How some Aboriginal students may be disenfranchised from engagement
When we practice knowing the history of our own voices, we can be present and engaged with the voices of others. Such is the goal of sociolinguistics. The topic on twitter #cdnedchat was about engaging our students. I made a point that many of our Aboriginal students are disenfranchised by our concept of ‘engaged’. I prefer Social Presence theory that accounts for a variety of cultural paradigms and the fact that many students are highly engaged in the moment but they are just not physically or verbally “loud”. It is likely most of us do not really think about the sociology of our communication styles and how it interferes with a person’s way of knowing and naming the world. How does the history of our voice include to the history of other people’s voice?
Here is a an excerpt from my final literature review of Making Voices Visible: Discourse Analysis in Online Environments written for my Masters of Arts in Learning and Technology. I replaced the chart with an infographic. It may explain a bit of what I meant in the #cdnedchat:
“…. Jones (2007) summarized Ting-Toomey’s five patterns of digital communication styles:
“Low vs high context communication” refers to the extent to which people allow their intended meaning to remain unsaid, thereby relying on the cultural contexts in which the item is discussed. “Direct vs. direct verbal interaction” refers to the extent to which a person makes explicitly demands or requests. “Person-oriented vs. status-oriented” refers to the extent to which power distance is emphasized in the communication. “Self-enhancement vs self-effacement” refers to the extent to which people promote themselves or their accomplishments in communication. “A preference for expressing beliefs in talk vs. silence” refers to whether silence is interpreted as indication of sincere reflection or as one of discomfort or misunderstanding. “(p. 65).
Jones’ (2007) research offered insight into how interdependence of the language and culture dimensions of communication of contribute to a knowledge building community. Similarly, other researchers (Cardinal and Armstrong, 1993; McMullen & Rohrbach, 2003; Philips, 1983; Rutherford & Kerr, 2008; Smith, 1999) identified similar subtleties in the communication patterns of Aboriginal societies as compared to Western cultures. [The infographic] includes generalizations to highlight possible breakdowns in pragmatic communication that are “pan-native.” Although they could be perceived as stereotypes, they are presented to illustrate dialogical elements that may inadvertently increase or decrease consensus seeking dialogue.
Cardinal, D., & Armstrong, J. (1993). The native creative process: A collaborative discourse between Douglas Cardinal and Jeannette Armstrong. Penticton, BC: Theytus.
Jones, J. (2007). Effective online dialogue: Toward a theory of internet-mediated communication. Saarbrücken, Germany: VDM Verlag.
McMullen, B., & Rohrbach, A. (2003). Distance education in remote aboriginal communities: Barriers, learning styles and best practices. Prince George, BC: College of New Caledonia Press.
Philips, S. U. (1983). The invisible culture: Communication in classroom and community on the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. New York, NY: Longman.
Rutherford, A. G., & Kerr, B. (2008, April). An inclusive approach to online learning environments: Models and resources. Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education, 9(2). Retrieved from http://tojde.anadolu.edu.tr/tojde30/articles/article_2.htm
Smith, L. T. (1999). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. London, England: Zed Books.