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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. Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Bethlehem Steel: Wikipedia.
Dr. Joseph M. Shosh, Moravian College
CARN International Conference Cambridge, UK 6 Nov. 2010
• 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
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?
James Moffett Grant, NCTE & NWP
Moravian College Leadership Center
Moravian College Education Department
BASD Instructional Technology Department
• 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.
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.
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
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
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
Ms. Wescoe comments
on the interview with Mayor Callahan.
• 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.
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.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.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. 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?
“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.”
• 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.