I added two new paragraphs to extend my main points. I go more in-depth about the implications for education, which hopefully makes the issue see more important.
Discourses must be learned, and as a social construct they must therefore be learned through social learning. It is on that basic idea that I can agree with Gee. The social learning depicted Gee, however, still does not believe that there is an intermediate area within Discourses. Despite this, he still explains the learning process famously developed by Vygotsky about the teaching methods of children. Children learn social learning through an mentor-apprentice relationship, which Gee describes as being the “scaffold [for the children’s] growing ability to say, do, value, believe, and so forth” (11). The scaffolding describes the instructional techniques implemented by the mentor, which aid in the learning of the Discourse with the apprentice. I believe that the miscommunication with Gee stems from the fact that Gee’s perspective on what social learning can be is limited. Although he acknowledges that Discourses can be connected to schools, he still believes that, “such ‘superficialities cannot be taught in a regular classroom in any case.” Gee believes that the ability to fit into a Discourse is not able to be taught in a classroom environment, with no exceptions whatsoever. It is this point that I must disagree with, as the so-called “classroom environment” can extend to many areas. Delpit would disagree with Gee as well. Delpit, in her criticism, told the story of classroom-based social learning between graduate student named Marge, and a person that worked at the institution given the name Susan. After working with each other for long enough, “Marge’s instructors began telling Susan that Marge was a real star, that she had written the best papers in their classes” (Delpit 548). Marge was able to improve her knowledge of Discourses through the education system, and as a facet of social learning. Whether or not this is common, can be left to further experience. However, if Gee truly has an issue with the education system not teaching Discourses effectively, he should propose reform rather than just implying that it cannot be done.
According to Gee, to be identifiable within a Discourse, there is a certain behavior threshold that must be surpassed. However, he then goes on to contradict himself. As he admits that those not within the dominant Discourse can achieve the passable level, the mushfake identity, through their special understanding and relationship to Discourses. Metaknowledge is the exception that would make Gee agree with Delpit in a slight way, “Metaknowledge is liberation and power, because it leads to the ability to manipulate, to analyse, to resist while advancing” (Gee 13). Metaknowledge is the liberating power of Discourses, because it allows the “maladapted” nondominant Discourse members to pick and choose the traits that they desire to allow a somewhat simultaneous ability to fit in while maintaining their primary Discourse. Yet Gee has also previously stated that none of Discourse responsibility can be taught. Which is contradicted by the experience of Jordan’s paper. Jordan and her class devise essential “rules” for Black English, and the class is essentially taught metaknowledge. Jordan ruminates on the new rules, “You cannot “translate” instances of Standard English preoccupied with abstraction or with nothing/nobody evidently alive, into Black English…Rather you must first change those Standard English sentences, themselves, into ideas consistent with the person-centered assumptions of Black English” (368). Jordan admits that Standard English cannot always properly translate into Black English, but describes the mechanism to change the writing to something properly understood, in mushfake procession, so that anyone could understand. There is the problem, isn’t it. Some Discourses do not want to be accessible to everyone, so they make the decision to not be understandable. Gee believes that Discourses cannot be taught in classrooms. But in reality his belief only extends to those that wish to practice exclusion, as standard English tends to do.