Feature Publication: What language communicates

Studying how teachers are taught to make teaching decisions has led me to study teacher talk. I am interested in how words mean, what teachers communicate when they speak, and how studying teacher talk can help us learn about what and how teachers think and how they make decisions from that thinking. Specifically, what can teacher talk reveal about how teachers think about issues of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and other identity issues?

In addition to studying the teaching of teacher-candidates, novice, and master teachers, I also study my own teaching. Each has its unique affordances and limitations, but I generally consider myself a teacher-researcher rather than solely a researcher who studies teaching.

The feature publication that most closely represents these ideas is my article in the July 2018 issue of English Journal. The article takes a reflective practitioner stance and focuses on how I would teach a unit about gender and language differently with an increased knowledge of ideology about language and by taking into more careful account how language functions and what language communicates.

Centering the piece on my preference for “Ms” and our class discussion of Dr. Deborah Tannen’s (1993) “Wears Jump Suit. Sensible Shoes. Uses Husband’s Last Name,” I move from describing the reader response approach with my students to a more nuanced discussion of gender and language and how our ideology about both enriches our reading and our perspectives.