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Rainville, K. N., & Jones, S. (2008). Situated identities: Power and positioning in the work of a literacy coach. The Reading Teacher, 61(6), 440-448.

Author: Rainville, K. N., & Jones, S.

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This article attempts to explore the literacy coach's responsibility to both sensitively and skillfully navigate complex interactions with teachers, other coaches, and administrators. Here Rainville and Jones describe their observations of one literacy coach during a larger empirical study of how coaches work in varying contexts. They present their analysis report of how Kate, a literacy coach, negotiated her practices and interactions in differing contexts.

Rainville and Jones suggest that in order for literacy coaches to be successful, they must shift between various "situated identities" that are determined by context, relational history, and multiple other factors. With the term situated identities, the authors describe how coaches "engage themselves in particular ways that are most appropriate to the time, place, people, and practices that set the stage" (p. 440). When coaches engage in these flexible ways, they enact their situated identities. According to the authors, shifting situated identities enables coaches to build relationships and promote teacher growth, in tandem. This report attends to the shifting situated identities Kate enacted while coaching, but also considers how power and positioning influence those identity shifts.

In addition to articulating the theory of situated identities, the authors include descriptions and analyses of Kate's coaching interactions that prove interesting. These include a description of how Kate coached a friend and colleague, a situation in which she struggled with an irate teacher, and how she lead a professional book study group. It is particularly interesting to read how this one coach shifts between situational contexts and people, and how she struggles to be effective in those varying contexts. Most helpful is the authors' analysis of those interactions. This article offers several strong points of reflection for literacy coaches.

Date Added: 04/14/2008

Attachment: Rainville and Jones Situated Identities.pdf

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