Story, Voice, and Culture: The Politics of Narrative in Multicultural Education.Report as inadecuate

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Working Papers in Educational Linguistics, v9 n1 p127-142 Spr 1993

The role of personal narrative in multicultural education is examined. First, the relationship between student voice, storytelling, and the transmission of culture is discussed in the context of recent literature on those topics. The concept of voice describes the process of expressing oneself meaningfully through utterances and actions according to rules of social discourse. It is argued that the individual develops an individual and cultural voice through narration and dialogue, his/her own and/or others'. However, narrative is seen as rarely being given that positive a role in the classroom. Narrative is often treated as a lower form of discourse, and students are pushed to leave it behind as they progress through school. Expository or essayist writing is emphasized. As a result, cultural forms of narrative that are not essayist are de-emphasized. Teacher perceptions of the non-conforming discourse of some students may affect the students' access to literacy-related events, depending on the degree to which teacher and child share discourse conventions and strategies. It is proposed that teachers be taught the politics of discourse and learn listening skills that convey to students the message that while the cultural stories they have to tell are different, none is inferior. (MSE)

Descriptors: Classroom Communication, Cultural Differences, Discourse Analysis, Elementary Secondary Education, Group Dynamics, Interpersonal Communication, Listening Skills, Multicultural Education, Personal Narratives, Self Expression, Sociocultural Patterns, Story Telling

Author: Luna, Cathy


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