I theorize teaching and researching as practices of "blurred translating" that center antioppressive education (Kumashiro, 2002) and storytelling (e.g., Frank, 2010; Zipes, 1995, 2004). Based in listening, research and teaching as blurred translating are relational, contextual, and ongoing processes oriented toward transformation and justice that simultaneously recognize what connects us as humans and the separations between us. In this dissertation, I examine this unfinished (Freire, 1998a) metaphor before and after generating data as a participant-observer (using critical ethnographic methods [Madison, 2005]) in a 2012-13 sixth-grade classroom that participated in the weekly Neighborhood Bridges critical literacy and creative drama program. My work there blurred distinctions between teaching, research, and writing, and I utilized writing as my methodology of meaning-making (e.g., Colyar, 2009; Richardson, 2003) to juxtapose multivoiced genres of texts and contexts. Using story and theatre, Neighorhood Bridges attempts to reimagine classrooms as spaces for students to experiment with experiences through playing with words, ideas, and each other. In particular, I explore how these sixth-graders successfully transformed an oral (re)telling of Hermynia Zur Mühlen's story "The Servant" into a play performed in front of schoolmates and family members. Using ideas of counternarrative (e.g., Delgado, 1989) and contexts of identity and production, I also trace and theorize the contested participation of one student, Da'uud, who wasn't at the performance because he had declared their work "too boring now." Thinking with "The Servant" highlighted the intertwined success and mess of the students' individual and collective labor: how students worked--or did not or could not--to become storytellers of their own lives who changed stories and communicated meaning; how they collaborated or did not; and how they utilized tools to (re)tell stories. The success of a Bridges classroom requires risk; humor and imagination; deep listening and abilities to (re)tell stories; student production and ownership of stories and knowledge; and play as both noun and verb. Telling stories such as these as blurred translators in teaching and research can enable the collaborative pedagogical work of creating new--albeit messy and always ongoing--antioppressive educational storylines.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2014. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Timothy Lensmire. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 320 pages.
Storying Literacies, Reimagining Classrooms: Teaching, Research, and Writing as Blurred Translating.
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.