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Interrogating Privilege

Reflections of a Second Language Educator

Stephanie Vandrick

Publication Year: 2013

Interrogating Privilege is a welcome combination of personal essays and academic research, blending theory, analysis, and narrative to explore the function and consequences of privilege in second language education. While teachers’ focus on the learning process and class goals are quite important, there is not enough attention paid to the types of privilege—or lack thereof—that individuals bring to the classroom. Through chapters that can either stand alone or be read together, with topics such as gender, age, and colonialism (the author is the daughter of missionary parents) in second language teaching, this book seeks to address the experiences of teachers, scholars, and students as “whole persons” and to observe the workings of identity and privilege in the educational setting.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Cover Page

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Preface, Acknowledgments

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-x

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Chapter 1: An Introduction

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pp. 1-20

A look around any classroom, including any ESOL classroom, will show how many identities students and instructors have. Various nationalities, ethnicities, races, social classes, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, disabilities, health statuses, and ages are among the identities on display, or sometimes hidden but still important, in classrooms. ...

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Chapter 2: ESL and the Colonial Legacy: A Teacher Faces Her “Missionary Kid” Past

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pp. 21-35

A hidden aspect of teaching ESL students is the colonial legacy of the profession, a legacy that in some senses taints those of us who teach these students. This legacy can involve, on some unspoken and mainly unacknowledged level, a feeling of superiority of West to East, of English to other (especially non-European) languages, ...

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Chapter 3: Tea and TESOL

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pp. 36-50

I do not think of myself as a collector; in fact, I pride myself on regularly going through and eliminating possessions, keeping only what I really want and need. But in fact I have several collections. Some are the obvious ones that most people have: photos, letters, family keepsakes. ...

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Chapter 4: Shifting Sites, Shifting Identities: A 30-Year Perspective

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pp. 51-66

To highlight the importance of the institutions where we do our work, and as an illustration of some of the social and political issues that arise in institutions where second language writing programs are housed, here I tell the story of my institution, the University of San Francisco (USF), ...

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Chapter 5: Fathers and Mentors

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pp. 67-80

We are all creatures of our formative influences, especially our parents, both our personal (biological, adopted, or substitute) parents, and our academic “parents.” I have been fortunate to have terrific, loving, generous, thoughtful parents who have always been actively engaged in my life, yet without being judgmental or interfering. ...

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Chapter 6: Gender, Class, and the Balanced Life

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pp. 81-94

Valerie’s story illustrates a situation many women with careers, or aspirations for careers, encounter. When I became involved with the women’s movement almost 40 years ago, I optimistically thought that barriers to women’s equity and opportunity would soon fall. ...

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Chapter 7: Sexual Identity and Education

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pp. 95-114

I believe that we all need to be aware, in TESOL settings as well as in our larger worlds, of our own areas of privilege as well as areas in which we are less privileged. For example, I carry privilege as a white, middle-class, able-bodied heterosexual, but lack privilege in the areas of gender. ...

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Chapter 8: On Beginning to Write at 40

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pp. 115-125

I have always been an avid, even addicted, reader, and I have always been in love with words and language. I have always loved the academic world, the world of the university campus, of classes, of the library, of scholarly and intellectual discussions and pursuits. ...

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Chapter 9: The Power of Writing Groups

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pp. 126-144

My writing support group has been meeting for over ten years, reading and discussing articles on feminist theory and related topics, discussing our own academic writing, and providing each other with encouragement regarding that writing, and regarding the balancing act that most women academics engage in. ...

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Chapter 10: The Aging Educator

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pp. 145-156

Now in my late 50s, I feel myself in a somewhat unsettled zone between youthful forward movement and intimations of aging. So much in my personal and professional life has changed during the more than 35 years I have been teaching. ...

Questions for Reflection and Discussion

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pp. 157-162


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pp. 163-178


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pp. 179-182

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029785
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472033942

Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2013