Day: April 30, 2013

Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 8: Knower Code and Conclusions

Note: This is the eighth and final part of an eight-part series which satisfies a term paper requirement for a class seminar on literacy. Note that all citations in quotations can be found in the bibliographies of the linked items.

In this last post, I will demonstrate how Literacy Studies satisfies the final feature of horizontal knowledge structures–that of having a “knower code.” I will also show how this feature contributed to the Reading Wars. In a revision of my thesis, which originally contained a second analysis of the debate I highlighted in post six, I will conclude by reviewing the main features of horizontal knowledge structures and argue that they are the primary mechanisms that facilitated the Reading Wars. I will then offer suggestions based on this analysis on how we might avoid wars and have more productive feuds in Literacy Studies. For the sake of clarity, I refer to McKenna’s first article as “McKenna et al., 1990a” and their rejoinder “McKenna et al., 1990b.” Citations from quotes in the M-E discourse are not linked. They can be found at McKenna et al., 1990a; Edelsky, and McKenna et al, 1990b.

9. “Choices between competing claims to insight are based more on a ‘knower code’, that is to say, on who is making knowledge claims rather than on what is being claimed and how.”

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Traditional Academic Feuds in Literacy Studies Part 7: Empiricism

Note: This is the seventh and part of a multi-part series which (eventually) will become a term paper for a class seminar on literacy. Note that all citations in quotations can be found in the bibliographies of the linked items.

Previously on My Neverending Blog…

In my last post, I suggested that Whole Language and Skills-Based Literacy–the two opposing viewpoints in the Reading Wars–were languages constructed with weak conceptual grammar, where the fundamental phenomenon–that is, reading–was defined differently by each language. Whole Language, represented by Edelsky (1990) , defined reading as a “sociopsycholinguistic process” (p. 8), whereas Skills-Based Literacy, represented by McKenna et al., 1990a and McKenna et al, 1990b , defined it as constellation of skills working in concert (p. 3). These differing definitions, symptomatic of weak grammar, and the feuding relationship between the theories, also a feature of weak grammar, account for the next two features of horizontal knowledge structures, which deal with empirical research within disciplines.

Aside: In retrospect, I should have collapsed these features into a single feature, making the final total of horizontal knowledge features eight. Maton & Muller (2007) seem to suggest two main features for knowledge structures: grammaticality and verticality. It may be that the features I have abstracted here are corollaries of these two larger features, which are represented as features six and five respectively in my list.
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