Alternate theoretical perspectives on the literacy documents of a teenage mother
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis is a study, over time, of a teenage unwed mother. Narrow concepts of agency have historically been part of a stigmatizing view of teenage pregnancy defined in terms of adolescent sexual activity and welfare dependence. In understanding her situation the study examines the concept of agency in models of the learner. In a sociopsycholinguistic transactional view (the view taken in this dissertation) the learner is conceptualized in terms of an ability to "go meta"--think outside the web of realities. The study examines theoretical models of the learner in alternate perspectives: (a) feminist theory in terms of the premise that all women are simultaneously the same yet different; (b) critical theory in terms of the process of her voicing concerns and experiences, but closely examined by the collective; and (c) sociocultural-historical theory in terms of the process of learning in constant contact with the collective. The usefulness of theories depends on how practical and negotiable they are in everyday life. Each construction fails to provide for a coherent representation of the learner, what her notions are, or whether or not her experiences count if the classroom is not an appropriate place to air "official," toxic allegations leveled against her; the theories speak to methods but not pedagogies. Criteria derived from the perspectives stipulate the learner, then target conditions under which she might be more resolute, consoling or useful. The study includes implications for a theory which connects support to a teenage mother's courage; she sought to push her own thinking about the powers that trained her for motherhood in punitive ways, then punished and controlled her by taking away her baby.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture