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"Technically, I'm the one who came up with the group": The development of a classroom culture of reading and writing in an elementary classroom.

Ramirez-DelToro, Ginny (2017) "Technically, I'm the one who came up with the group": The development of a classroom culture of reading and writing in an elementary classroom. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation reports on how features of interactions and instruction contributed to an elementary classroom culture of reading and writing that students and their teacher worked together to develop. Positioning theory informed analysis of participants’ interactions as they used texts in social and academic ways. The theory of figured worlds and the sociocultural theory of literacy drove data generation during the eight months spent collecting data in a second grade classroom and during coding and analysis. The research answers the following questions: How do interactions, routines, and rituals in the classroom develop a classroom culture around reading and writing? (a) What kinds of interactions take place between the teacher and the students? (b) What kinds of interactions take place between students? (c) What routines and participation structures become an important part of classroom activities?
Findings on the teacher were that her expectations for student interactions fostered storylines of care and respect among students; she used specific terms of address to position students academically and socially; and her expectation for participation led students to engage in talk during literacy instruction that demonstrated consistent agreement with and acceptance of each other’s contributions. That talk did not include purposeful argumentation or challenging of each other’s ideas. Findings about students were that they brought academic talk into social spaces; they brought social talk into academic spaces, and they used language from various sources to engage in simultaneously social and academic positioning.
Findings align with existing research on how teachers’ positioning can foster positive student interactions during reading and writing instruction, and how students’ positioning during reading and writing is social and academic. This study also contributes insights about how teachers can engage students in respectful, inclusive participation and dialogue to create space for everyone to discuss texts without silencing.
Implications for practice urge teachers to take up forms of talk like those that the teacher in this study used to foster among students care for each person’s worth, and to extend that care as students and the teacher interact in developmentally appropriate critical literacy practices with texts to consider representations of race and gender.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Ramirez-DelToro, Ginnyvar19@pitt.eduvar190000-0001-9455-1310
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGodley, Amandaagodley@pitt.eduagodley
Committee MemberForman, Elliceellice@pitt.eduellice
Committee MemberBarton Jacobs, Katrinakbjacobs@pitt.edukbjacobs
Committee MemberKiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.edukiesling
Date: 22 May 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 13 March 2017
Approval Date: 22 May 2017
Submission Date: 22 May 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 252
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: positioning theory; sociocultural theory of literacy; figured worlds; classroom culture; reading and writing; elementary literacy instruction
Date Deposited: 22 May 2017 14:21
Last Modified: 22 May 2017 14:21


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