Theses Doctoral

The Intelligible Writer: A Shifting Subject Amongst Pedagogical Practices

Mann, Lindsay Corinne

This study explores the ways that acts of writing occur and become recognized as “writing” in a kindergarten classroom. Symbolic representations often aligning with the dominance of conventions come to be seen and named as writing as soon as children enter school, therefore influencing how one is seen and named in the classroom space as a “writer.” This often-narrow focus on what it means to be a writer leaves little room for teachers to acknowledge the various acts of writing that occur or might occur across space and time in a given classroom or in out of school contexts. With this naming of particular acts of writing, comes the exclusion of other acts.
Drawing on a sociocultural framework with tenets of post structuralism, this case study uses a Foucauldian approach to shed light on the multiple powers/knowledges that are deployed in a classroom. Using ethnographic methods this work highlights the ways that children engage in acts of mark making both within and beyond the designated pedagogical space dedicated to writing. Data were gathered through participant observations, interviews, and the collection of artifacts across the first 4 months of school in a kindergarten classroom situated in a suburban district in the Midwest. The ongoing analysis of data across the study surfaced several discursive patterns suggesting that both the teacher and children were influenced by the larger discourse of accountability and compliance circulating in schools today. With an increased emphasis on early literacy standards and the ensuing accountability attached to such, this analysis has the potential to open up possibilities that may extend how writing might come to be seen and taught in classrooms, therefore influencing the kinds of writing and acts that might be seen as permissible.


  • thumnail for Mann_tc.columbia_0055E_10977.pdf Mann_tc.columbia_0055E_10977.pdf application/pdf 5.68 MB Download File

More About This Work

Academic Units
Curriculum and Teaching
Thesis Advisors
Ghiso, Maria Paula
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
August 26, 2019