Informal Teaching and Learning: A Study of Everyday Cognition in a Greek Community

By Rosemary C. Henze | Go to book overview

3
Fieldwork in Kiriakitsa
and Trikala

Ethnographers in the past, although they often established authority by giving brief accounts of how they gained entry to a community, rarely offered readers insight into the ethnographer's role and the particular methodological problems encountered. Currently, however, a shift toward more reflexive ethnographic writing encourages the examination of the place of the narrator/observer ( Hess, 1989). This approach, although criticized by some as "self-indulgent" (e.g., Pratt, 1986, p. 31), can provide insight in at least two ways, enabling readers to understand fieldwork as a process rather than a completed effort and allowing them to judge for themselves how the participant observer influenced the data that were gathered. With these objectives in mind, I focus here on central issues surrounding my roles in the community and the methods of data collection.

In the Preface, I described how I gained access to the communities of Kiriakitsa and Trikala. Throughout the 8 months of fieldwork I lived in the village, where I had a room in the Yorgakis house. This household included Katerina, Grigoris, and often Alexis, their 4-year-old grandson, who spent about half his time in the village and half with his parents in Trikala. Other members of the family -- Rena, Kalliope, and Petros -- also stayed occasionally. Sometimes I would spend 2 or 3 days in Trikala with one of the daughters' families, but there was not enough space in these apartments for me to have a room or work area, so I always returned to the village for writing and analytical work. From the window near my desk, I could look out onto the road and monitor the activities of the neighborhood. Children from all the nearby households, sometimes as many as 10 or 15, would

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Informal Teaching and Learning: A Study of Everyday Cognition in a Greek Community
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - How to Ring a Doorbell 1
  • 2 - The Communities 27
  • 3 - Fieldwork in Kiriakitsa And Trikala 42
  • 4 - Alitheia and Psemata (Truth and Lies) 55
  • 5 - Teaching and Learning to Do 73
  • 6 - Teaching and Learning To Understand 104
  • 7 - Teaching and Learning To Use Language 132
  • 8 - The Particular And the General 150
  • Appendix A: Variation in Informal Teaching and Learning (n = 109) 156
  • References 179
  • Author Index 183
  • Subject Index 185
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