Constructing Third Space Multiliteracies in the Shadow of the Blast Furnace Dr. Joseph M. Shosh, Moravian College Bethlehem, Pennsylvania CARN International Conference Cambridge, UK 6 Nov. 2010
America’s Largest Brownfield filmed by Ms. Wescoe’s Students on April 19, 2007 (Bethlehem Project Production Day)
Model of the Sands Casino filmed by Ms. Wescoe’s Students on April 19, 2007 (Bethlehem Project Production Day)
Moravian Collegefounded 1742 • Selective liberal arts college • 1,600 full-time residential students • Elementary education certification • K-12 certification in Music, Art, French, German, Spanish, Latin • Secondary certification in English, Mathematics, History, General Science, Chemistry, Biology, Physics • 25% of student body enrolled in one or more teacher certification programs
Initial Teacher Research Question: How do tenth grade English students in an urban comprehensive high school become stronger readers, writers, listeners, speakers, and critical thinkers when they create living history documentaries with the collaboration of their regular classroom teacher, a university-based teacher researcher, and pre-service teacher volunteers?
Funding & In-Kind Support James Moffett Grant, NCTE & NWP Moravian College Leadership Center Moravian College Education Department BASD Instructional Technology Department
James Moffett Connection • Create holistic, discourse-based curriculum. • Mentor students to see their own community through new lenses as they read, discuss, and construct both conventional and multimedia texts. • Create opportunities for students to dialogue in meaningful ways with one another, with their classroom teacher, and with university-based educators.
What are Third Spaces? We wanted to co-construct with our students a series of third spaces for authentic learning at the intersection of often competing and conflicting discourses, where teacher talk and student talk meet, where personal interests intersect with the needs of our community, and where what students know and are able to do is extended and supported by a more knowledgeable other, who learns as well as teaches.
Project Participants Ms. Wescoe’s 2007 10th grade “Extended” English Language Arts Class • 11 young men • 9 young women • Labeled by PSSA (Pennsylvania System of School Assessment) as “basic” or “below basic” in English Language Arts
Participant Inquiry Question: How will the “Bethlehem Works” Casino redevelopment project impact life in Bethlehem, especially on the South Side? 1. Bethlehem Boys’ Club—Steven, Dario, & Kevin 2. Century 21 Realty—Joey & Lindsay 3. Hillside Obgyn Associates—Kaleia & Jazzlyn 4. Lehigh University Spokesperson—Jason & Anthony 5. Mayor Callahan—Xavier & Orlando 6. Patty’s Petals—Henry 7. Recycled/Earth Friendly Art and Furniture—Felix & Matt 8. St. Luke’s Hospital—Dionely & Ashley 9. STAR Tutoring Program—Rubianna & Christine 10.Touchstone Theatre— Talayia & Lashawn
Project Facilitator: Dr. Shosh’s Role (2) www.sfett.com www.listenup.org
Lashawn considers how digital video production will help her in the future.
Moravian Student Teacher: Ms. Steward’s Role 1. First Steps: Pre-Interview Brainstorming 2. Writing Good Interview Questions 3. Writing Good Interview Questions: The Students’ Turn 4. Interview Note-Taking 5. Making a Good Impression: First-rate Habits for Interviewing 6. Applying What We Have Learned: Evaluating a Television Interview 7. Pulling It All Together: Interviewing One Another 8. Introduction to Internet Research 9. First Steps: Beginning Internet Research for the Documentaries 10. Preparing to Interview Our Contacts
Xavier and Orlando interview Mayor Callahan. Ms. Wescoe comments on the interview with Mayor Callahan.
Moravian Pre-Student Teacher: Ms. Uhas’s Role • Coordinate college mentors to chaperone high school teams on production day. • Organize a video production workshop in the College’s Digital Media Lab. • Make arrangements for a luncheon in one of the College’s dining halls.
Participant Response What Students Told Us They Liked • Role-playing city council meeting • Critiquing student-produced video clips • Conducting interviews • Exploring South Side • Being ‘on their own’ with college students • Watching film festival & college student video clips • Eating lunch on campus What Students Told Us They Didn’t Like • Writing research • Being on camera • Listening to “lectures” • Doing “regular” classwork
Q & A with Student Teacher Kelly Steward (1) Q.What was personally most meaningful and challenging about your involvement in the Bethlehem Project? A.It was so rewarding to be involved in something so revolutionary in English language arts instruction! This was something totally new, and we were the only class participating; that alone was pretty amazing! I was lucky to have had the opportunity as a student teacher. The main challenge was leading the students in working with technology; glitches and malfunctions require great flexibility.
Q & A with Student Teacher Kelly Steward (2) Q.What might college teacher education programs do to prepare future English teachers for teaching and learning in the digital age? A.I could imagine a half-credit course or something like that devoted entirely to helping future English teachers use new technology. Perhaps teacher education programs should even require their student teachers to design and implement an original multi-media project for their students to complete relying on available technology.
Q & A with Student Teacher Kelly Steward (3) Q. What, if anything, do you think you'll do later in your teaching career that you may not have done if you hadn't participated in the Bethlehem Project? A. My involvement in the project inspired me to one day be a leader in using new technology, even when that task seems quite daunting. The project also demonstrated the value of stepping outside the boundaries of a school building and involving the rich resources of one's unique community. Finally, participating in the Bethlehem Project challenged me to view teaching and assessment in a different way: in short, the more authentic the learning activities, the better. We should not limit ourselves to having our students writing or creating things for hypothetical situations; why not ask students to actually produce something personally meaningful for a real audience?
Pre-Student Teacher Kelly Uhas’s Reflection: “I worked with a group of students who were labeled as being underachievers, strugglers, and behavior problems, and I was able to watch them excel. Intrinsically motivated by such a thoughtful, interactive project, they became overachievers, asking those they interviewed complex questions and going beyond the assignment in every way. The value of engaging students in academic work that can be applied to the real world and has a real world audience became obvious to me. The students I worked with were and had always been capable but chose to apply themselves to this project in particular because it had meaning for them and for others.”
Some parting thoughts as we come out from behind the shadow of the blast furnace… • Expect logistical and technological challenges. • Create multiple opportunities for all to engage in dialogue. • Engage students as active participants in authentic literacy opportunities. • Resist the need to have expert knowledge before forging ahead. • Preserve the best practices of the past but develop a forward-looking curriculum that is relevant today.