A teacher is trying to teach reading to a group of second graders. The teacher has the kids go through a number of exercises to try and teach the kids. The first exercise is teaching the kids spelling patterns in English. She does this by having the students write a sentence and go through the spelling of each word one at a time in order. A girl in the class gets ahead of the class when she notices a pattern in her spelling error, but the teacher reprimands her for going ahead of the class. To understand the the situation at hand the works on Discourse written by James Paul Gee can be used. In his paper on building tasks Gee explains that when we are using language we “build seven things or seven areas of reality.”(32) and he calls these seven things building tasks. We can use the building task to analyze the situation above.
The seven building tasks that Gee lists and describes are significance, practices, Identities, Relationships, social goods, connections, and sign systems and knowledge. The building task of practices can help explain the teachers nature and goals in the activity. Gee explains the building task of practices as mentoring a student as an advisor or giving a lecture on linguistics in a course. The teacher in the situation is using this activity not only to teach reading to the students but also to have them learn the Discourse of her class room. This can be seen in her langue and how she explains the class to perform the activity and how she responds to someone not practicing the Discourse. She uses the activity as a practice to mentor the students into learning reading and the discourse of her class.
The teacher in this situation seems to be contradicting what seems to be the ultimate goal of recognizing spelling patterns. There are other goals the teacher is trying to achieve though with the activity. The other goals are formed by the teachers values and displayed in the building task of social goods. The reason the teacher reprimands the girl is because of the perspectives the teacher has on what should be valued in the classroom. It can be seen in the teachers language that organization and rule following are important values in the teachers class and can be seen thought the building task of social goods.