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Voices to the Unheard: Acknowledging the past and taking critical action to shape the future. Classroom ethnography of the past and present school experiences of a Level 1 class in a vocational college.

Vassallo, Nadia Maria (2014) Voices to the Unheard: Acknowledging the past and taking critical action to shape the future. Classroom ethnography of the past and present school experiences of a Level 1 class in a vocational college. EdD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Abstract

In this study I set out to give a voice to learners in a Further Education vocational setting, in the context of Malta. I was interested in their life stories, the causes of their disengagement, their different literacy practices and how these could be utilised to improve their engagement in college. In a classroom ethnography spread over one scholastic year, the learners revealed that their disengagement was mainly caused by negative teacher-student relationships, a dissonance between their out of school literacy practices and teacher expectations in the classroom, and the acquired negative schooled identities. Work on life histories, critical literacy and funds of knowledge as part of classroom practice helped to balance teacher-student power relations, build a community of learners and transform the conventional classroom into a third space where college work, social practices and home came together and enhanced the learning experience. This empowered the learners changing their perception of themselves. The overall picture that transpires from this study is that dichotomies such as student-teacher, vernacular-standard, Maltese-English, inside-outside college practices, print-oral should not be seen as opposite ends on separate spectra but differences that can cohabit peacefully in classrooms that celebrate diversity and give learners the confidence and space to show what their strengths are.

Item Type: Thesis (EdD)
Keywords: classroom ethnography, negative school experiences, disengagement, identity, classroom community, translanguaging, critical literacy, third space, students’ voice
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > School of Education (Sheffield)
The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.631417
Depositing User: Dr Nadia Maria Vassallo
Date Deposited: 19 Nov 2014 10:11
Last Modified: 03 Oct 2016 11:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7196

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