Representing New Math: Genre Chains and Controversy in the Saskatchewan Media

  • Robert J. LeBlanc University of Pennsylvania
Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Education Policy, Math Education

Abstract

The media's response to the release of "Math Instruction that Makes Sense" (2011), a research report by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP), helped spark a public controversy and spur the Saskatchewan government to reexamine the Ministry of Education’s math curriculum. The purpose of this article is to examine the CBC's depiction of the FCPP report and subsequent responses to it utilizing the tools of Critical Discourse Analysis and linguistic anthropology as a way of understanding the means by which concrete linguistic artifacts like research reports are recontextualized and disseminated with and for political means. By identifying the construction of voices, external resources and interview data in the CBC's reporting—the movement of resources across stable genre chains—my intent is to demonstrate how 'common sense' is established in the broader public discourse on matters of educational policy and the media's active role in creating it.

La réaction médiatique au lancement en 2011 de « Math Instruction that Makes Sense » (Donner un sens aux maths), un rapport de recherche par le Frontier Centre for Public Policy (FCPP),  a suscité une controverse au sein du public et a incité le gouvernement de la Saskatchewan à revoir son programme d’études en mathématiques. L’objectif de cet article est de se pencher sur la représentation qu’a faite la CBC du rapport du FCPP et les réactions qu’elle a entrainées et ce, en utilisant les outils de l’analyse critique du discours et de l’anthropologie linguistique pour comprendre comment les objets linguistiques concrets comme les rapports de recherche sont recontextualisés et diffusés par des moyens politiques et pour des fins politiques. En identifiant la construction des voix, des ressources externes et des données d’entrevue dans le reportage de la CBC – le mouvement de ressources le long de chaines de genre stables  - j’ai l’intention de démontrer comment le «sens commun» s’établit dans le discours public élargi relative aux politiques en matière d’éducation d’une part et d’illustrer le rôle actif des médias dans sa création d’autre part.

Author Biography

Robert J. LeBlanc, University of Pennsylvania

Robert J. LeBlanc is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education and an editorial assistant for Educational Researcher. Prior to graduate work, he worked as a high school English teacher in Saskatchewan. His research interests include New Literacy Studies, ethnography, and critical pedagogy. Robert's work has appeared in journals such as Anthropology & Education Quarterly, the Canadian Journal of Education, and the McGill Journal of Education.

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