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The Power of Talk

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Table of Contents

List of Tables List of Figures Acknowledgments About the Authors Introduction Why? The Same Old Problem What? The Book's Purpose How? Achieving the Purpose What Will You Get Out of This Book? Avoiding the Master's Language Tools Overview of the Chapters Where and When Might the Book Be Used? 1. The Power of Language: A Medium for Promoting Social Justice and Equity In What Ways Is Language a Transformative Force in Society? What Are Educational Equity and Social Justice What Are Critical Discourse Analysis and Critical Language Awareness Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 2. Becoming Effective in Using Critical Language Awareness Noticing How Language Constructs Our Social World Relating the Trees to the Forest, and the Forest to the Trees Imagining Alternatives Coaching Teaching With Critical Language Awareness Using Memorable Examples, Metaphors, and Quotes Modeling, Teamwork, Inclusiveness, and Respect Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 3. Avoiding Othering: Practicing Including Introduction A Change Agent in Action How Is Othering Harmful? Digging Deeper Into Othering From Othering to Inclusion and Dialogue Activities Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 4. Disrupting Prejudice: A Communicative Approach Introduction Abstracting Communicative Model Developing a Data Culture Activity: Developing Language Skills for Disrupting Prejudice Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 5. Exceptionalizing or Democratizing? Introduction Exceptionalizing: How It Promotes Inequities The Importance of Context Cognitive Disequilibrium and Exceptionalizing The Context of the Interviews Recognizing Exceptionalizing Discourse Revising for a More Democratizing Discourse Activities for Developing Democratizing Language Skills Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 6. Recognizing and Revising Stratifying Discourse Introduction Key Concepts Recognizing and Revising Stratifying Discourse Activities for Developing Language Skills for Social Justice Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 7. Contesting Labels Introduction Contesting Labels Acronyms as Deep Abstractions Talk Strategies Redressing Labels Through Institutional Action Thoughtful Inaction Activity: Crowning With Labels Conclusion and Summary of Key Points 8. Conclusion: The Power of Talk Revisiting the Book's Objectives Using the Power of Talk for Social Justice A Final Thought References Index

About the Author

Felecia M. Briscoe, an associate professor, focuses her research on the relationship between power and knowledge. Her research interests are concerned with the development of educational equity especially as related to classism, racism, and sexism. She studies how power manifests in discourse. Her most recently published article is titled, "Reproduction of Racialized Hierarchies: Ethnic identities in the discourse of educational leadership." She has also just completed a co-authored manuscript in which she analyzes the discourse of the U.S. legislation, "No Child Left Behind." Briscoe has experienced a variety of teaching contexts. She started out as a seventh-grade science teacher in a public school in Las Vegas, Nevada. She also taught at the University of Cincinnati and at Concord College. She has been a member of the Educational Leadership and Policy Studies Department at the University of Texas, San Antonio since the summer of 2000. Briscoe earned her doctorate in educational foundations from the University of Cincinnati. She also has an MA in psychology with an emphasis in experimental cognitive psychology and a BS in elementary education with an emphasis in science from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Rosemary Henze is an associate professor in the Department of Linguistics and Language Development at San Jose State University. She began her career as a teacher of English as a second language and, after receiving her doctorate, worked for 14 years at Art, Research, and Curriculum Associates in Oakland, California, where she assisted school districts in addressing issues of equity and conducted research and evaluation studies focused on bilingual programs, school change, and race relations. She also worked with Native Alaskan, Native Hawaiian, and California Indian groups on issues related to language maintenance, ethnic identity, and bilingual education. In all her work, she seeks to apply scholarly knowledge from anthropology and linguistics to address systemic educational problems.


"I couldn't stop reading this book! It masterfully pinpoints how language plays a critical, fundamental role in our daily lives as educators. Most important, it shows us how our deepest thoughts are manifested in language and how we can deal with them in our continued efforts to dismantle gender, racial, and class prejudice." -- Susan Roberta Katz, Professor and Chair of International & Multicultural Education "Any chapter is enough for a year's worth of conversation, and occasionally a good argument-among students, staff, and families. It is an invitation to a dialogue with one's peers, but it also works as a dialogue with oneself. I found myself both arguing with the authors and shifting my own stance as I went. A must-read." -- Deborah W. Meier, Educational Reformer, Writer, and Activist "This book needs to be in the hands of every educator and administrator. Too many times, the adults involved in education forget the power of the words they use." -- David Callaway, Eight-Grade Language Arts Teacher "This book will be very useful for teachers and teacher educators. The organization and accessibility of the concepts in this book are a major strength. The examples that are given are concrete and make concepts easy to understand." -- Theresa Abodeeb-Gentile, Assistant Professor "I really liked the tone the authors used throughout-it was never negative or condescending. The authors did a good job of explaining the effects of language without preaching or looking down on those who might not be aware of the effects their language has on others." -- Christine Landwehrle, Language Arts & Reading Teacher "I like the specific strategies in each chapter for helping educators become aware of how language influences beliefs and assumptions. I also like the suggestions for how to develop skills for using language in a more equitable way." -- Lynn A. Smolen, Professor "The authors appeal to educators on both a professional and a personal level. Changing the discourse will not only improve school achievement for students, but will allow educators to more effectively express their beliefs about equitable and socially just education." -- Karen L. Fernandez, English/Language Arts Coach and Teacher "In a down-to-earth style, the authors explain how, by paying attention to how we talk, people can make a difference to the quality of life and work in schools. Drawing on real-life examples, they show that by thinking critically about how we habitually interact with others and by making the necessary changes in our own behavior, leaders can model respectful and collaborative ways of addressing and responding to others and gradually change the norms of the whole community." -- Gordon Wells, Professor of Education

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