This book offers a linguistic ethnographic account of secondary schooling in Umbria, Italy, examining the complex intersection of language, socioeconomic class, social persona, and school choice to provide a holistic portrait of the situatedness of student “success.”
The book explores the everyday sociolinguistic practices at the three types of Italian secondary schools in Umbria—the lyceum, the technical institute, and the vocational school—and the language ideologies and de facto language policies associated with them. An analysis of narrative, interviews, and classroom discourse unpacks the ways in which students are socialized by both peers and teachers into specific academic discourses and specialized forms of knowledge throughout their school careers. In those close analyses of the micro-interactional contexts of three classrooms, drawing on a corpus of naturally occurring classroom discourse, the volume illuminates the ways in which certain forms of talk are exalted while others policed and how students either submit to or resist the social labels ascribed to them. This account contributes new insights into the ways in which educational institutions are constructed and maintained via talk.
This book will be of interest to students and scholars interested in educational linguistics, linguistic anthropology, classroom discourse, streamed-tracked education systems, and education policy.
Table of Contents
LIST OF FIGURES
LIST OF TABLES AND TRANSCRIPTS
CHAPTER 1: ENTERING THE WORLD OF SECONDARY EDUCATION IN ITALY
Getting to know Cittadina and finding my place in it
Gatekeeping at the three school field sites
The development of the modern-day Italian secondary school system (1859–present)
The contemporary tripartite Italian education system
"Lyceumization" and the "descending mobility reorientation"
Modern challenges for equitable education in Italy
Macro-level policy vs. micro-level practices
Overview of chapters
CHAPTER 2: WHAT DOES AN ANALYSIS OF LANGUAGE TELL US ABOUT SCHOOL AND SOCIETY?
Why this book?
Language ideologies and la questione della lingua
What does language use have to do with the social project of education?
Constructing the self and others in academic spaces
Performing academic knowledge
Collecting data for a linguistic ethnography of education
Getting to know the field sites
Observing everyday life in the three classrooms
Analyzing the data for a linguistic ethnography of education
Collaborative playback sessions
Analysis of narrative
CHAPTER 3: SOCIAL PERSONAE AND SCHOOL CHOICE IN CITTADINA
Representations of School Types Circulating via Social Media
Student Narratives of School Choice
The Technical School
The Vocational School
The Classical Lyceum
CHAPTER 4: PUBLIC PERFORMANCES OF SCHOOLED KNOWLEDGE IN CITTADINA
Data Presentation and Analysis
Interrogazione in Latin Class at the Classical Lyceum
Interrogazione in Mechanical Systems Class at the Technical Institute
Lab Sessions in Fashion Design at the Vocational School
CHAPTER 5: PEER-TO-PEER PERFORMANCES OF EXPERTISE
Ventriloquating "School Voice" in Language Play
"Outside Voice" for School Topics
Using "Nonstandard" Language Features to Talk about Schoolwork
Peer Commentary on the Surprise Performance of ‘Good Student’ Persona
Refusing to Accept Expert Positioning
Discussion: Underlife, Communicative Repertoire, and Double-Voicing in Peer-Peer Performances of Expertise
CHAPTER 6: EVERYDAY DEFINITIONS AND EVALUATIONS OF ‘THE GOOD STUDENT’ ACROSS THE THREE SCHOOLS
Defining Evaluative Terms: "bravo" and "scolarizzato"
Uses of the Terms across the Three Schools
Examples of bravo used spontaneously in the classroom
Definitions of terms by teachers
Other Ways of Describing Students and Student PerformanceWhen Casual Evaluations Become Formal Grades
Conclusions and Implications of Using Overdetermined Language in Student Evaluations
CHAPTER 7: CONCLUSION
Revisiting the Research Questions
How are the student bodies of these three school types (co)constructed via narrative and metacommentary?
How do students perform knowledge for peers and teachers?
What does "success" look and sound like within and across the three school types?
Implications and Future Directions
Andrea R. Leone-Pizzighella is a discourse analyst with an interest in the interplay of academic register and youth voices in adolescents’ socialization to participate in schooling. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Linguistics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2019.