James Paul Gee
Posted on jamespaulgee.com
Publication year: 2009

I started my career in academics (in 1975) as a theoretical linguist studying things like the syntactic and semantic structure of “naked infinitives”—not, despite the term, a very sexy topic to most humans. When, by a series of accidents, I ended up years later working in education, the “hot topic” at the time was “Why do so many poor and minority students fail in school?”. As a linguist, I was intrigued to discover that one proposed answer to this question was that there was a mismatch between the language practices of certain sorts of children’s homes and the language practices of school.