chapter  4
A trialogue about method in rural education: experiential perspectives
Pages 15

Composition studies scholar Thomas Newkirk, in his essay 'The Narrative Roots of the Case Study' argues that case study researchers create 'aesthetic patterns' when they write about literacy, and that 'to create these aesthetic patterns, the writer must also assign moral weight to the actions of characters. While Newkirk is concerned with story patterns in case study research, this chapter focuses on a different aesthetic choice qualitative literacy researchers make that of metaphors for literacy that infuse writing, often without our conscious awareness. In examining and reconsidering metaphoric frames for rural education, pepole must also focus on metaphors for literacy. The chapter examines only literacy-as-adaptation since it is the way of talking about literacy that often dominates discussions of rural education, especially studies such as the National Assessment of Adult Literacy in the USA that attempt to quantify literacy rates by region. Literacy-as-adaptation, Sylvia Scribner writes, 'is designed to capture concepts of literacy that emphasise its survival or pragmatic value'.