Link to Sponsoring Departments Discussion Thread on Learning to Engage in Illocutionary Discourse

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Illocutionary Discourse

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California State University, Dominguez Hills
University of Wisconsin, Parkside
Created: May 4, 2006
Latest Update: May 4, 2006

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Index of Topics on Site Discussion Thread on Learning to Engage in Illocutionary Discourse

This dialog came up in a threaded discussion on jobs and illegal immigrants. Most of us are aware of the issue sometimes expressed that immigrants take jobs that Blacks won't take. Hello! Do you hear the wicked little unstated assumption there that after illegal immigrants the next in line would be Blacks??? Aheartsoffour suggested in Message No. 12886 that immigrants should "do it the right way, not illegally. That means, going through the necessary channels legally to get the citizenship that you need." Whoa!

There are some wicked little unstated assumptions in that one, too. Check out the amount of time it takes for certain immigrants to get into this county. It can take years. This is a very, very complex problem. So, please, be careful of your unstated assumptions.

Of course, in the midst of such a heated discussion where there are thousands of wicked little unstated assumptions floatind around on every aspect of this issue, we get caught up in emotion, and we passion sometimes wags our tongue. I was delighted when aheartsoffour started out with: "I feel that many people have the wrong understanding about what is going on about thei [immigration] bill; or perhaps I'm the one with the wrong understanding."

On May 3, 2006, Yemi wrote in Message No. 12984:

"I read what you wrote to Michael today. I believe you are a wise person. Because everyone has days in which "we fail "to compley with what was expected of me." I realized, it was unbecoming of me to have stated certain pharases. Sometimes it takes a while, but when you come to a reality check you realize "What the tar-nations was I thinking?"


On May 3, 2006, Aaron wrote in Message No. 12987:

"Thank you,Yemi. I never got to say this before because transform dom was being funny again, but im glad to see you trying to become understanding. It really does show how far someone can grow in a short period of time. I'd say keep it up."

On May 4, 2006, Yemi wrote in Message No. 12996:

"Thank you for reading my post. I decided not to answer anymore posts which will end up being in a debate. I'm going to play it safe. I'll still put in my opinions, but it'll be a bit more cautious."


On May 4, 2006, Aaron posted answered in Message No. 13011:

"As long as you're still going to put your opinions. It would be a shame if you weren't going to. Glad to see you are."

On May 4, 2006, Kathleen posted added in Message No. 13022:


I would also like to tell you that I am grateful that you are able to take a step back and gain understanding. Thank you for hearing me and I hope that I have also heard you.


Later on May 4, 2006, Kathleen answered in Message No. 13027 under the same subject title:

"Yemi, "Debates are an important part of Illocutionary Discourse. If you hear something that someone is saying, you can clarify it with the writer then when you fully understand the writers intent, you can put your two cents in (should be about a nickle now due to inflation). You never know who you will touch, who will take a second look at their beliefs or thoughts and have a change of heart just because of a few words you took the time to share with us. Debate isn't a good way to discribe Illocutionary Discourse, it's more like listening to what the writer has to say, then reaffirm your understanding of what the author inteded when they chose the words they chose. You may not agree with everything that you read and if you do, then I would have to question if you are really thinking. "On the other hand, you have something very important to contribute to the board, you have the world as viewed through the eyes of Yemi! I cherish that even when I ask you questions about what you say. Please keep engaged in dialogs, if you are not sure about what the author intended, then restate what the author wrote and clarify it. Think about why the author came to the conclusions that they came to then if you see holes in their logic, feel free to point that out!"


On May 5, 2006, Celia summarized some of this in Message No. 13054:


"You mentioned on Wednesday how children are often being told to study, study, study.(Reference on NASA site; find it in I think I want be . . . I wanna be . . . uh . . . an ASTRONAUT! Most of time this is the last thing they want to do. I think that by getting them involved in doing cards, and sending messages through them, is a great way for them to learn while at the same time expressing their creativity. As adults we were given the opportunity to find the joy of learning by learning cooperatively through this website by giving our critical insights on topics which interest us. Others were able to go out to our community and apply our learning, and bring awareness on current issues, an effective way of doing this was through illocutionary discourse. We must be able to face our community and practice illocutionary discourse in order to hear what others are saying, and also be heard in good faith." Celia Piz

On May 5, 2006, jeanne responded in Message No. 13054:

"Thanks for taking the time to write this, Celia. We're all tired, pressured with end-of-semester dates, and it's hard to take the time to be sure that Pat and I know what you're learning. We trust. But the school doesn't. They keep asking me for evidence that I have measured your learning. Sometimes "they" even suggest that I don't teach you anything.

"Last Wednesday, after six hours of lecture for me, and other activities all day for you, we talked about how you were able to use illocutionary discourse in the service of community activism to gain protection for children who were being endangered in your neighborhood through lack of some safety precautions. You asked if I wanted you to get signed certificates verifying this successful endeavor. You see, to use signed certificates would violate our sense of trust, suggesting that I needed some authority out there to testify to your truthfulness. I will not permit such distrust to enter into our learning community.

To the administrative "they" that would demand such proof of activity I will answer that trust and collaboration between all learners (and there, I include the teacher) is an essential part of real learning. Without it, we rapidly descend into knowingness, fundamentalism, bureaucratic transfer of agenda, and wicked little unstated assumptions. Testing, as in No Child Left Behind, is perhaps the worst of education and the best example of such loss of collaborative learning. It harms us all.

I am honored that the years of searching Susan and I have done have finally led to this point, where we can see the actual learning up front and personal. It's like learning in a meadow, with joy and freedom all around us. We don't need to "oppose" No Child Left Behind." We just need to go around the barriers of its fundamental knowingness of what "everyone" should be like and should know to let creative education ring out. Trust me, once we've all experienced it, creative education will win out. Humans are curious creatures, and they're restless and always in search of exciting new things to do, things to make, things to entertain, things give them "warm fuzzies," like love and caring for all the Others, No Other Left Behind. (My references here include Peter McLaren and Freire, and Dewey, and . . . ) More on them soon."

love and peace,


  • Will put up more references later.

  • John Hagan, Alberto Palloni, "Sociological Criminology and the Mythology of Hispanic Immigration and Crime," Social Problems, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Nov., 1999) , pp. 617-632.
  • Center for Immigration Studies "an independent, non-partisan, non-profit research organization founded in 1985. It is the nation's only think tank devoted exclusively to research and policy analysis of the economic, social, demographic, fiscal, and other impacts of immigration on the United States. . . . It is the Center's mission to expand the base of public knowledge and understanding of the need for an immigration policy that gives first concern to the broad national interest. The Center is animated by a pro-immigrant, low-immigration vision which seeks fewer immigrants but a warmer welcome for those admitted. " Conservative perspective. Very little, if any, concern for the effect of immigration on all of North America.
  • Worker Perceptions and Pressures in the Global Economy Focusses on trade policy, not immigration, but they're related. jeanne

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