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Discourses of Writing in Schools: A Critical Analysis of Policy and Teacher Talk

Fri, April 9, 4:10 to 5:40pm EDT (4:10 to 5:40pm EDT), Division C, Division C - Section 1a: Literacy Paper and Symposium Sessions


This study analyzes discourses of writing in the ELA Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and teacher interviews. Drawing on Hardt & Negri’s (2000) notion of Empire, I explore how representations of oppressive structures might emerge in writing discourses. Data sources include seven interviews from 4th, 5th, and 6th grade teachers, and the Standards. My ongoing analysis draws on critical discourse (Fairclough, 2003) and open, iterative coding methods (Merriam & Tisdell, 2016). Initial findings show that discourses in both the Standards and teacher interviews prioritize purposes for writing as participating in academic or professional institutions, potentially reproducing structures of Empire. Some teachers also presented discourses of self-expression and change-making as purposes for writing, but found school settings limiting.