Revolution Lullabye

November 25, 2007

CCR 735 Notes for 11/27

Filed under: Uncategorized — by revolutionlullabye @ 10:42 pm

Belfiore, Mary Ellen, et al. Reading Work: Literacies in the New Workplace. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004.

The authors of this book argue that literacies are context-bound; you cannot divorce the literacy practices from their situation without stripping away much of their meaning. The book contains four case studies of the literacy practices at four different work places: a textile factory, a food processing business, a tourist hotel, and a metals manufacturing company. The explain the theories they use to understand these four sites (new literacy studies, social practice theory, sociocultural theories) and discuss how the dynamics of workplaces are changing (push for more productivity with less – lean), resulting in even more interwoven and conflicting literacy practices.

Chapter 2 is about “Texco” and discusses how ISO documents become points of conflict between workers and management. The author has two goals: 1. to show how paperwork has become the lifeblood of new workplaces with international standards like ISO and 2. to show how these new literacy practices are interpreted differently by managers and workers. She looks specifically at non-conformance reports, research and development paperwork, production checklists, and organically-produced worker notebooks, where workers have documented specifications and procedures.

Quotable Quotes

“It follows that the most successful approaches to teaching or promoting literacies – for young or old, in school, work, family, or community – might not be to treat them as isolated generic, functional, and transferable skills. The alternative is to rethink the nature of literacy or literacies themselves, to see them not as discrete skills separate from or prerequisite to participation in social life, but as interegal parts of everyday cultural knowledge and action” (2).

“Documenting work has become nearly tantamount to doing it in the new data-driven business environment” (11).

“If quality is the lifeblood of the organization, then paperwork and documentation are the lifeblood of quality” (70).

Notable Notes

Throwback to Midstate – continuous improvement, quality assurance, standard operating procedures, quality audits (ISO certified), intensive data collection w/charts and checklists, product identification and traceability, nonconformance reports, corrective action, controlled documents

Tickets attached to each product! (70)

Statistical Product Control (SPC) data must be entered for production to make sure that the product is within specifications

No one on the floor writes up any new ideas on the new idea bulletin board…continuous improvement?

The workers don’t see paperwork as intregal to their work; it’s an add-on.

Writing up a non-conformance report is more than just writing up a report – it means dealing with issues of blame, power, and spending the time to do it in. – Is it good to have a lot (finding opportunity to improve quality?) or not?

Himley, Margaret and Patricia F. Carini. From Another Angle: Children’s Strengths and School Standards. The Prospect Center’s Descriptive Review of the Child. New York: Teachers College Press, 2000.

This book uses three case studies to illustrate how the Prospect school descriptive process operates. Some background on the Prospect school:

Prospect school opened in 1965 as a school for 23 5-7 year olds. It was ungraded, holistic learning environment that followed Dewey’s ideas and the staff was committed to documenting what was happening in that environment so that they could have an understanding of how the school was generating knowledge about the students, the curriculum, and of general learning and teaching. Each week the teachers wrote 4-5 descriptive (stay away from judgment) sentences about what each child did – what they played with, who they played with, etc.  And, every week, the staff would come together for an hour and a half to write a description of one particular child. “Descriptive” was the operative word at the Prospect School and the descriptive process of Prospect has been taken up at other schools.

The point is never to solve a child or fix the child’s problems or even to speculate on his family life. It is to describe the child, to use all available means (art work, play mates, classroom demeanor, physical presence, interaction with adults and peers) to understand the child more complexly.


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