In this volume, university researchers and urban elementary teacher-researchers coauthor chapters on the teachers' year-long inquiries, on a range of literacy topics that they conducted as part of a collaborative school-university action research project. Central to this project was the teacher-researchers' attempts to transform their teaching practices to meet the needs of students from diverse ethnic and linguistic backgrounds, and their finding that their inquiry efforts resulted in developing more collaborative styles of teaching.
Because the everyday interactions between teachers and students are realized by the social talk in the classroom, the university- and teacher-researchers analyzed classroom discourse to study and document the teachers' efforts to make changes in the locus of power in literacy teaching and learning. The chapters include many classroom discourse examples to illustrate the critical points or incidents of these teachers' inquiries. They show the successes and the struggles involved in shedding teacher-controlled patterns of talk.
This book explores the process of urban teachers' journeys to create dialogically organized literacy instruction in particular literacy routines--called, in this book, curriculum genres. The book is organized in terms of these curriculum genres, such as writing curriculum genres, reading-aloud curriculum genres, drama curriculum genres, and so forth. Teacher inquiries were conducted in various elementary grade levels, from kindergarten through grade eight. Three occurred in bilingual classrooms and one in a special education classroom. The first and last chapters, written by the editors, provide the background, theoretical, and methodological underpinnings of the project.
"The information is relevant to all who teach. This scholarly book presents a richly detailed portrait of literacy, is easy to read, and provides numerous examples grounded in theory and practical application. Highly recommended for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students interested in literacy."
"Two collaborative efforts are chronicled in this volume, and both are equally interesting and instructive: first, the effort by teachers to improve the quality of instruction in their classrooms, with the support and encouragement of university personnel, and second, the efforts of individual teachers to establish collaborative inquiry in their own classrooms....These essays constitute a front line view of what it actually means to improve instruction, under the most difficult of circumstances, and demonstrate the importance of supporting competent and dedicated teachers."
—Marcia S. Popp
Southern Illinois University