Thursday, May 5, 2011

Research: Teachers and Literature

Question: How do teachers read literature and how do they teach it?

Differences Between the Way Teachers Teach Literature and the Way They Read It
“The case studies revealed that the teachers’ personal approaches to literature included an emphasis on vicarious involvement. The case studies further revealed that the teachers’ use of the knowledge present in their personal approaches to literature is limited by a ‘school’ approach to literature which consists of a focus on comprehension and the learning of literary terms and concepts and which is supported by state-mandated achievement tests.” P. 5.

The Writing Project Approach to Literature
“One notable outcome of this study was that all the teachers said that the interviews and reading tasks they were asked to participate in helped them understand how their practical experience as readers might contribute to their teaching of literature. An important contribution of the writing project movement to the teaching of writing has been the practice in writing project institutes of having teachers write, reflect on their own writing processes, and place what they discover in the context of current theory. Similar opportunities for teachers to study their reading might help them begin to move beyond stultifying conflicts to ways of teaching which draw upon the full richness of what they know about literature.” P. 30.

Comment: Could extend this question to other aspects of language arts—how does the teacher’s personal approach to writing compare to the teacher’s teaching of writing?

I think there are three purposes for teaching literature: (1) understanding and asking questions about life; (2) understanding the techniques of constructing literature; (3) reading literature as a writer—study what works. RayS.

Title: “Teachers reading/readers Teaching: Five Teachers’ Personal Approaches to Literature and Their Teaching of Literature.” Don Zancanella. Research in the Teaching of English (February 1991), pp. 5- 32.

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