Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Council on Anthropology and Education
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Teachers of Anthropology in Community Colleges, Students, Those Involved in Mentoring Activities
Primary Theme: Resistance
Secondary Theme: Identity and Equity
In the field of education language policy and practice, policies change, shape, and form as they are interpreted, re-interpreted, and implemented in diverse multilingual contexts. Ricento and Hornberger (1996) illustrate the multilayered nature of language policy through their use of the onion metaphor. They describe the multilayers of language policy and practice- the national, institutional and interpersonal layers. While policymakers may create official policies at the national level, various actors (e.g. principals, classroom teachers) interpret and implement policies differently based on their individual beliefs or values, and understandings of local sociopolitical contexts of schools and classrooms.
Inspired by their onion metaphor, this panel serves to peel back and expose the layers of resistance in our specific contexts. Collectively, the papers present the resistance that happens- or not- in international and local contexts, surrounding language policy, discursive practices, multiliteracies, and our research practices as educational anthropologists.
Papers one and two look at how school and classroom contexts shape students’ understandings of, and resistance to structures of inequality. Paper one examines how a popular education school in Argentina drew on students’ lived experiences and used political literacy practices to foster a level of resistance and activism. In contrast, paper two describes an absence of resistance in a private bilingual school in Senegal, arguing that a cycle of shaming led students to view inequalities as legitimate and inevitable. Papers three and four look at how teachers and administrators negotiate their roles in implementing district-wide language education policies, as well as implicitly assigned statuses in their work with culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Paper three focuses on how bilingual/ELL teachers develop understandings about the agency of teachers and parents in resisting subtractive language education policies in a New Jersey New Latino Diaspora, while paper four examines how bilingual teachers claim spaces to resist current policies that are conceived to fix schools and fix teachers. Papers five and six urge educators and researchers to critically reflect on their roles in fostering and inhibiting resistance. Paper five takes a deep look at the discursive practices that serve to marginalize diverse communities. It asks educators to analyze key aspects of consequential schooltalk and seeks to foster everyday resistance by redesigning schooltalk in real places so it pursues equity. Paper six calls on educational anthropologists to examine our work and consider the role that collaborative analysis can serve in resisting structural forces that promote multifaceted fragmentations of people, contexts, and ideas.
Together, the panel aims to make the familiar strange by exposing the everyday forms of resistance, resilience and adaptation in our multilingual contexts. As a collective, these efforts speak back to, rise up against, and resist monolingual policies and practices. It showcases the experiences of those who, in the words of García & Menken, “cook and stir the onion” (2010, p. 250).