Show Less
Restricted access

Language, Nation, and Identity in the Classroom

Legacies of Modernity and Colonialism in Schooling


David Hemphill and Erin Blakely

Language, Nation, and Identity in the Classroom critiques the normalizing aspects of schooling and the taken-for-granted assumptions in education about culture, identity, language, and learning. The text applies theories of postmodernism, postcolonialism, and other critical cultural theories from disciplines often overlooked in the field of education. The authors illustrate the potential of these theories for educators, offering a nuanced critical analysis of the role schools play in nationalistic enterprises and colonial projects. The book fills the current gap between simplified, ahistorical applications of multiculturalism and critical theory texts with only narrow applicability in the field. This clearly written alternative offers both an entry point to rigorous primary theoretical sources and broad applications of the scholarship to everyday practice in a range of PreK–12 classrooms and adult education settings globally. The text is designed for educators and advanced undergraduate or graduate students in the growing number of courses that address issues of cultural diversity, equity in education, multiculturalism, social and cultural foundations of education, literary studies, and educational policy.
Show Summary Details
Restricted access

5 Social Cognition


| 105 →

5Social Cognition

Cognition is generally defined in educational discourse as the facility of the individual learner to perceive, process, and apply information in an abstract fashion. Prevailing views of intelligence privilege quick recall, rapid calculation, decontextualized knowledge, and form over content. The predominant conception of cognition is dependent on many taken-for-granted, modernist assumptions about the nature of knowledge, particularly the primacy of the individual. Countering the assumption in education that cognitive skills are universal and measurable across individuals, sociocultural and situated learning theorists define cognition instead as a function of communities, where learning is inseparable from identity development, context, and social relationships (Lave & Wenger, 1991; Scribner and Cole, 1981).

In the testing regimes that now dominate school systems globally, the primary concern is with individual differences, notions of better and worse, and making comparisons across normal groups of students. Common achievement measures and standardized tests are designed to reflect normal curves, which locate a small group of learners in an advanced category and the majority of learners in an average middle range, called basic or proficient. Educators are asked to prescribe paths to advanced proficiency and identify predictive data to describe the kinds of individuals who should achieve success. The “below basic” students who do not move as swiftly from some imagined common starting point are labeled as “at-risk” or sub-normal. Teacher and school accountability systems, like the Common Core Smarter Balanced Assessments, are built on a contradictory logic that requires an...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.

Do you have any questions? Contact us.

Or login to access all content.