What the High School Educator Must Know

analytical Essay
4522 words
4522 words

What the High School Educator Must Know Consider all that a high school educator must know (or at least attempt to know). The truly good ones--the ones who motivate us, instill a love for learning, and ultimately change our lives for the better--know a great deal (salaries and public perception notwithstanding). They know their subject matter, they know and understand human motivation, they are aware of the power of interpersonal relations and how to use that knowledge to gain the most benefit from the least potential, they understand the po wer of their own rhetoric (even if they don't consider rhetorical studies an important aspect of their academic lives), and most importantly, they know how to share this knowledge with others. High school educators today (the good ones) are mentors, frie nds, counselors, coaches, researchers, sources, role models, disciplinarians, crisis managers, and on and on. With all that our really good high school educators know and do, it might seem absurd for me (a high school educator) to suggest that we need to dig in and truly understand yet another aspect of our students' lives, and yes, even our own. But I am suggesting just that. If we don't understand the powerful impact discourse communities have on what we do, how we do it, and what we're trying to ach ieve, we are shortchanging ourselves, and more importantly, we are shortchanging our students. Just what is a discourse community though? And why are so many in the field of rhetoric bandying about this term? This "social framework regulating textual production" (Porter 38) goes by many names: it's what Stanley Fish calls "the interpretive co mmunity," what Michel Foucault calls "the discursive formation," and what Patricia Bizzell calls "the discourse community" (38). James Porter of Indiana University-Purdue University at Fort Wayne, however, seems to have generated the clearest definition of a discourse community. A "discourse community" is a group of individuals bound by a common interest who communicate through approved channels and whose discourse is regulated...[The community] shares assumptions about what objects are appropriate for examination and discussion, what operating functions are performed on those objects, what constitutes "evidence" and "validity," and what formal conventions are followed. (38-39) It is important to remember that we all are part of various discourse communities throughout our lives (each of which dictates the conventions we follow, the language we use, and the credence we give to what we hear or read).

In this essay, the author

  • Opines that high school educators must understand their subject matter, human motivation, interpersonal relations, rhetorical studies, role models, disciplinarians, crisis managers, and more.
  • Analyzes how the academic discourse community of the university is challenging and sometimes unwelcoming, and critics say that school literacy is the only legitimate one; non-school literacies are seen as inferior attempts at the real thing.
  • Opines that educators must prepare their students to be elastic enough to appreciate the various discourse communities they need to enter to find success and competence in life.
  • Analyzes how gregory clark's "rescuing the discourse of community" describes a rhetoric that directs people to acknowledge and examine their differences.
  • Explains what a discourse community is, and why so many in the field of rhetoric bandy about it.
  • Argues that the national decline in literacy coincides with the cultural fragmentation of our academic canon.
  • Analyzes how greg myers and john trimbur explain the dangers of consensus in the discourse community.
  • Opines that the solution to the problem of discourse communities in education is to follow the lead of the rhetorical theorists.
  • Opines that high school teachers must immerse themselves in theory to search for their own practical alternatives to the current state of affairs.
  • Cites barton, david, bizzell, patricia, and booth, wayne c.
  • Introduces frier, paulo and donaldo macedo in professing the new rhetorics: a sourcebook.
  • Explains scott, robert l., and street, joanna c. and brian v. street.
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