Foreword by: Carol D. Lee
Publication Date: July 15, 2015
Shoptalk examines the development of literacy, identity, and thinking skills that takes place through cross-generation conversation in an African American hair salon and how it can inform teaching in today’s diverse classrooms. By shining a spotlight on verbal discussions between the salon’s patrons and workers, the author provides a critical reassessment of the achievement gap discourse and focuses on the intellectual toolkits available to African Americans as members of thriving communities. While this book offers a detailed analysis of the informal teaching and language practice that occurs within the salon, it also moves beyond that setting to consider culturally situated problem-solving within an urban, language arts classroom. Shoptalk is essential reading for teachers, teacher educators, and administrators who are interested in widening their view of culturally responsive pedagogical practices.
Yolanda J. Majors is associate director, adolescent literacy and learning, Minnesota Center for Reading Research, The University of Minnesota, and professional developer for culturally responsive literacy instruction.
“Education researchers and communication researchers alike can benefit from the discussion within, either from a pedagogical standpoint, or from a need to understand how human beings sustain their cultural and ontological value through communicative practices. This text is designed to challenge the status quo across both disciplines, and to shake readers out of their routine approach to research and practice in both fields… if you were not discussing cultural communication and the dramatic impact it has on students of color before reading this book, you certainly will when you finish it.”
—The Urban Review
“I would strongly recommend ShopTalk to adult educators who seek to improve their skills of facilitation by providing more culturally relevant learning opportunities for adult learners.”
—Adult Education Quarterly
"With Shoptalk, Majors contributes to the building of a powerful research methodology: bridging cognition, disciplinary problem solving, sociolinguistics, critical discourse analysis, human development foci on identity development and
motivation, and the political lens of critical race theory—no small feat."
—Carol Lee, Edwina S. Tarry Professor of Education and Social Policy
"This rare and wonderful book gets us to think in fresh and creative ways about the intersection of race, language, work, and school. What a gem."
—Mike Rose, research professor, UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies and author of The Mind at Work: Valuing the Intelligence of the American Worker
"This fascinating ethnography of speaking opens a window into an important socialization setting while also opening up new theoretical territory. It provides understanding, wisdom, and hope for how we might improve educational outcomes for African American children."
—James V. Wertsch
vice chancellor for International Affairs, professor, Department of Anthropology,
Washington University in St. Louis
"Yolanda Majors’ engaging book shines a light on the path to how learning in schools and out can build on the resources of a community whose children have generally been poorly served by mainstream institutions."
—Barbara Rogoff, UCSC Foundation Distinguished Professor of Psychology, University of California, Santa Cruz