Graduate School of Education

At the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education, we are here for change. We’re here because we believe in the power of education to build communities, bridge barriers, improve lives, and heal society. Here, we convene an ambitious and diverse community of leaders and pioneers, connecting them to one another and to a world that will benefit from their work. We equip them with immersive, real-world-based learning and research opportunities that bring them results. And we mobilize them to fulfill the promise of education in the classrooms, boardrooms, governments, and learning settings where true innovation and real transformation become possible. We offer vibrant array of high-quality master’s and doctoral degree programs.

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 82
  • Publication
    Voicing on the News: An Analytic Technique for Studying Media Bias
    (1996-10-01) Wortham, Stanton; Locher, Michael
    Speakers often evaluate others, implicitly, while apparently speaking in a neutral way about them. This article develops an account of the textual devices speakers use to communicate such implicit messages. The account draws on Bakhtin's (1981[1935]) concepts of 'voice' and 'ventriloquation.' It systematizes these concepts, by proposing five specific textual devices that speakers use to convey implicit evaluations. This account is then applied to samples of discourse from network news political coverage, specifically coverage of the 1992 US presidential election. The five devices occur robustly in this discourse. Three networks' coverage of one campaign event is analyzed in detail to illustrate how newscasters orchestrate their implicit evaluations through skillful use of the five devices.
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    Clearing Away the Self
    (2002-10-01) Michel, A. Alexandra; Wortham, Stanton
    One of constructionism's chief pragmatic goals is to facilitate relationships that have transformative potential. According to Kenneth Gergen, one important theoretical tool towards that end is relational theory, the construing of human behavior in terms of dialogic processes. We trace the meaning of 'dialogic' and 'transformative' through different constructionist traditions and argue that these terms are used in a relatively narrow sense, as compared to an alternative approach we are suggesting. Moreover, we propose that the usual narrow construal of these concepts has the unintended consequence of undermining the central constructionist goal of facilitating transformative relationships. We present an empirical example that illustrates (1) how people's conception of their self as a collection of social scripts draws their attention to and reinforces the accretion of scripts; (2) how this accretion can get in the way of transformation; and (3) how a broader conception of a 'dialogic' self can open up more direct, transformative relational possibilities.
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  • Publication
    Review of James Wilce, Eloquence in Trouble
    (2001-03-01) Wortham, Stanton
    In Eloquence in Trouble James Wilce describes how a particular speech genre is practiced in rural Bangladesh: "troubles talk," in which people lament some misfortune that has befallen them. Wilce describes how the language of laments has more than referential functions. Speakers do represent their misfortunes in lamenting them, but Wilce argues that these speakers also simultaneously reveal and shape their identities, engage in strategic interactions with interlocutors, and sometimes resist oppressive social orders. Using data from almost six years of work in Bangladesh and a substantial corpus of videorecorded troubles talk, Wilce convincingly demonstrates that laments serve multiple social and interactional functions.
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    Review of Ron Scollon and Suzie Wong Scollon, Nexus Analysis: Discourse and the Emerging Internet
    (2006-02-01) Wortham, Stanton
    This ambitious and rewarding book combines aspects of several genres. It is a methodological guidebook, offering strategies for doing ethnography, discourse analysis and action research. It is an empirical report, describing the authors' use of email and other resources to improve Native Alaskans' access to higher education from 1978-1983. It is a theoretical account of how "people, places, discourses and objects" come together to facilitate action and social change. It also offers a theoretical sketch and empirical illustration of computer mediated communication. The book does not provide a full methodological, empirical or theoretical account, but focuses instead on the nexus of these components. The theory of social action undergirds the methodological suggestions, and the empirical material illustrates both the theory and the methodology.
  • Publication
    Students and Teachers as Novelists
    (2001-10-01) Wortham, Stanton
    Colleoni High is a large three-story brick building that occupies an entire city block. Although the custodians work diligently - so that the tile floors often shine and the bathrooms are clean - the physical plant is deteriorating. Paint peels off the ceilings in most hallways and classrooms, and the building feels old. When it was built about 50 years ago, Colleoni High enrolled primarily Catholic children from Irish and Italian backgrounds. Now the neighborhood has become predominantly African American, together with smaller but growing populations of Latino and South Asian immigrants.
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    Mexicans as Model Minorities in the New Latino Diaspora
    (2009-12-01) Wortham, Stanton; Mortimer, Katherin; Allard, Elaine
    Rapid Mexican immigration has challenged host communities to make sense of immigrants' place in New Latino Diaspora towns. We describe one town in which residents often characterize Mexican immigrants as model minorities with respect to work and civic life but not with respect to education. We trace how this stereotype is deployed, accepted, and rejected both by long-standing residents and by Mexican newcomers themselves.
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    Listening beyond the self: How organizations create direct involvement
    (2007-08-01) Michel, Alexandra; Wortham, Stanton
    A two-year ethnographic study examines how two U.S. investment banks managed bankers' uncertainty differently and achieved distinct forms of participant transformation, including listening outcomes. People Bank reduced uncertainty by conveying abstract concepts. Socialized bankers exhibited a preferential orientation toward abstractions, including their own identities, and often failed to listen to and use concrete cues for action. To highlight situational uniqueness, Organization Bank amplified uncertainty. Since situational demands thus exceeded what the bankers knew and appeared too complex to be forced into pre-existing categories and scripts, bankers could not resort to abstractions. Over time, bankers' initial preoccupation with abstractions was cleared away, enabling them to more effectively listen and use situational cues. We develop the notion of direct involvement to explain this transformation away from self-involvement and toward heightened situational sensitivity.