About the NPR News piece “Mexican-American Toddlers: Understanding The Achievement Gap”

After reading this piece on the NPR website, as well as the research article it reports on, I felt I had to write to the ombudsman. The text of my letter follows.


Dear Ombudsman:

In the story “Mexican-American Toddlers: Understanding the Achievement Gap” on last week’s All Things Considered, I was disappointed not to hear a response to Bruce Fuller from an expert on bilingual and multicultural education. Including this perspective would have highlighted two significant problems with the piece: first, that Dr. Fuller’s research is framed in a highly anglocentric way, and second, that some of the claims he made on the radio are not supported by his research. Read more ›

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Situated learning or indoctrination?

Lately I’ve been emailing with Bryan Meyer (@doingmath) about theories of learning and where you draw the line between learning and indoctrination. Bryan is a math educator, researcher, and radical constructivist, so when I was writing about students undergoing a process of socialization — which entails “becoming like” senior members of the community — he pushed back on this. He asked whether education can be considered to lead students to “become” something without necessarily “becoming like” their teacher or some other model. I asked what he meant, and he suggested I look at this article by Rochelle Gutierrez (PDF). Here’s my response:

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Posted in socialization

Semiotics and the development of number sense

What is a number, really? Or to put it another way: think of the lights on a traffic light, the segments of the circle in the Mercedes-Benz logo, the beats in one measure of a waltz rhythm, the way Julius Caesar divided up Gaul, the colors on the U.S. flag, a three-liter bottle of Coca-Cola – what do these things have in common? Philosophers have claimed that there is a Platonic essence of “three-ness” that exists in all of these instances, and math educators look for children to develop a “number sense” that allows them to recognize it in all its different manifestations. But what if this is looking at it backward? What if “three,” as a concept, begins in our direct experience of the world? I’m going to talk through this line of reasoning, drawing on previous research on the development of number sense in children, and thinking it out using the semiotic theory of C. S. Peirce.

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The Joseph Campbell Method of Social Science Research

The Hero's Journey

(Context)


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Sunday Reading

Lately I’ve been enjoying The New Inquiry’s Sunday Reading feature, which is meta-curated by Aaron Bady. In fact, one of my own articles was featured one time, which totally made my day.

The idea struck me recently that I should try to do my own, so I can keep track of what I’ve been interested in, and so that my readers can see what I’m interested in that isn’t (or is only tangentially) related to linguistics. So, without further preamble, here we go:
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Posted in fun

Book mash

image

“So, what are you going to do
with that excitable speech?”
The hidden life
Of girls talking science
Amongst mathematicians

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What’s an ethnographer to do?

In my last post, I wrote about ways of explaining what I do in such a way that teachers will see a purpose to it. The way I framed it was more or less like so: I do my work, and I involve teachers in it as much as I can, and then I try to convince teachers that what I’ve learned through my research is useful to them as well.

Reading about the alt-ac and post-ac movements, though, I’m coming to think that’s not the best way. “My research” isn’t something I’ve done — it’s whatever I’m doing now, and something I’m continually redefining as I progress with it. So why not start by talking to teachers and looking for what might be useful?

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Posted in Applications
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