Scandling Lecture

Making Voluntary Expertise Count
Embedding, Envisioning, and Enlisting Adolescent Literacy
Dr. Shirley Brice Heath
Brown University and Stanford University

Thursday, March 26, 2009
7:30 p.m.
Interfaith Chapel-Sanctuary
University of Rochester Campus
(585) 276-3986

Free and open to the public.
An interpreter will be provided for Deaf attendees.


All around us, adolescents voluntarily seek opportunities to build their self-chosen areas of expertise. They do so by identifying causes and niches, finding expert guides, practicing long and hard, and relishing time with peers and adults who share their interests. These areas of expertise rarely line up with academic disciplines, though such learning often engages young people in the very kinds of activities that sit at the core of academic and life skills success: setting goals, planning ahead, considering consequences, and self-monitoring of progress.

How might the neglected resources available in the energies, imagination, and concerns of young people be most efficiently and effectively aligned with the most critical needs of under-resourced schools?

Please join Shirley Brice Heath, a linguistic anthropologist, in a discussion of how different kinds of social and cultural learning environments support children's early and later language development. Dr. Heath will discuss three examples of effective and sustained social innovations that enlist young people in advancing science, technology, and arts in their community schools, libraries, and youth organizations. . The evening’s dialogue will provide insight on building highly effective learning environments where young people can thrive.

Shirley Brice Heath is the Professor at Large in the Departments of Education and Anthropology at the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University and the Margery Bailey Professor of English and Dramatic Literature and Professor of Linguistics-Professor Emerita at Stanford University.