Discourse Community of Jose Camacho

Jose Camacho

English Composition 2

February 24, 2020

Word Count: 1053

Discourse Community: High School Program (P-Tech)

The American education system is one of the most important tools in our society, yet it is one of the most flawed systems in the country. The education system does not teach younger generations how to gain and use real world skills such as analytical, problem-solving, and communication skills. If you were in charge of this flawed system, do you think there is a solution to the problem? One of the solutions to the problem was to make a school that focused on the skills that were not being taught to help students. One of the first high schools that addressed the problem is called Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-Tech) which is the discourse community I am apart of. My initial assumption about the school was that it would be an amazing school, especially for students like me who are first-generation college students who did not think going to college was even an option post-high school.

The goal for P-Tech’s discourse community is to help minorities branch out of an ideal occupation and allow students to discover and pursue careers in the STEM field as stated by current P-Tech student Kenneth Louis. In addition, the school helps minority students by allowing them to acquire an associate degree and high school diploma simultaneously at a cost of zero dollars. Students who attend a traditional high school take four years to graduate and an additional two years to complete an associate’s degree. The benefit of being a part of P-Tech’s program is that students are able to go at their own pace which means that if they are able to complete the program as early as four years! Due to the problems that the current education system has, P-Tech also offers first in line jobs to their students at IBM to acquire skills that would be used in the real world. Former P-Tech graduate, Emily Gonzales, stated that throughout the internship, students gain experience and have the opportunity to network with experts in the field that they are trying to pursue.

Once someone is part of this discourse community, there are various methods used for communications. One of the prime forms of communication with teachers and mentors is through email. Both P-Tech students stated that another form of communication is through text messages. This could be through having a phone number or through different websites such as LinkedIn and Mentorplace. The forms of communication that were stated above are most useful if students are not able to speak in person due to classes overlapping with their mentors or teachers schedule. The primary form of communication is speaking with members in-person to help students with any questions that they might have.

P-Tech is a unique program amongst all the high schools in America. Due to the school having a unique program, it has many visitors around the world. As a result, there are schools around the world that are implementing the P-Tech program. The prime example of the discourse community communicating with the outside world was when former president, Barack Obama, visited the school and mentioned the program in his speech. As a result, there were articles made about the program and news reporters such as CBC News discussed the program with the outside world. The last way that the members of the school communicate with the outside world is through IBM, where commercials are made and shown on television.

Once people join the discourse community, there is no particular “language” that is used for the members that are within the group. The members speak casually to one another to make sure everyone feels comfortable as stated by Kenneth. There are different ways for a person to be part of the discourse community. The first method to be a member is to be accepted and attend the school. Another way to be a member is to work for the school or work for other groups that are connected to the high school. For example, a person could be a teacher at the school. Another example would be to become a guidance counselor to help students in their academic and personal life.Thirdly, a person can become a college professor at City Tech which are one of the most important members in the community since professors open the eyes of high school students to see what they will expect to do once they make the transition from high school to college. Lastly, a person can work at IBM because the company is one of the many partnerships that the school has.

After interviewing current and former students, what surprised me is that students are not the only people that are part of the discourse community. There are more people that help lay the foundation of the program and those that help motivate students and support them academically and personally. Everyone in the community is like family, helping one another from student to student, teacher to student, and alumni to student. What also surprised me is the different answers I received for the same questions which show that students have different views on the school even though they go through almost the same experience. What made me rethink the way I looked at the group initially is being part of it. The program has its flaws, however, I do think the discourse community did accomplish the goals that they intended to fulfill. Many members agree on the discourse community having problems that need to be resolved. However, members within the community are unsure as to how to resolve the problems. Current members want students that will go into the program to not face the same problems so the discourse community can get better. Another thing that confused me while doing this project was that I interviewed two students, one that finished the program and another that is currently in it. I wondered if the answers were different because of how far they got within the program. This project was an eye-opening experience because I did not realize how vast and important P-Tech’s discourse community is. It is important to be in a welcoming discourse community as students are learning and maturing as humans, transitioning from teens to young adults.

Works Cited

Gonzales, Emily. Personal interview. 14 February 2020.

Louis, Kenneth. Personal interview. 14 February 2020.