Having an experience: Multiple literacies through young children's opera
AuthorRossi, Pamela Jayne
KeywordsEducation, Language and Literature.
Education, Bilingual and Multicultural.
AdvisorMcCarty, Teresa L.
MetadataShow full item record
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.
AbstractThe purpose of this case study is to examine the nature and uses of multiple literacies in an Opera Project as experienced by school children who attended a bilingual first grade in a culturally and linguistically diverse urban school district in the American Southwest. Thirty-one young children created and produced an opera in collaboration with an artist-in-residence, university researcher, apprentice teacher, and their classroom teacher and parents. Significant to this research is a focus on the perspectives of the participants about this in-school multiple literacy experience as well as the sociocultural contexts that influenced their experience. In addition, this study provides evidence of the processes, types, and uses of multiple literacies in young children's opera. By working at the nexus of language arts/literacy and music/arts education, this research builds on the existing theories and practices in these disciplines and informs both. A review of the literature points to the gap between a reductionist, deficit-driven paradigm in schools and children's natural learning proclivities. Culturally and linguistically diverse children are considered as less capable and further marginalized by school practices that emphasize decontextualized and verbocentric forms of literacy. This study uses ethnographic techniques and an arts-based approach to educational research to examine 24 one hour sessions of an Opera Project. New understandings were rendered in an opera libretto, constructed in the vernacular of the participants with the personal signature of the researcher. This alternative genre contributes to changing the way we think about language arts. A reconceptualization of language arts/literacy that both includes and goes beyond a skills-with-print definition requires a transformation in the way educators think about meaning making and curriculum, intelligence and knowledge, perception and expression. It requires an unpacking of one's assumptions and perspectives about what it means to have an experience and to live a literate life. For this process to be sustained, a wider audience must have access to young children's opera as (1) semiotic apprenticeship, (2) inquiry, (3) synergy, (4) an awakening to multiple literacies, and (5) survival. In this way art as conscious life is literacy for life's sake. Many ways is the way.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading & Culture