Being and Becoming American: Triangulating Habitus, Field, and Literacy Instruction in a Multilingual Classroom

Lara Handsfield


This case study research documents how one teacher’s personal language and literacy practices and the sociopolitical structures of her profession intersect in her literacy instruction for her multilingual third grade students. Centering my analysis on Graff’s (1987) notion of the “literacy myth,” I discuss how the dialectic between Bourdieu’s habitus and field unfolds in the performative space of the classroom, challenging this discourse in small but significant ways. Complimenting research exploring students’ out-of-school language and literacy practices, this paper addresses how a teacher’s literate life history is performed in the classroom and who stands to benefit from these discursive performances.

Full Text: