Food and Football!

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Posted on 12 Mar 2013 14:18

In Sean Branick’s, “Coaches Can Read Too,” he took a year assembling an Ethnography of the football coaches at the University of Dayton and compiled his research into an essay describing this particular group as a discourse community according to John Swale’s definition. His study incorporates research in the form of observations and interviews. He also used his personal experiences with the game of football as a method of formulating his results. Through this he was able to connect the idea of literacy to coaches and validate them as a discourse community. Branick may have picked this discourse community because over the years he has observed connections and similarities in football coaches. He was hoping to expose a new perspective of what a discourse community is, without picking an extremely obvious example. By interviewing coaches, he gathered organized and consistent data based on how they answered his questions. It was a good idea to collect this data in this manner because it gives credibility and shows consistency to trends that he wants to showcase. Specifically, interviewed data was a good choice for Branick because this information comes straight form the source. This piece offers a unique understanding of discourse community, pointing out that studies have been done and essays have been written about coaching, but no one has made a point to examine football coaches as a discourse community with several literacies.

In the article, “Learning to Serve: The Language and Literacy of Food Service Workers,” Tony Mirabelli, discusses the assumption people have regarding education and the food service industry. The purpose of Mirabelli’s piece is to inform the readers of the qualifications and skills needed to be a food server. Mirabelli chooses this discourse to uncover a specific common misunderstanding. Mirabelli says that being able to know what is in every dish and how it is prepared is important for servers through story examples of possible conversations between customers. His “research” is expressed through these small stories and examples like these, which some can be inferred to be experiences. One form of research he does is by Internet surfing, and reading through responses on the Internet from Other forms of research he conducts is from people such as economist Peter Drucker, books such as The World of Waiters and notable sources, for example the U.S. Bureau of Labor Services. He also conducts research by personally comparing privately verse corporately owned restaurants. He also includes dialogue as a form of example between himself and customers. He has a strong opinion and he uses a lot of examples to back up his point that a different kind of education is needed while being part of the food service industry.

Branick and Mirabelli do share some similarities in their analysis of two different discourses. In my opinion, their topics share a similar theme because they both are not obvious discourse communities that some people would commonly recognize although they are both very valid. They both are unique and personal to them as the authors. Also, both authors use their personal experiences to enhance their investigations of discourse community, as they both are closely related to their respective communities. The two are different in the sense that Mirabelli’s is much more fact and source based while Branick’s is more of a personal reflection and claim. Another difference is the two pieces is that Mirabelli does his best to include the dialogue portions as greater support than a summary of conversation, unlike Branick who does not include raw information from his interview sessions with the football coaches.

I found research methods from both Mirabelli and Branick equally useful to my upcoming project. There were different parts of both pieces that I think were suitable ideas and essential to their pieces. Parts of Branick’s essay I liked were how relatable his topic was and the way he collected and organized his data and findings (from the interviews) in refined claims. I can use this example as model for myself to pick a topic as interesting and relatable as his. From Mirabelli’s piece I admired his abundance of examples and use of dialogue. From this I am interested to incorporate dialogue in a format that he did because I like what it did for his piece. Both authors presented their ideas in an organized format, in which they separated their ideas clearly, which will also be a model for my project. I can definitely see myself using these two readings as a model for my own project and I am confident that my classmates who read these two pieces would also agree.

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