Spatial and Material Relationships in Teaching and Learning English


Our last three editorial introductions have reflected upon the goals, enactments, and revisions of research, teaching, and English as they manifest themselves some 50 years after the first publication of this journal under the editorship of Richard Braddock. The introduction to Issue 49.4 outlined our objective to reconsider the imperialist legacies of the teaching and learning of English. The constructive part of that reconsideration, undertaken by RTE authors and those with whom they work “on the ground,” has yielded pedagogies, curriculum, and models of interactions that create a pluriversal approach to the teaching of English, in the plural- Englishes. A corollary of that reconsideration, having to do with the rhetoric of research and scholarship, has led us to seek out innovations in genres, voices, and the storying of research. It has led us to seek out manuscripts that ask, explore, and work to decolonize knowledge; that place feeling, being, and valuing on par with knowing in studying the teaching and learning of Englishes; that ask denaturalizing questions of the field: Why English (see both Anny Fritzen Case and Maneka Deanna Brooks in Issue 49.4)? What curriculum do teachers of English(es) teach and why? Why argument (see Todd DeStigter in Issue 50.1)? And what counts as a diverse book (see Denise Davila in Issue 50.1)? Why and how does power unfold in thorny discussions about race (see Carlin Borsheim-Black in Issue 49.4 and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas in Issue 50.2)? How do we explore emotional dynamics of classrooms and other scenes of English education (see Amanda Haertling Thein, Megan Guise, and DeAnn Long Sloan in Issue 49.3 and Gail Boldt, Cynthia Lewis, and Kevin M. Leander in Issue 49.4)? How do teachers sustain their practices of teaching writing even as they continually strive to learn to write (see Rebecca Woodard in Issue 50.1)? How do they sustain pedagogical practices that engage students (see Melinda McBee Orzulak in Issue 50.2)? What methodologies might best facilitate the decolonization of research and its reporting (see Timothy J. San Pedro in Issue 50.2, Amy Johnson Lachuk in Issue 50.1, and Shannon Walters in Issue 49.4)? And finally, how are scholars (and editors!) themselves always implicated in the very inequalities they critique-the issue raised and discussed in the editorial introduction to Issue 50.1?These are but a few of the questions to ask as part of the project of continuing to equalize the hierarchy of languages that mirrors, creates, and sustains unequal and oppressive social hierarchies. These questions have everything to do with the particular-specific locations of learning, the curricular and pedagogical content of classrooms, as well as relationships among students and between teachers and students. In this issue and the next, the articles continue to reconsider the particulars of the spatial and material relationships in the teaching and learning of English across and within bordered spaces, with a focus on multiple means of expression.This issue’s consideration of spatial and material relationships also echoes one theme that guided Issue 50.2: the kinds of relationships between teachers and students that facilitate learning and that generate shared meanings and understandings. The focus on relationships in that issue explored border locations for the study and learning of English in classrooms, curricula, and pedagogies. Timothy San Pedro’s article considered silence as an agentive strategy of resistance used by American Indian students in classrooms where their knowledges and languages had been dismissed. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas presented a study of relationships unfolding in particularly difficult discussions of race in the teaching of literature. Melinda McBee Orzulak considered how preservice teachers attempted to learn to teach within classroom contexts where linguistic ideological dilemmas unfolded. Finally, Paul Anderson, Chris M. Anson, Robert M. Gonyea, and Charles Paine’s study unfolded on a national scale of writing assessment to reveal how teacher and student relationships in classrooms matter to students’ learning.