Children Authoring Themselves:Young Children's Negotiation of Authority within Dialogue Journals
AuthorNichols, Edward Gerard
Committee ChairShort, Kathy G.
McCarty, Teresa L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation is a teacher research study of the ways that young children author themselves by negotiating teacher authority in the context of their dialogue journals. The study detailed herein attempts to discover some of the ways in which young children negotiate teacher authority within the context of a dialogue journal.I collaborated with four second grade students in my multiage classroom who agreed to allow me to analyze the entries in their dialogue journals. We engaged in written dialogue in the context of their journals over two years, from when they were first graders in my multiage class until they left my class at the end of second grade.As a participant observer I used a form of discourse analysis called textual analysis, as mediated by Deborah Tannen's (2005, 2007) work in conversational analysis to unpack the negotiation of teacher authority revealed by the written interactions that took place in the context of the dialogue journals. This study explores the role that the children's personalities, textual competence and relationship with me as their teacher played in shaping their willingness and ability to negotiate teacher authority. It also explores the role my attitudes and actions had in fostering or hindering that negotiation.Implications include the use of ethnographic portraiture to establish context in teacher research, the importance of establishing routines that foster independence in classroom assignments, creating an atmosphere that encourages ownership of the activity in question, the necessity for the teacher to interact with the students in ways that allow them to control the conversation in their dialogue journals, and the importance of periodically reviewing the entire journals to counteract the myopic effect of reading only one journal entry per day. This last is important because when reading only one journal entry at a time it is possible to misinterpret the students' intent, lose sight of context or misinterpret the extent to which the students are engaged in writing in their dialogue journals.
Degree ProgramLanguage, Reading & Culture