ve always had an affinity towards rebellion and questioning the status quo. I wanted to give this same feeling and authority to my students to see what would happen. I don’t know what this will mean for my classroom or what greater implications this may have for ELA classroom at large, but I’m excited at the prospect and at what I’ve already observed from my students. If you’ve followed my blog for any length of time, then you most likely understand that I have a passion for shifting educational paradigms, and this particular study is just another way of exploring those shifts and what they could mean for students’ learning and thinking.
If we want critical thinkers, we have to give students the authority to think.
I’ll be sure to update my findings from the study as they come to fruition this next year. Here’s hoping that my sense of rebellion means something for educating our students!