Teaching as Literacy: The Discourses Required for Success in the Title I School

Teaching as Literacy: The Discourses Required for Success in the Title I School

Krista Steinke (Florida Atlantic University, USA) and Valerie C. Bryan (Florida Atlantic University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4249-2.ch007
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

This chapter is a qualitative meta-analysis that discusses the growing trend of teacher attrition in Title I schools. Recent literature on teacher attrition was reviewed and analyzed in combination with literacy theories. This study describes teaching as a form of literacy that the teacher must learn and is based primarily on Gee’s (1989) ideas of discourse acquisition, Freire’s (1993) Pedagogy of the Oppressed, and Delpit’s (1995) The Politics of Teaching a Literate Discourse. The researchers explain, through the lens of literacy theories, how viewing teaching as a form of literacy can help us to understand the problem of attrition. Analyzing the problems faced by these teachers through these theories can provide individuals in the field of education with the means for understanding the challenges that often prevent well-meaning and talented teachers from becoming successful in the high-poverty setting. This study has the potential to bring to light the problem of teacher attrition in Title I schools throughout the nation and promote improvements in teacher education to better prepare upcoming teachers for the challenges that they will face in the Title I school.
Chapter Preview
Top

Statement Of Problem

Miss Smith is a representation of the 22% of teachers who leave the high-poverty setting (Ingersoll, 2001, p. 9). This chapter will investigate the teacher retention rates in high poverty schools and how they are related to the skills required of teachers in these schools. Perhaps the most well-known form of a high poverty school is the Title I school, which is defined by the US Department of Education (2011) as “Schools in which children from low-income families make up at least 40 percent of enrollment.” For the purposes of this investigation, the terms “Title I school” and “high poverty school” will be used interchangeably. It is worth noting, however, that many schools are heavily populated with low-Socioeconomic Status (SES) students but are not considered Title I schools. Teachers in these schools face similar challenges.

The skills required of teachers in high poverty schools differ from those in more affluent schools. This chapter investigates the relationship between the skills that teachers are expected to learn and the impact of lack of these skills on high attrition rates in high poverty schools. These skills, collectively, make up a discourse that teachers are expected to acquire over a short period of time. According to Gee (1989), acquiring a discourse requires the functional use of an “identity kit,” which he defines as “the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act, talk, and often write, so as to take on a particular role that others will recognize” (p. 526). The chapter will include an analysis of the Gee’s “identity kit” required for these teachers for the reader to comprehend the challenges that these teachers face in the beginnings of their careers.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Urban Schools: Schools that are located in high-poverty, urban areas.

Urban Education: Discussion of issues and trends in schools located in high poverty and urban areas.

Literacy Studies: According to Gee (1989) , “a new field of study, integrating “psycho” and “socio” approaches to language from a variety of disciplines…the focus of literacy studies or applied linguistics should not be language, or literacy , but social practices ” (p. 525).

Teacher Attrition: The rate at which new teachers leave the profession.

K-12 Education: Discussion of issues and trends that occur in the public school system in grades K-12.

Discourse: According to Gee (1989) , “an ‘identity kit’ which comes complete with the appropriate costume and instructions on how to act, talk, and often write, so as to take on a particular role that others will recognize” (p. 526).

Andragogy: The art and science of helping adults learn as defined by Malcolm Knowles.

Pedagogy: The art and science of teaching children.

Teacher Retention: The rate at which new teachers remain in the profession.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset