Inda Schaenen

University of Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri, USA

This action research study investigates how genre theory can be integrated into the practice of a writing enrichment program and how the frameworks of Critical Discourse Analysis and Multimodal Analysis can help assess and improve both student learning and teacher practice. A multilayered exploration of teacher- student discourse in an urban public elementary school in the Midwest United States discloses the various ways in which the concept of genre is both successfully and unsuccessfully constructed among fourth-grade students. Grounded in sociocultural and genre theory, I define and develop a three-way understanding of the word genre: genre as a literary term; genre referring to the analytical tool used in CDA as developed by Fairclough; and Genre, referring to pedagogical theories which suggest that social purpose is at the heart of all text making and must be considered and made explicit when teaching about genre. 


“All White Americans in the County” and Other Loaded Subjects: Race, Community, and Morality in a Second Grade Classroom

Inda Schaenen
Journal of Research in Character Education, v8 n2 p87-105 2010
This teacher research inquiry is a critical discourse analysis of second grade classroom talk about racial identity and dialect difference within the theoretical framework of moral philosophy. Participants in the study, which took place in an urban public district in a Midwestern United States city, included ten African American students and a White writing specialist. Analysis of the themes and patterns of the talk showed that even the simplest language arts lesson, when open to serious questions, will elicit and exercise students’ moral functions and positive qualities of character including empathy, conscience, moral reasoning, and altruism. The ramifications of such practices and effects across sociocultural boundaries are explored.

Hand-I Coordination: Interpreting Student Writings and Drawings as Expressions of Identity

Inda Schaenen

University of Missouri, St. Louis, Missouri USA

In schools where curricular constraints and testing pressures narrow the ways in which students can take up identities as writers, longterm enrichment programs offer opportunities for the meaningful design of compositions. This paper, which presents the work of four elementary student participants in a writing workshop, shows how qualitative inquiry–in particular critical multimodal analysis–can enable a teacher researcher to see, interpret, and explain what might be going on in the writings and drawings of students, and how these illuminations help establish and expand the identities of students as writers. I focus especially on the work of one student over three years, and share the methodological procedures I drew upon in order to generate claims about his writing identity. Keywords: Qualitative Research, Teacher Research, literacy, Identity, Arts Enrichment, New Literacy, Multimodal Analysis¬†

“I” is for “Insider”: Practitioner Research in Schools

Inda Schaenen, Angela Kohnen, Pablo Flinn, Wendy Saul, Jane Zeni

In this paper we five teachers and teacher educators draw upon our per- sonal classroom experiences in order to explore the definitions, descrip- tions, and nature of educational practitioner research, what we call teacher research. We highlight the tensions that can exist between and among teacher research, institutional needs and macro-policies, and argue that as both stance and method, teacher research can complement traditional, out- sider-driven social science research. Further, practitioner research can check the errors and inequitable outcomes which may result from educa- tional policies strictly reliant on the large-scale quantitative research de- signs currently dominant in the United States. 

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