Attention: This site looks better in the latest Mozilla or Internet Explorer.

The Learning Conference 2003

Home | Newsletter | Call for Papers | Register

Presentation Details


What Counts as Learning: Identity Formation in Classroom Talk

Lorraine McDonald.

A social practice view of learning focuses on how students are acculturated into dominant discourses through the authoritative positioning of teachers and texts in the social order and organisation of the classroom. This paper presents an analysis of how a teacher attempted to acculturate her 5th Grade students into alternative discourses of gender through her mediation of an extended literary text. The dynamic nature of identity formation was evident in the students' responses as some challenged the discursive positions which they were being asked to take up. The analysis makes visible the flexible nature of power/knowledge in local sites and highlights how 'in educational practice as in other facets of social life, identities and beliefs are co-constructed, negotiated and transformed on an ongoing basis by means of language' (Duff and Uchida, 1997, p.452). The paper tracks selected moments of classroom talk in order to magnify the discursive positions taken up by teacher and students.

Duff, P. and Uchida, Y. (1997). The negotiation of teachers' sociocultural identities and practices in postsecondary EFL classrooms. TESOL Quarterly, 31, 451-486.


Lorraine McDonald  (Australia)
Senior lecturer
School of Education
ACU National

Lorraine McDonald is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education at ACU National in Sydney. Her areas of specialisation include literacy education, poststructural analysis, systemic functional linguistics, children's literature and drama-in-education. She draws on all these fields to construct an interdisciplinary approach to developing critical literacy

  • Identity formation
  • Classroom talk

(30 min Conference Paper, English)