Complexity, Contradiction, and Carnival: Microethnographic Research on Student Disruption in a High School English Language Arts Classroom
School Community and Class Culture
Matt Seymour
The Ohio State University
Published 2018-10-12
https://doi.org/10.15388/ActPaed.2018.0.11889
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Keywords

microethnographic, discourse analysis, classroom disruption, carnival, classroom management

How to Cite

Seymour, M. (2018) “Complexity, Contradiction, and Carnival: Microethnographic Research on Student Disruption in a High School English Language Arts Classroom”, Acta Paedagogica Vilnensia, 40, pp. 70-93. doi: 10.15388/ActPaed.2018.0.11889.

Abstract

[full article in English] 

When teaching, many educators must respond to unruly and disruptive students. While most scholarship on student disruption focuses on classroom management strategies and tactics, few studies consider the nature of the disruption, its ideological significance and the social consequences that follows. Via ethnographic methods and microethnographic discourse analysis, this paper examines the complexity and contradictions of macro- and microstructures as they manifest during a student’s disruption of a classroom discussion of a novel in an 11th and 12th grade English Language Arts class in the United States. Using Bakhtin’s notion of carnival as a theoretical framework, this paper examines the pattern of disruption in the classroom that evoked multiple and contradictory ideologies and both maintained and subverted power structures in the context. Contrary to the belief that classroom disruptions are always challenges to power, they sometimes reinforced power relations on a broader cultural level. This paper urges that research and scholarship embrace complexity and contradiction as inherent in the interactions of people in schools and seeks to rethink how educators view and respond to classroom disruption. It concludes by advocating that embracing complexity and contradiction will better allow teachers and researchers to think through systems of education as a way to effectively and ethically intervene when these structures prove problematic.

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