Questions to Connect Gee, Brandt, and Alexander

Plan for 30 minutes or more (minimum 90 minutes total) to answer each of the following questions.  Your answers should read like mini-essays using Barclay’s formula paragraphs, so you will need to incorporate part of the question in your answer. Publish your answers to these questions on a post called “Connecting Gee, Brandt and Alexander.”

  1. We’re familiar with Gee’s idea that literacy in a “dominant secondary Discourse” brings “social goods.” How do Alexander’s findings confirm this notion? Notice on p. 556 how Brandt characterizes her own contribution to the conversation helping to fill in the “bigger picture” of the social and economic conditions that shape individual literacy. What does she mean when she writes that social and economic conditions shape individual literacy? What does her insight connecting individual literacy, social goods, and larger historic economic patterns mean for your own study of literacy narratives?
  2. Pay attention to stories of Raymond Branch and Dora Lopez. Brandt summarizes her findings then explains what they mean in terms of her study. Could we say that these fit the pattern of what Alexander calls the “literacy success story”?  Support your answer by pointing to and explaining particular details in their stories. How might Brandt’s analysis of their stories complicate your initial response?
  3. Now turn to your set of student literacy narratives from the Rising Cairn archive. Which of your chosen narratives include a literacy sponsor? Does this sponsor act in the ways Alexander and/or Brandt observe? Give two examples. Which ones seem to complicate their claims and how?